Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Mathematics and Statistics


The Lancaster Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistics and Operational Research (STOR) will meet the current critical need to address the national skills shortage within both disciplines. These complementary areas of mathematics underpin a wide-range of industries including defence, healthcare, finance, energy and transport. Thus, the development of this integrated, industrially-focused doctoral training centre is key for national competitiveness. Combined with the input of our industrial partners, the formation of the centre will provide a research training environment focused on methodological research motivated and applied to important real scientific/industrial applications. The centre will be designed to attract, train and nurture the analytic research capacity of the UK's strongest numerate graduates, thus developing a generation of doctoral scientists capable of applying their research skills to industrial applications through either academic or industrial career paths. Key aims of centre are:(i) to increase national doctoral recruitment into STOR through a programme attractive to substantial numbers of students outside those who would normally consider doctoral study in the area; (ii) to train graduates capable of producing research of high quality and with major industrial and scientific impact;(iii) to produce highly employable graduates equipped with the broad skills needed for rapid career progression in academia or industry;(iv) to stimulate research at the interface of STOR through doctoral projects which span the disciplines. The long-term vision for this centre is that it will grow into a national centre of excellence for a collaborative doctoral training environment in STOR between academia and industry, leading to a sustainable model for better exploitation of research.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit? We believe that LUSTOR will generate considerable impact for a wide range of non-academic beneficiaries, principal among whom are: a) Recruiters of doctoral graduates in statistics and operational research (STOR). Apart from HEIs, these include many organisations within the industrial, government and public sectors; b) LUSTOR's collaborating partners as listed in section 1.5 of the case for support; c) Society in general. How will they benefit? People, Economy: LUSTOR will secure a substantial increase in the number and quality of PhD graduates in STOR. Beneficiaries (a) and (b) will consequently be able to recruit outstanding scientists equipped with the knowledge and skill set to prosper in industry. From our letters of support it is clear that there is a severe shortage of such people. Our external partners emphasise that high level expertise in STOR is central to the success of their organisations. It is also clear that high level technical skills are not enough. For example, Jonathan (Shell Global Solutions) regrets the dearth of people with 'the appropriate balance of technical, consulting, communication skills and passion for applied statistics' and concludes that he sees the CDT 'contributing strongly to our future technical and recruitment needs'. That is, high level technical ability needs to be complemented by broader attributes including a passion to engage with messy problems and the skills required to effectively communicate complex ideas. LUSTOR will develop these broad skills and encourage that passion. Knowledge, Economy: Significant further benefit will accrue to beneficiary group (b) through the prosecution of CASE-like doctoral research projects in areas of key interest to them. The supporting letters from Garrad Hassan and the Met Office give examples. Projects within EPSRC's priority themes of Energy and Towards Next Generation Healthcare will have broader societal benefits. Society: The inclusion of EPSRC's priority themes (Energy and Towards Next Generation Healthcare) and the involvement of key government agencies within LUSTOR's scientific scope will ensure that the centre will have broad societal benefits. What will be done to ensure that they benefit from this research? In order to deliver the above 'securing the future supply of people' benefits we have developed an extensive strategy for the recruitment of outstanding individuals into LUSTOR and a training programme which will nurture scientific excellence along with the broader competencies required by industry. Most crucially, these programmes have been designed jointly with our industrial partners who will also be involved in their delivery. Our partners' commitment is strong evidence of their support for LUSTOR's approach and their belief that they will indeed see people supply benefits delivered. Timeliness and quality of doctoral work will be ensured by the rigorous vetting of research proposals followed by an extensive programme of monitoring and appraisal of research progress. Our training programme will give students the skills they need to make sure that research outcomes are successfully communicated to beneficiaries. This will be further facilitated in the case of collaborative projects by co-supervision with an industrial partner. Additionally, an annual LUSTOR workshop to which our industrial partners will be invited will constitute an opportunity to showcase research progress and achievement. Students will be trained in public and media engagement and those who undertake research which has broad societal impact will be supported in its effective dissemination.


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