The LANCS (Lancaster, Nottingham, Cardiff and Southampton) Initiative in Foundational Operational Research: Building Theory for Practice

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Computer Science


The United Kingdom is the home of Operational Research (OR) and itmaintains an application-oriented research tradition which is both trueto its roots and which is also highly distinctive, if not unique. Manyindustries and public services are the beneficiaries of this effort, notleast healthcare, finance, transport and defence. However, the EPSRC/ESRC 2004 International Review of the Research Status of OR in the UK warned thatthis leading position in applied work in OR could be jeopardised in theabsence of a critical mass of researchers developing underpinning theory.In the LANCS (Lancaster, Nottingham, Cardiff, Southampton) initiative,four universities, which have been at the forefront of UK research inOR, have committed to a major expansion of research capacity in itstheoretical foundations, supported by the additional resources availableas a result of the current Science and Innovation call. The universitiesconcerned have already worked together in the creation of NATCOR, anEPSRC-supported initiative aimed at strengthening doctoral programmes inthe mathematics of OR. They have also evidenced their commitment to thesubject by recent decisions (in advance of this call) to investsubstantially in it.In total, the LANCS initiative will oversee additional new investment ofapproximately 12M through the five year period of the award, of whichmore than half comes from the institutions themselves. All theinstitutions have also committed to sustaining this additional capacitybeyond the five year EPSRC funded period. This will have a major impacton the subject. The initiative aims to build and maintain a substantialnew national capacity in its theoretical base by establishing this majorcross-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaboration. Such aprogramme is crucial to support the health of the application orientedresearch which was highlighted as such a strength by the 2004international review. Indeed, the main motivation of this proposal is tounderpin the health of the UK research base in this critically importantarea. This far sighted initiative aims to establish theoreticaladvances in the field which are informed by, and which feed into, realapplications.
Description Strategic growth of operational research in the UK
Exploitation Route Strategic growth of operational research in the UK
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport