The OR Society Undergraduate Award


One prize is awarded per registered institution per academic year. At each institution, the student who completes the best OR project as part of their relevant undergraduate degree course is awarded: 

  • A certificate
  • £50
  • The opportunity to present an overview of their project at The OR Society’s Education and Research Seminar
  • Each winning student’s name, their institution and course details and project abstract is published on The OR Society's website
  • An article also features in Inside OR magazine with photographs of all prize winners at the seminar series or with photographs forwarded by the institutions

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To request an application form, please contact us using the form opposite.

Please submit entries via the form opposite, unless unfeasible. If you are unable to do this, please contact the office and ask for Carol McLaughlin.

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Citations for The OR Society Undergraduate Award 2019

Elizabeth Williams, University of South Wales

Following graduation from her MMath Mathematics course at the University of South Wales, Elizabeth has successfully gained funding to study for a PhD in the OR Group at the School of Mathematics, Cardiff University

Operational Research techniques applied to Healthcare

The research conducted within this project investigates the use of Operational Research techniques and their application within healthcare services, focusing on two case studies; cancer waiting times within NHS England and Wales, and Accident and Emergency attendances within the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Cancer diagnosis within the UK is increasing, with one in two people expected to be diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime. This statistic highlights the need for a quick diagnosis, to allow treatment to commence for a higher survival rate of patients. Survival rates of different types of cancer were firstly examined by stage of diagnosis in order to ascertain the need for short waiting times. Performance of NHS Trusts and the waiting times for different types of cancers were compared to targets set by the UK Government, to determine the exact location within the patient pathway where the targets are failing to be reached. A variety of data sets were acquired for this research from the following sources; Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, NHS England and NHS Wales.

The second case study focuses on patient pathways, examining Accident and Emergency attendances within the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. The case study involved collaboration with the Aneurin Bevan Continuous Improvement team, with regular progress meetings and presentations required to be given on the results discovered from the data provided. Different patient pathways through Accident and Emergency were identified, and their associated trends of LOS and outcomes examined. The results produced, determine the patient categories which are more likely to be admitted, suffer mortality and have a longer length of stay as a result of attending an Accident and Emergency department.

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Dr Penny Holborn presenting the award to Elizabeth Williams

Nico De Oliveira, University of Leicester

Following graduation from his BSc in Mathematics with Management, Nico will be pursuing a Masters in Finance and Investment at University of Loughborough, starting September 2019. Nico’s long term aim is to start a career in the financial sector.

The analysis and future use of discounts for the Leicester Riders Basketball team.

This project involved working with the Leicester Riders basketball team to optimise the use of discount offers regarding game tickets, based on information on every ticket sold over the last season.  The project identified optimal discount types and the games at each type should be applied, and also identifies the optimal times to offer discounts.  For example, it identified those games at which it would be most beneficial to offer ‘first timer’ discounts; and for previous attenders it identified which types of discount would be most likely to generate increased sales.  It also identified lists of customers eligible for given discounts, generates a timetable for future use of discounts and compares statistics for multiple different discount types.  The results are implemented in Python code that can be used by the Leicester Riders ticketing and marketing teams in order to generate lists of eligible customers for given discounts in future.  There are some aspects of the project that still need to be developed, and further analysis of the current season’s data could lead to more accurate results, but the initial objectives of the project have been achieved.

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Emma Roberts, University of Strathclyde

Following graduation from her BA (Hons) degree in Business Analysis and Technology, Emma will continue to work with SIMUL8 as a Product Developer.

Metrics and Insight: How SIMUL8 measure software success and embed user insight”

SIMUL8 is a software company which specialises in discrete event simulation for businesses, universities and individual users. The aim of this project is to improve the feedback process of SIMUL8 by developing processes to help them measure the impact of their releases and utilise customer feedback into their quarterly software releases. To achieve this aim, measures (metrics) of impact for every software feature released in their upcoming software releases have been researched and developed. Furthermore, a centralised feedback location was developed for SIMUL8 to store qualitative customer feedback they receive on their quarterly software releases, SIMUL8 features and market trends.

This project is divided into two mixed method phases: Quantitative Feedback and Qualitative Feedback. For the Quantitative Feedback phase, a Goal-Question-Metric (GQM) session was held to gather the metrics needing to be measured for the quarterly release. After this, the second stage gathered the data on these metrics defined by the GQM session and a questionnaire was sent out to users to gather additional metrics whilst also aiming to validate the metrics already gathered. For the second phase, Qualitative Feedback, the first stage involved group interviews regarding the idea of customer feedback and a central feedback location. Once this was completed, a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis model was used to find the most optimal feedback location. 

The project concludes by offering final recommendations which include: continuing to gather metrics which were defined in the GQM session, more specifically engagement metrics, continuously collect NPS score, develop prioritisation processes for technical feedback and use their current CRM software to store customer feedback. 

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