The Beale Medal

The OR Society's Beale Medal is awarded in memory of the late Martin Beale. It gives recognition to a sustained contribution over many years to the theory, practice, or philosophy of OR in the UK, or to some combination of those areas. More details of Beale's life can be found in this short biography.

For each year, nominations are required by 30 April of that year. The rules and conditions are set out below.

Citation for Beale Medal 2021

Professor Chris Potts (University of Southampton)

With nearly fifty years of sustained contributions in developing new theory and algorithms for a variety of combinatorial optimisation problems, most notably in the area of scheduling, Professor Chris Potts has been instrumental in advancing the discipline of operational research in the United Kingdom and internationally. Professor Potts’ academic career included being a Lecturer at Keele University, then subsequently working as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor of Operational Research at the University of Southampton from 1986, where he remains active in research and teaching. He has served as Head of Operational Research in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton from 2007–16 and Deputy Head of School from 2013–2016.

Professor Potts has made truly outstanding contributions to the theory of operational research, particularly in the area of scheduling of single and multi-machine production systems in manufacturing, including online scheduling, flow-shop scheduling, supply chain scheduling and scheduling with batching. His later work has focused on developing new theory and methods for problems arising in logistics and transportation, including airport runway scheduling, railway timetabling, vehicle routing and workforce scheduling. He has also contributed to significant research on problems in the healthcare and sport sectors. Professor Potts is recognised as a leading researcher in the field of scheduling, both in the UK and worldwide.

Through his supervision of more than 70 projects with industry, for organisations including Arup, Heathrow Airport, Babcock, Ferrari and DSTL, Professor Potts has also made remarkable contributions to the practice of operational research. His involvement in large-scale projects, such as those to increase airport throughput or the capacity of the rail network, further highlights his contributions in enhancing the impact of operational research.

Professor Potts has provided excellent support to the development of operational research in the UK, including being one of the key members behind securing the LANCS Initiative and also being one of the main contributors to the National Taught Centre in Operational Research (NATCOR) for the Combinatorial Optimisation course at the University of Southampton. His other roles have included being a Statistics and Operational Research sub-panel member for the UK’s Research Assessment Exercise in 2008, and serving as Vice-President of EURO, from 2003–2006. He has also acted as Chair of the organising committee of VeRoLoG, an international conference on vehicle routing and logistics, held at the University of Southampton in July 2013. In addition, he played a key role in organising a series of International Symposiums in Combinatorial Optimisation in the UK and linked to the ECCO conferences in EURO. These are all evidence of his active involvement in the wider community and contributions to operational research, both nationally and internationally.

To conclude, Professor Potts has made a sustained and significant contribution to combinatorial optimisation, particularly in scheduling research. He has also developed and led large projects in the area and worked with external organisations to translate his research into practice. As head of the OR group at the University of Southampton for many years and through his work supporting NATCOR, he has also been a mainstay of the OR academic community in the UK.

Beale Medal 2021 Chris Potts.jpg

Chris Potts

Previous Awards

Read More


Read More