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Call for Bids for Charitable Project
"Understanding the O.R. Supply Chain in the UK"


There is a large job market for people with O.R. skills, but at the same time there is a shortage of people with the required skill set.  The Heads of O.R. Forum (HORF), for instance, report the difficulty of recruiting graduates, especially with an MSc in O.R.

The supply chain for O.R. workers is becoming more complex with less-and-less reliance on the traditional entry route of a Masters in O.R.  Indeed, there are many undergraduate and postgraduate courses which teach at least some elements of O.R.  These courses are provided from a range of disciplinary backgrounds: Business, Management, Mathematics, Economics, Computer Science, and Engineering. Some of these courses are “pure” O.R., some of them have a strong O.R. element such as analytics, operations management, logistics, supply chain.  Moreover, there are O.R. practitioners who have not taken O.R. courses.

Given this situation there is a need for academics, practitioners, employers and the O.R. Society to better understand the supply chain for O.R. from school level through to early career employment.  This can then form the basis for determining how to improve the supply of workers into O.R. We are commissioning a piece of work to investigate the O.R. supply chain.  This article is a call for proposals..

Aims of the Project

The aim of this project is to understand the O.R. supply chain.  This will involve mapping the supply chain from leaving school through to employment, of which MSc programmes are just a part. We envisage that this investigation will require:

    1. Interviews with early career O.R. workers to understand their routes into O.R.
    2. Identification of the skills required for a career in O.R. through interviews with employers and analysis of job adverts.
    3. Identifying University courses that provide the requisite skills for a career in O.R.,and where possible trends in student numbers and the international mix of students.
    4. Identifying non-traditional routes into O.R. e.g. training courses, on-the-job training.

The bid format and content

Bids should not exceed two pages and must cover:

Background: provide a summary of the applicant’s (or applicants’) current and previous research and/or practical work with focus on the work related to the purpose of the bid.

Research methods: describe the method(s) that will be used, and potentially any additional issue that you consider to be of interest to analyse.

Deliverables: which must include an open access report publishable on the Society’s website.

Management and time plan of the project: the maximum duration of the project is 1 year.

Cost of the project: a budget of £5,000 is available for delivery of the project and a further £2,000 for expenses.

How to apply

Bids should be sent to Gavin Blackett, Secretary and General Manager, Operational Research Society, Seymour House, 12 Edward Street, Birmingham B1 2RX, UK, or preferably by email to by 30 November 2015.

Assessment criteria

Submitted bids will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Quality  of the proposal, especially with respect to meeting the aims of the work.
  2. Track record of the applicant (applicants).
  3. Value for money.

Deadline for bids


Sanja Petrovic and Martin Kunc
November 2015