Blackett Lecture: Chris Skidmore MP

Blackett Lecture 2020

The Blackett Lecture 2020 was attended online by more than 200 OR and analytics professionals. Thank you to everyone who took part.

At this year’s event, we awarded nine winning medals to 21 industry frontrunners. Click the link to find out more about the Blackett Medal recipients. 

Read more about our 2020 winners

Find out more about our plenary talk by Chris Skidmore below.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood and Former UK Science, Research and Innovation Minister, delivered this year's talk.

He spoke about what OR really means in the 21st Century, including but not limited to how OR is used to shape public behaviour and predictions for what the future of OR looks like.

Skidmore restated the importance of operational research for the future and discussed how that importance can be truly realised. He reflected on his time as the UK’s Science, Research and Innovation Minister between 2018 and 2020, and spoke about current uncertainty and its impact on OR.

He also explored the target of the UK's future international identity as a ‘global science superpower’ and what needs to be done to achieve this - namely considerable investment in not only our research infrastructure, but in the skills needed to conduct research in the future.

"Investment in R&D is to invest in one's future" are the words of Skidmore, and we couldn't agree more.

Download Speech here

Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP Speech_Page_01.jpg

Who was Patrick Blackett?

Since 1975, The Operational Research Society's annual lecture has been known as the Blackett Memorial Lecture in honour of Lord Patrick Blackett.

A physicist, Nobel prizewinner and one-time president of the Royal Society, Blackett was one of the pioneers of operational research (OR) during World War 2, when he advocated the employment of scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics. Learn more about Patrick Blackett in our light-hearted 'Draw my life' animation: