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Tuesday, 13 Mar 2018
Cara Quinton

Transforming Healthcare through Advanced Analytics

A one-day interactive conference

May 16, 2018, 10am – 4pm

Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ

Advanced analytics and operational research have completely transformed other sectors of our society and economy – so why so little effective or widespread adoption in our health services?

PLETHORA (PLanning for Effective Transformation of Healthcare using Operational Research and advanced Analytics) is an initiative funded by the Health Foundation which is directed at this question.

This collaborative project brings together key players from across healthcare, research and commercial domains including frontline clinicians, NHS managers and analysts, academic researchers, policy makers, public health consultants, and many other stakeholders.

This conference will showcase the achievements of the PLETHORA project and include keynote presentations by thought leaders in the area. In addition, the audience will be invited to participate in interactive sessions.

So what’s in it for you?  

  • This event will be ideal for anyone new to OR/analytics and keen to learn more. It will give the chance to learn about what these tools can contribute to the NHS from those who are already using it successfully; and to find out where to go for further information.  No prior knowledge is assumed!
  • For everyone else, it’s a chance to contribute to the debate and help shape the next steps. Where do we go from here? How can we increase the use of analytics and OR in the NHS, and thereby improve both the effectiveness and the efficiency of health care service delivery in the UK?

Keynote presentations:

Confirmed speakers currently include Abraham George, Consultant in Public Health at Kent County Council and developer of the Kent Integrated Data Set, and Dominic Cushnan, Digital Innovations Manager, NHS Horizons Team, NHS England.

Booking your place:

The cost of the full day is £40 which includes buffet lunch and all catering.

Register at

Places will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis and early registration is advised.

For more information, see 

The organizers of the Forecasting Stream of the OR Society Annual Conference would like to invite you to submit an abstract. Our aim is to have a multitude of vigorous forecasting sessions to stimulate participants in developing and sharing their research. Lancaster has a long history of contributing to forecasting research and practice through its founding professor of systems engineering, Gwilym Jenkins and more recently through the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting with Robert Fildes and John Boylan. We aim to continue this tradition of relevant research so we welcome contributions on all aspects of forecasting, not least in important application areas. Topics of interest for the OR60 stream include but are not limited to:

  • Forecasting principles
  • Evaluation of forecasting methods and forecasting competitions
  • New forecasting methods
  • Big data, machine learning and forecasting
  • Behavioural issues in forecasting and Judgemental forecasting
  • Forecasting for logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Energy forecasting

Please contact either Ivan Svetunkov or Robert Fildes if you have any queries. 

Robert Fildes:; Ivan Svetunkov:

See full information on OR60, including submission details, on the OR60 conference pages  

Angela Espinosa, Giles Hindle and Gerald Midgley (from the Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull) are organizing a systems thinking stream at our annual conference (OR60) to establish systemic approaches to stakeholder engagement, problem structuring and modelling as core elements of mainstream OR practice. 

A New Context and a New Opportunity
In 2017, the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) all publically declared systems thinking to be a key leadership skill that is necessary to deal with the fundamental interconnectedness of complex, local-to-global economic, social and environmental issues. This recognition of our field by major international agencies represents an open door to new opportunities to make a difference in both local communities and global governance. 

The understanding of systems thinking in the UN, WHO and OECD provides a great foundation for us to build upon. However, there is not yet a widespread awareness in these and many other institutions of the diverse range of systems theories, methodologies and methods that can make a real difference to the translation of systems thinking into systems practice. We need to further develop our understanding of what works and why, and ensure that this knowledge is widely disseminated.

For decades now, systems theories, methodologies and methods have been developed in a synergistic meeting place between systems thinking (which provides insights into how to deal with high levels of complexity and discord) and OR (which is an analytical profession already embedded in many public, private and voluntary sector organizations). This is one of the reasons why OR60 is an appropriate place to discuss systems thinking.

The other reason is that the OR profession is changing. While there have been many previous calls for systems thinking to inform OR, today there is a renewed recognition that practitioners must think seriously about how they can transform OR practice to better address the complexities of an increasingly interconnected world, where stakeholders with different priorities often collide. If OR practitioners fail in this regard, they will find themselves largely excluded from dealing with the most serious challenges in today’s societies. Thus, systems thinking and OR are converging on the same problem space, and people in both research communities can learn from one another.

At this stream, there will be opportunities to network and enhance your reputation, either in systems/OR practice, academia or both. And in relation to academia, the fact that OR is considered a core area of Business and Management means that its top European journals provide systems thinkers with mainstream vehicles to publish in. For instance, Gerald Midgley recently co-edited a special issue of European Journal of Operational Research on Community OR, and around half the thirty-one papers in that issue report on the use of community-engaged systems approaches to tackle complex economic, social and environmental problems. 

The Systems Thinking Stream
The stream will open with a keynote from Mike Jackson (University of Hull, UK) and a participative workshop where everyone will be collectively involved in defining ‘systems thinking for operational research.’ We will acknowledge our differences as well as our commonalities. This kind of workshop gets people into a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening right from the start, setting people up for constructive discussions when they go into paper presentations. The stream will also end with a second workshop to discuss future directions for systems thinking in OR, and for systemic change in wider society.                                                                                                                    

We welcome the widest possible diversity of practitioners and academics, whatever specialism you bring or research community you have engaged with previously. We encourage the submission of abstracts discussing:

  • Applications to (and across) organizational, social and environmental issues;
  • Theoretical and methodological innovations;
  • Thoughts on the diversity, impacts and ethics of systemic OR practice; and
  • Reflections on the past, present and future of systems thinking in OR.

Indeed, any insightful presentation of relevance to systems thinking and OR is welcome.

For full stream, organizer, submission and conference information, see 

Friday, 9 Mar 2018
Amy Patrick

The OR Society’s 60th Anniversary Conference
Lancaster University, 11-13 September 2018

You are invited to submit an abstract to the Sustainable Supply Chain Stream at OR60.

Stream Definition:
Protecting and benefiting the environment as well as creating profit at the same time is one of the main supply chain challenges. In this sense, sustainable supply chains are concerned with incorporating sustainability principles in different stages of supply chains from the extraction of raw materials to the delivery of the final products to customers and back. This stream provides an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share recent advances in applications of OR in Sustainable Supply Chains. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sustainable strategies in supply chain management
  • Modelling & Simulation for sustainable supply chain analysis
  • Supply chain innovation towards a circular economy
  • Sustainable transportation
  • Reverse logistics and remanufacturing
  • Closed-loop supply chain
  • Green procurement and sourcing
  • Energy and resource efficiency in supply chains
  • Supply Chain sustainability assessment

Guide for Authors
We are now accepting abstracts for presentation at the conference until 31 May 2018. Each presenter should produce a title and an abstract of up to 300 words maximum. This will appear in the conference handbook given to all delegates. Remember, the abstract should be phrased in a way to attract people to your presentation. If you are interested in presenting, please submit your abstract here:

See more information on the Sustainable Supply Chain OR60 stream.

If you have further questions on the stream, please feel free to contact the stream organisers:
Prof Lampros Stergioulas, University of Surrey (
Dr Masoud Fakhimi, University of Surrey (

Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018
Nomsa Sibanda

GOS Report CoverA recently published Government report promotes the increasingly critical importance of modelling, emphasising that it is essential to our future productivity and competitiveness, for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy.  As a learned society representing a large population of modelling professionals the Operational Research Society (ORS) supports this view and the main thrust of the report.

The report (Computational Modelling: Technological Futures) has been jointly published by the Government Office for Science and the Council for Science and Technology.  It drew together inputs from many experts from a wide range of backgrounds across industry and academia.  These included ORS Honorary Member Sir Alan Wilson and ORS Fellow Professor David Lane.

Professor Lane said: “We offer some ideas about the future of modelling, for example, that, in order to support strategic thinking, senior decision-makers will themselves increasingly participate in building and using models– an area which is one of my particular interests.”

The report highlights, rightly in the view of the ORS, the increasing opportunity for modelling to support better decision making.  This follows from the rapid growth in computing power, the explosion in available data, and the greater ability of models to tackle extremely complex systems.  For example, Operational Research (OR) professionals are now able to solve high value, large scale optimisation problems that were impossible to solve before.

One of the key messages of the report is the importance of close collaboration between the customer and the modeller throughout the modelling process.  It points out the dangers of improper use of models or the misinterpretation of model outputs, calling for decision makers to be intelligent customers for models provided with appropriate guidance and support by model suppliers.  The ORS agrees with these findings and believes in the need to provide greater awareness and training for decision makers on the importance of modelling and how to gain full value from modelling activity in the form of better informed decisions.  We are planning to provide more of this support to decision makers as part of our follow-up to the report.

The report also recommends that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should work with a wide variety of organisations, including learned societies such as the ORS, to support the further development of skills, research and innovation to enable the UK to stay in the forefront of advanced modelling technologies.  This is completely aligned with the current activities of the ORS and the OR community and we look forward to contributing to these efforts.

Other recommendations concern the need for a centre of excellence for modelling and for better governance and even formal regulation of modelling activity.  These reflect what the ORS would see as a fully justified concern about the dangers of poor quality modelling, but probably need more work in order to determine precisely what framework would be most effective.

The bulk of the report provides examples of the value of modelling across a wide range of sectors and problem domains.  These include, for example, the importance of OR modelling techniques such as system dynamics in the framing of public policy.  Given the breadth of the modelling and decision making landscape these examples cannot be exhaustive, and the ORS’s Impact magazine provides an excellent source of additional examples.  For instance, Issue 6 of Impact includes case studies showing how optimisation models have scheduled the South American qualification round for the football World Cup and improved resource usage in operating theatres in a US hospital. Issue 5 showed how a combination of simulation and optimisation modelling has improved service levels for BT’s field force.

The report is a timely reminder that modelling of all types, including OR, is going to be an increasingly important activity going forwards, that decision makers need to be intelligent customers of modelling, and that more skills, innovation and quality assurance will be needed to ensure that modelling delivers on its promise.

Access the full report here

Sign up to receive a FREE copy of the Impact magazine

Monday, 5 Feb 2018
Amy Patrick

April 6-8 2018
University of Nottingham, UK
More information at

Abstract submission deadline is extended until February 16, 2018.

We are pleased to announce the official launch of the PhD Student Conference on Operational Research (SCOR 2018), now back for its sixth instalment. We invite you to join us once again, at the beautiful University of Nottingham campus the 6-8 April 2018. PhD students from all Universities studying Operational Research, Management Science or a related field are kindly invited to submit an abstract for presentation at the conference. As some presenters may still be at an early stage of in their careers, the work presented does not need to be fully developed or thoroughly explored as of yet. The purpose of SCOR 2018 is to provide a friendly environment for the next generation of Operational Researchers to receive constructive feedback on their work and to meet people with similar interests. Plenary talks will be given by various OR professionals undertaking a wide range of exciting careers. This will give students an opportunity to consider the many career paths available to them after completing their doctorate.

Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018
Amy Patrick

Calling all practitioners!

'Making an Impact' has gone international. If you can't wait till the packed practitioner programme planned for OR60, or you want to know more about practice from across Europe, you'll be delighted to know that the recently formed EURO Working Group on Practice of OR is holding its first workshop on 15-16 February, in Paris-Saclay.


The workshop is FREE to attend, thanks to generous sponsorship from a number of companies. The programmed talks - all from people who are thoroughly immersed in the practice of OR, from organisations including Google, Renault, BT, Air Liquide, Netherlands Railways, and many more - will include frank discussions of difficulties and failures as well as inspirational stories of success. These will be followed by parallel working sessions discussing at the theme of measuring, communicating and improving impact and effectiveness, at project and group level. It is an exceptional opportunity to share, learn, and eet a wide variety of OR practitioners.

The timing has been designed to allow you either to stay just one night in Paris, or to stay on and make a long weekend of it. More details are on the EURO group website and the Eventbrite booking site.

Thursday, 25 Jan 2018
Amy Patrick

by Tom Boness, Operational Research in Health Ltd.

The programme of talks combined with opportunities to meet other simulation specialists offers a good way of keeping up-to-date with developments in simulation. 

SW18 Registration

The OR Society’s biennial simulation workshop (SW18) will be held at the Ettington Chase Hotel, near Stratford-upon-Avon, (, from 19-21 March 2018. The conference will cover application and theoretical developments across all simulation methods. One of the aims of the workshop is to promote collaboration between academics and practitioners and I have been asked to write a few words about why I attend such events, from the point of view of a practitioner working for a small OR consultancy; although I hope others can relate to these points too.

One of the highlights for me is the mix of delegates these workshops attract, coming from academia, industry and the public sector. This provides an opportunity to share ideas with a broad range of experts, extending beyond the clients and colleagues I meet in my day-to-day work.

A new addition to the workshops in 2016 was a set of tutorials on key simulation methodologies presented by leading experts. I attended the tutorials on Agent-Based Simulation (Bhakti Stephan Onggo, Lancaster University) and System Dynamics (John Morecroft, London Business School) which both offered an excellent way to learn about the current state of the art for these techniques and identify gaps in my knowledge.

While many people choose to present papers with 30-minute talks, there is also a poster stream, which I am pleased to be chairing for SW18. Poster presentations are a good alternative when a full paper presentation is, for example, too formal or not suitable for the project (which is often the case for my work). These sessions begin with each contributor providing a two-minute elevator pitch to introduce their work followed by a networking session where everyone can come up and talk to the presenters. I have presented posters in the past and received valuable one-to-one feedback about the theory behind my projects and enjoyed discussions about practical realities and other related projects.

If you have a poster you would like to present, contact

Also, don’t forget to register to attend at

Thursday, 14 Dec 2017
ORinSchools (ORiS)

We’ve had even more requests for volunteers over the next 6 months and would love your help! Whether you've volunteered hundreds of times before (or haven't at all), regardless of if you've been working in your role a year or 10 years, it doesn't matter. We always need volunteers from a wide variety of stages in their careers and from different industries to help out and talk to people about what OR is (and how a great a career in it is).

A full list of current opportunities (sorted in date order) is below. If you would like to know more about any of the opportunities - such as time / exact location etc or to know what a visit involves, please let me know and I can send these on! E-mail us at 

  • Windsor, Maths Workshop - Thursday 11 January 2018
  • West Sussex Maths Workshop - Monday 22 January 2018
  • Northampton, FMSP Maths Workshop - Wednesday 24 January 2018
  • Warwick University, Maths Workshop – Wednesday 31st January 2018
  • Big Bang Hampshire, Exhibitor - Friday 23 February 2018
  • Eastbourne College, Careers Talk – Friday 23rd February 2018
  • Exeter Outreach Day Maths Workshop - Wednesday 28th February 2018
  • Northampton (at Silverstone Circuit), Maths Workshop and Careers Fair - Wednesday 28th February 2018
  • High Wycombe, Careers Fair – Tuesday 6th March 2018
  • Hayes, Greater London, Careers Talk – Wednesday 7th March 2018
  • High Wycombe, Careers Talk - Monday 12th March 2018
  • The Big Bang Fair, Birmingham - Wednesday 14 March until Saturday 17 March – 5+ VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
  • South Wales, Maths Workshop  - Wednesday 18 April 2018
  • The Big Bang Fair, Hampshire – Friday 27th April 2018
  • London Sixth Form, Maths Workshop - Wednesday 2 May 2018
  • The Big Bang Fair, Crawley – Saturday 12th May
  • The Big Bang Fair, Buckinghamshire - Monday 25 June 2018
  • The Big Bang Fair, Yorkshire and Humberside - Tuesday 26 June 2018
  • The Big Bang Fair, London - Monday 2 July 2018 until Friday 6 July 2018 – 5+ VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Questions or comments? Drop us a line at 

Wednesday, 29 Nov 2017
ORinSchools (ORiS)

The OR in Schools (ORiS) iniativie liaises with teachers, lectures and educators to promote operational research (OR) and highlight potential careers. We have lots of interaction with students and recently, we've had some requests for work experience from those studying maths at Uni. 

If you offer work experience, please get in touch and let me know ( If you have a dedicated webpage or application process for university students (or even an informal process for school students), please send me the relevant details. I can either forward these on, or pop you in touch. 

A lot of students are studying maths or similar and are considering a career in OR. This is a great opportunity for them to learn more about your company and for you to get to know them!!


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