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LSE Operational Research Students win prizes for best student projects

Three MSc students from the Department of Management| of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) were winners of the Operational Research (OR) Society's May Hicks Prizes for the best postgraduate projects of 2004.

The first prize was awarded to Grazyna Kazmierska and John Osborn, both MSc Decision Science students at LSE, who each won £500 for a joint project undertaken for the Red Cross.

Their work, within the context of the UK Red Cross' Strategy for Service Delivery 2004-06, aimed to develop processes and metrics which could support this strategy. A key part of the project was the analysis of the concept of 'need' in the context of Red Cross activities, with the students concluding that need had two components: exposure to risk and vulnerability when disaster struck. This analysis led into a study of how to measure these two concepts from publicly available data sources, and to better understand in which areas of the UK need was greatest. 

The findings were used to inform the development of an 'Area Profile' to support internal decision making within the Red Cross and to give Red Cross managers a snapshot of relevant measures of need for a particular administrative area. Grazyna and John also reported on how the concepts and metrics they developed could be used as a basis for a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) resource allocation strategy, which would enable the Red Cross to target expenditure where it could do the most to alleviate need. The outputs have now been adopted as part of the strategic thinking for the British Red Cross.

One of the £250 runner-up prize winners was Kris Ekelund, an MSc Operational Research student at LSE. Kris developed a Balanced Scorecard for evaluating strategic developments within an NHS Trust which recognized the conflicting priorities within the NHS.

The work produced a marked shift in how the Trust understands its data requirements an provided tools to prioritise information collection and analysis in line with strategic goals. This methodology is used to decide which of the many indicators are the most significant and allows the Trust to negotiate more knowledgeably with the Department of Health about performance targets and the selection of key indicators.

The May Hicks Award is awarded by the Operational Research Society and was instituted as a result of a bequest by Mrs Hicks, whose husband Donald was a past treasurer of the society and a patron of OR in the National Coal Board.

Professor Gwyn Bevan, convenor of the Department of Operational Research at LSE, said: 'Congratulations must go to all three students for their projects and this excellent achievement.'

Ends

Contact: Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060, email: j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk| 

For more information on the Department of Operational Research at LSE, see Department of Management|

For more on the UK Operational Research Society, see http://www.orsoc.org.uk/| 

23 February 2005

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