Official Launch of the LANCS Initiative in Foundational Operational Research
The formal launch of the LANCS Initiative was held at The Institution of Engineering and Technology in London on Wednesday 20 May. Hosted by Lancaster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, the event was attended by 145 national and international academic guests and representatives of UK industry and government (including British Airways, Royal Bank of Scotland, Unilever, Brawn Formula One Racing Team, Transport for London, HM Revenue and Customs and the Home Office).
The LANCS Initiative is a collaboration between four of the UK’s leading universities in Operational Research (OR) – Lancaster, Nottingham, Cardiff and Southampton (LaNCS). The consortium brings together the complementary perspectives of mathematics, computer science and management science. The Initiative is led by Kevin Glazebrook, Distinguished Professor in Operational Research and joint member of Lancaster’s Department of Management Science and Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the four participating institutions are funding the £13 million Initiative for five years (2008 to 2013).
The central goal of the LANCS Initiative is the delivery of a significant expansion of the national research base in foundational OR. This will be achieved by an extensive programme of academic recruitment and training and through the establishment of networks of leading edge collaborative research centred on the OR groups at the four universities. The Knowledge Transfer Network in Industrial Mathematics is supporting an industrial outreach strategy, thereby ensuring that research outcomes are effectively communicated to users.
Three of the LANCS Initiative’s principal research themes seek to bring new OR approaches to bear on major societal, economic and environmental concerns; healthcare, transport and green logistics. Two of the speakers at the launch, David Bishop (Head of Policy at the Airport Operators Association) and Peter Jones OBE (the Mayor of London’s appointee on the capital’s Waste and Recycling Board), described the significance of OR’s contribution to these areas of national and international importance. The third speaker, Dr Lesley Thompson (Director of the Research Base at the EPSRC), spoke powerfully of the vital need to strengthen the UK’s research base in OR.
A drinks reception followed the presentations, where guests were invited to explore engagement opportunities with members of the research teams and view demonstrations showcasing OR applications and achievement. Most of the 25 members of the LANCS Scientific and Industrial Advisory Boards attended the launch and also the inaugural board meetings, which took place the following day in London.
Copies of the LANCS brochure are available from the LANCS Administrator, Rosemary Hindley (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01524 592937), and further information can be found on the website at http://www.lancs-initiative.ac.uk.