The Doctoral Award

The award, for the 'Most Distinguished Body of Research leading to the Award of a Doctorate in the field of OR', is an annual award, with the award being made at The OR Society’s Blackett Lecture in December.

The qualifying period is the calendar year in which the PhD or DPhil is defended or approved. For the full timetable, see the Guidelines tab. The thesis being submitted for consideration must have been examined at a UK University within the relevant time period.

With a prize fund of up to £2500 plus conference places available for the winner and runners-up, this represents an exciting development for PhD students. Initial nominations are normally from the external examiner who has identified the body of research as of exceptional quality.

The winner of the award wins a cash prize of £1500. Up to two runners-up each receive £500. The winner has their name engraved on the George Paterson shield as a permanent record of their achievement. The successful candidates are expected to present their work at the annual conference of The OR Society. A significant contribution towards to cost of the conference is available to all prize winners.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 31 May 2024.

All submissions should be to [email protected].

The winner and runners-up for this award are announced at the Blackett Lecture.

The George Patterson Memorial Shield of The OR Society

The George Paterson Memorial Shield

2022 Doctoral Award Winner

Dr Spyridon Pougkakiotis - University of Dundee

The thesis of Spyridon Pougkakiotis is in the general area of numerical optimisation and focuses on interior point methods for solving linear, convex quadratic and semi-definite programming problems. This is an important area of research because many practical applications require multiple convex optimisation problems to be solved as subproblems.

Convex optimisation problems are often solved by interior point methods that utilise barrier functions when there are inequality constraints. However, unless certain conditions are satisfied, these methods may fail to deliver a solution of the problem either due to numerical instability or due to the large size of the subproblems that need to be solved. A technique known as regularisation is commonly used to improve the reliability of interior point methods. However, previous studies have neither produced a thorough theoretical analysis nor a systematic method of tuning the parameters used in regularisation. The thesis resolves these issues by establishing cases that exhibit polynomial complexity of applying interior point methods with regularisation and by introducing effective strategies for tuning the parameters used in regularisation. The practical benefits of regularisation are demonstrated on real-life problems arising is several application areas such as portfolio optimisation, machine learning and medical imaging.

The external examiner of Spyridon Pougkakiotis comments about being very impressed by “the quality of his academic writing and his contributions to the field of numerical optimization”. The supervisor states that Spyridon Pougkakiotis is by far the most talented PhD student he has supervised and expects him become a future leader in the world of research. The main findings of the thesis have been published as seven papers in high-quality journals. These papers have received a total of 37 citations, which is a remarkably high considering that only 18 months have elapsed since the PhD viva.

Spyridonand Gilbert

Spyridon Pougkakiotis and Gilbert Owusu

Our 2022 Runners-up

Dr Bento Natura (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Thesis Title: Exact Linear Programming: Circuits, Curvature, and Diameter

Bento Natura Doctoral Runner Up

Dr Bento Natura

Previous Awards

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