North Western OR Group past meetings

Previous Online Events


29 September 2021 NWORG event - Modelling UK Decarbonisation Pathways


Applications of Big Data and Analytics

Venue: University of Liverpool
Speaker: See Further Information Below

Further to the announcement of this joint meeting at the NWORG AGM here are the details for the meeting on 'Applications of Big Data Analystics'. If you want to book a place follow the link below. The event is organised by the Agility Centre of University of Liverpool Management School in collaboration with the British Academy of Management, the HMRC Liverpool office, and the Operational Research Society.

Further details and booking at Eventbrite.



Venue: Manchester Metropolitan University
Speaker: Steven Finlay
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2018 at 15:30 - 17:30

Please hold this date in your diary for the North West OR Group AGM. Further details will be posted shortly together with details of how to book your place. Steven Finlay will speak on the role ethics play in automated decisions.

You can book your place here

The OR Society Annual General Meeting, hosted by the North West OR Group at MMU, 22nd June 2017

Registration/ Reception Room 1.23 Event Room 1.24

The event promises to be both exciting and informative with Ruth Kaufman, President of The OR Society outlining some exciting plans with members through a Q&A on future directions. Your chance to meet Board members as well as Gavin Blackett, Secretary and General Manager, and other OR Society members. There will be some time for networking with refreshments and nibbles.

It is a pleasure to welcome Professor Keith Still our invited speaker who is an expert on ‘Crowd Science’. His research is focused on crowd safety. His tools (Legion, Paramics UAF, Myriad, Dwell Analysis, Progressive Crowd Collapse and Tawaf models) have been used for the analysis of crowds in complex and built spaces for over two decades. Professor Still has authored a book on this topic published by CRC Press.Prof. Still has lectured at the UK Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College (EPC) from 1999 - 2013 contributing to a wide range of crowd safety related courses and continues to teach short courses around the world.

We will also have a short presentation by three undergraduate placement students from HMRC who recently won the first ever INFORMS OR and Analytics Competition against stiff competition from student teams from around the world. They will tell us about their experience, from the original entry to participating in the final in Las Vegas.

You will be able to book here. Look forward to seeing you there.

Provisional Agenda

1445 Registration

1500 Introduction and Welcome to MMU, Prof. Tony Hines, NWORG Chair

1505 Crowd Science – Prof. Keith Still

1600 Formal Business introduced by Ruth Kaufman, President of the OR Society

- The Society Year in Review – President and Board Members

- Formal presentation of accounts, and resolutions for voting

1630 HMRC Placement student winners of the INFORMS OR and Analytics Competition in Las Vegas will tell us about their experience.

1645 The OR Society Future Directions Q& A with Ruth Kauffman, President of the OR Society

1715 Networking, nibbles and refreshments

1800 Close


Venue and timing: Wednesday 07/12/2016 15:00 to 18:00 at the University of Chester, Warrington Campus

Our next event takes place on 7 December 2016 (15.00 TO 18.00 in the Lance Dobson Lecture Theatre, at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester. Follow the attached link for directions.


We have three excellent speakers. Detailed summaries of their talks are given below.

To book your place follow this Eventbrite link.

Important information: Please note places are limited to 40 and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If when you book you find that all places have gone please email and we will put you on a reserve list should places become available.

Liam Garvey, United Utilities, on "How we manage the regional water system"

Richard C. Thompson, Sellafield Ltd, on "Site Evacuation Planning"

Marc Goerigk, Dept. Management Science, Lancaster University, on "Emergency Evacuation Planning"

How we manage the regional water system – Liam Garvey, United Utilities


There are three areas I will focus on to discuss how we manage the regional water system which are:

  1. How we manage the regional water system – Overview of the regional system
  2. How we assess impacts of planned and unplanned events on our assets (using modelling)
  3. How we adapted during the storms of last year to keep supplies flowing to our customers

Liam Garvey BSc (Hons), MSc, MIWater. Worked for United Utilities for 19 years in several operational roles covering water supply (local network level), trade effluent management, wastewater treatment, incident management / response and more recently the regional water system.

Simulation Modelling in Emergency Planning- Richard Thompson, Head of OR at Sellafield


The purpose of this work was to provide a means to analyse the efficiency and effectiveness of various site evacuation scenarios under controlled release conditions, in events such as extreme weather etc. With a potential headcount of up to 11,000 personnel on site at peak times, having confidence in any remediation strategy is key to being able to examine and refine safety policies. The EMIP model has provided a tool which enables the effectiveness of evacuation strategies and plans, looking in detail at the impact on traffic flow, personnel transit times and the interface between site infrastructure and public roads.

Richard Thompson, Head of OR at Sellafield, originally started at Sellafield in 1990 as an apprentice and has moved through various areas of the business since then, including some time outside of Sellafield in Commissioning Management. Richard has worked in OR for the last 10 years, leading a team of 15 analysts and supporting the business through provision of its decision support capability

Optimisation Methods for Evacuation Planning - Marc Goerigk, Lancaster University


To prepare for an evacuation, optmisation models can give valuable insight and decision support to keep evacuation times as small as possible. In this talk I give a broad overview of methods and successful applications of this kind. In particular, as it is never clear what the future might bring, methods to handle data uncertainty are discussed.

Marc Goerigk is a Lecturer in the Department of Management Science at Lancaster University. He studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Göttingen, where he also completed his PhD in applied mathematics in 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he worked as a Post-Doc at the University of Kaiserslautern. Besides disaster management, his research interests include robust optimisation and public transportation problems.


Wednesday 14, September 2016

15:00 – 18:00

Lecture Room 3, South Campus Teaching HUB, 140 Chatham St, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L7 7BA

14:45 – 15:15 Registration and refreshments

15:15 – 15:20 Welcome and introduction Prof. Tony Hines (NW OR Group Chair)

15:20 – 15:50 Addressing loneliness in Rural North Yorkshire – Sarah Culkin (Department of Health)

Pro Bono OR Society Project: An organisation in the North of England took over a rural monitoring service for the elderly and was very keen to ensure that as much benefit as possible could be provided for recipients of the service. It therefore requested a pro bono study to help understand how a strategy for improving the service could be constructed. In this talk I will describe my experiences and results.

15:50 – 16:20 ‘Setting the Guinea Pigs Free – Towards a New Model of Social Marketing’ – Linda Henry (Unique Improvement Ltd)

The process of applying structure and approaches to engagement of people in deprived communities to achieve improvement in a range of health and social care topics is the theme of my talk. This sets the scene for the pro bono work; I will talk about our approach to the work, the techniques used and some of the examples of success. Many community programmes do not know how to measure impact and social value so I will conclude with this. Participants should get an easy to understand resource on how we do it and the things they need to consider when looking for funding and measuring impact as customers these days buy ‘outcomes and impact’.

16:20 – 16:30 Break

16:30 – 16:50 OR Society Pro-Bono (Felicity McLeister – OR Society)

Find out more about the OR Society’s Pro Bono initiative and how you can get involved!

16:50 – 17:00 OR in University of Liverpool (Speaker TBC - University of Liverpool)

17:00 – 17:30 NW OR Regional Society Annual General Meeting (OR Society members only)

17:30 – 18:00 Networking and Close

NWORG Re-launch

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University
Speaker: Ruth Kaufman (President of the OR Society) and Stewart Robinson (Immediate Past President of the OR Society)
Date: Wednesday, 03 February 2016 at 14:00 - 17:00

The North West OR Group is re-launching! Following on from the successful analytics event held in Manchester in September 2015 there is a new committee to organise events in the North West region.

To mark this occassion there will be two presidential speakers from the OR Society. Ruth Kaufman is the Society's new President, taking up the role on 1 January this year. Ruth was also awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours so it is an exciting time for both her and the Society. Stewart Robinson is the Immediate Past President of the Society. The Society does not let its past presidents just slip away, Stewart will continue to be involved in a number of areas including analytics.

Take this opportunity to network with fellow members in the North West and meet the new committee. Stay for a glass of wine and nibbles after the talks.

Register to attend on Eventbrite.

Location information: Sandra Burslem Building (Lecture Theatre 2:10, Refreshments 2:12) - MMU Law School (Access via MMU Business School), Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6BH - Travel information

Speaker details:

OR, the OR Society and You: some thoughts from a new president

Ruth Kaufnman, President of the OR Society

The OR Society, with around 10 FTE staff and a turnover around £1million, falls definitely into the ‘S’ subset of SMEs. With 2700 members, it is pretty small as far as learned societies go, as well. But its reach, impact and ambitions are disproportionately great. Part of this discrepancy is explained by the nature of OR itself: its massive power to transform and improve, even whilst most people who benefit from it have never heard of it, and many people who work in the field hesitate to define it.

In this talk, I will review some aspects of the current position of the ORS and of OR in the UK - a remarkably positive position, for a profession that is always seeing decline in its own navel - and discuss how the ORS and OR professionals can best capitalise on our strengths and opportunities.

OR in the Age of Big Data

Stewart Robinson, Acting Dean, Professor of Management Science, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. Immediate Past President of the OR Society

What does ‘big data’ mean for OR? For many OR workers our education was founded on ‘small data’ techniques. This carried over into our OR practice, where we were pleased if we could find reasonable samples of data to support our models. Big data may be changing all of that. In this talk we shall explore how big data could impact on our models and our modelling practice. In doing so we shall try and answer the following questions: What is big data? How does the world of OR fit with the world of big data, analytics and data science? What role might big data play in our modelling efforts? And, does big data challenge our very conception of the ‘OR methodology’?

Analytics in the North

Venue: Room 2.42, Manchester Business School, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB
Speaker: Claire Potter (HMRC), Matthew Robinson (IBM), Prof. John Keane (University of Manchester), Mike Tanner (Mitan Ltd)
Date: Thursday, 03 September 2015 at 14:00 - 17:00

Please put the afternoon of Thursday 3 September in your diary for the ‘Analytics in the North’ event organised jointly by the OR Society, Government OR Service (GORS) and Decision Analysis Special Interest Group (DASIG), featuring speakers from public and private sector and academia.


Claire Potter (HMRC) will talk about the challenges of using predictive analytics to influence customer behaviour as early as possible, for example by reducing opportunities for error, fraud or non-compliance.

Matthew Robinson (IBM) will explain the journey that takes businesses from statistics and business intelligence, through predictive analytics to cognitive analytics.

Professor John Keane (University of Manchester) will discuss the development of Decision Support System (DSS) tools and algorithms and their role in “value added data systems”.

Mike Tanner (Mitan Ltd) will discuss how changing business, legal, and technological factors affect the nature of O.R. solutions, and the need for clear objectives. This will be illustrated by why and how a non-simulation model was developed for complex queuing systems.


There will also be an opportunity to network with professionals working in different sectors and organisations during the event. Refreshments will be provided.


The event is free to attend, please register to secure your place:

For more information, please contact Anna Nikiel: anna.nikiel [at]


1:30pm Registration & coffee

2:00pm Welcome and Introduction – John Lord (HMRC)

2:10pm The challenges of using Predictive Analytics to influence up-stream customer behaviour in HMRC – Claire Potter (HMRC)

2:40pm From Business Intelligence to Cognitive Analytics – Matthew Robinson (IBM)

3:10pm Coffee break & networking

3:45pm Introduction to DASIG – Nadia Papamichail (University of Manchester)

3:55pm Data, data everywhere… – John Keane (University of Manchester)

4:25pm Analysing Complex Queuing Systems. Is Simulation the Only or the Best Way? – Michael Tanner (Mitan Ltd)

4:55pm Close – John Lord (HMRC)