The European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology (EAOHP), in collaboration with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), are pleased to announce that Dr Jo Yarker and Dr Rachel Lewis, have been awarded the 2024 Eusebio Rial-González Innovation & Practice Award. Dr Yarker and Dr Lewis have a joint job-share at the consultancy Affinity Health at Work, and at Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom.

This biennial award honours the contribution that Eusebio (Seb) Rial González made to field of occupational health psychology. Seb was a founding member of the EAOHP and head of EU-OSHA’s Prevention and Research Unit until his passing away in December 2014. Remembered as a true innovator in occupational health psychology, he was the architect of EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces’ campaign on work-related stress and psychosocial risks, and was his achievements included the design and launch of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks and the setting up of the OSHwiki. The Award is open to any OHP researcher or practitioner who has produced a body of work that has made a considerable contribution to the field of occupational health psychology through their innovative research or innovative practice. The award places special emphasis on innovations that promote a participatory approach.

The partnership between Dr Yarker and Dr Lewis commandeers a position across both practice and research fields, having successfully developed a programme of practice work underpinned by academic rigour to accelerate evidence-based practice in the field of occupational health psychology. This is particularly in the areas of psychosocial risk assessment and management and managing the return-to-work process. The recognition of their expertise is evident in the numerous advisory positions to external organisations, NGOs and government bodies and memberships of select committees (e.g. the recent United Kingdom government inquiry into work culture at the London Fire Brigade) and presenting to evidence boards (e.g. the WHO Guidelines for Mental Health at Work). Their work has been embedded in organisational policy and guidance nationally (such as BBC, Railway Safety Standards Board, UK National Health Service) and globally (e.g. Deakin University, Asahi, International SOS). In addition, their work in launching the only Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology in the United Kingdom, facilitates the training of practitioners to work in this field. Finally, the development and sharing of resources and tools for other practitioners to use, further supports the upskilling of those seeking to take an evidence-based approach to occupational health psychology. This includes resources to improve management competence for preventing and reducing stress, and the IGLOO return to work toolkits, developed with academic partners, to support the activities across different levels by different stakeholders to encourage a more systematic approach to manage the return-to-work process following long term sickness absence. Dr Yarker and Dr Lewis have also set up the Affinity Health Hub, which collates evidence summaries and tools around topics including stress, measuring psychological wellbeing, and office design to help bridge the gap from research to practice.

The Eusebio Rial-González Innovation & Practice Award will formally be presented at the 16th European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference that will take place from 5-7 June 2024 in Granada, Spain.