Phil Torr

Phil Torr

Every year, the BMVA presents a single Fellowship to an individual in recognition of the major contribution they have made to computer vision in the UK. This is sometimes because of specific research contributions but more usually because, as well as pushing the boundaries in a purely academic sense, their work has been used by industry or they have nurtured the discipline. I am pleased to say that the recipient of this year’s Fellowship has done all of these, and that person is Prof Phil Torr.

Before I invite him to come and receive the award, let me tell you a little of his achievements.

Phil’s position at Oxford is a Royal Academy of Engineering research chair, in recognition of the excellence of his own research. That is centred around the mathematical theory of computer vision and AI, with an emphasis on understanding and reconstructing the world using mobile cameras, such as those on drones and robots. An example of this was his group winning the visual object tracking challenge at ICCV in 2017 — and they have also won prizes at major conferences such as CVPR, ECCV and, of course, BMVC.

Phil has won awards such as the best Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which pushes academic research into industrial practice, as well as being involved in several start-up companies. Some of his work now ships in Huawei mobile phones. These examples show how relevant his research is beyond the academic world.

Phil was one of the general chairs of CVPR this year, and has also been programme chair of ICCV. He is currently involved organising in a special issue of IEEE PAMI. These show that, as well as performing top-quality academic research, he is active in helping others to do the same. I might add that Phil’s pursuit of excellence has rubbed off on his students, who have also won awards, including the BMVA’s Sullivan thesis prize — and I could go on.

The BMVA is really pleased to award their Fellowship to such an outstanding individual. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the BMVA Fellow for 2019, Prof Phil Torr.

Adrian Clark (BMVA chair) Roy Davies (DF Committee chair)