Management Science

Research in Management Science

An international centre of excellence working at the heart of research in management science and operational research.

Student studying

Our Research

The Department is a recognised centre of excellence in Management Science and related fields such as Operational Research, Operations Management, Information Systems and Business Analytics.  We have a strong commitment to producing research of practical importance, capitalising on our tradition of collaborative research with industry.  The Department takes the lead in three research centres: the Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting, the Centre for Productivity and Efficiency and the Centre for Transport and Logistics. The Department is also a key partner in the EPSRC-funded Data Science Institute  and STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training.

 

 

Research Areas

Research in Management Science covers a wide range of topics in OR/MS, Business Analytics, Operations Management, Information Systems and Project Management.  We have particular strengths in the following seven areas.

Marketing Analytics and Forecasting

Forecasting and market analytics are important activities in organisations. With the pioneering Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting we provide fundamental and applied research that leads to knowledge exchange between academia and business.

Our group advances the practice and research foundations of Marketing Analytics and Forecasting, by developing innovative approaches, and a programme of dissemination of best practices through the introduction of new methods, processes and systems. Research areas include promotional planning or defining omni-channel retail strategies. We support organisation to optimise their supply chain and improve their forecasting and planning process. For this we use the latest statistical methods but also focus on the behavioural aspect of decision making.

We are keen in collaborating with the industry on various projects. There is also a high demand for research academics in both these two fields and we are always looking for interested new PhD students.

Visit the Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting for more information.

Forecasting

Health Systems

The Health Systems Research Group is a grouping of management scientists with a common interest in the development and application of Operational Research, Operations Management and Information Systems methods and theories, quantitative and qualitative, to important health systems issues.

Whilst the health systems research issues tackled are wide and varied, many of them relate to the general challenges of helping health systems to make better use of available resources, in terms of both improving efficiency and improving patient experiences. Much of it concerns elements of knowledge transfer, be it between researchers and practitioners, between industry and healthcare, or between the health systems of different countries.

 

Research is undertaken in a variety of modes including longer-term research via PhD, Research Council funded projects, and NHS R&D funded projects; and shorter-term research via Masters student projects and consultancy projects. This mix of research modes means that shorter term projects designed to meet fast-moving organisational timescales can be informed by ongoing research and expertise, whilst longer-term research can benefit from genuine experience of the real issues faced within health systems. Examples of MRes/PhD research and Masters projects can be accessed below.

A number of these people are also involved in collaborations with colleagues in other LUMS departments via the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare or in multi-disciplinary projects across the University via the Health Innovation Campus.

Interested PhD candidates would normally have some knowledge of health systems and strong knowledge of some area of management science. Research topics and methodology can then be tailored to meet the needs and interests of the candidate and the interests and expertise of potential supervisors, for example:

  • performance management
  • waiting list management
  • impacts of spatial factors on health service delivery
  • health systems improvement
  • systems that transform patients-provider communication
  • systems to support health promotion planning
  • modelling patient flows in healthcare
  • Optimisation, analysis and simulation of Bayesian designs of adaptive clinical trials

Previous and ongoing PhD projects include:

  • Empathic Design for Healthcare Improvement, Minahi Al Khatani (2008)
  • The Diffusion of Operations Research in Management Decision Making - An Analysis of U.S. Healthcare Organisations, Jim Langabeer (2009)Generic simulation modelling of Accident and Emergency patient flows in acute hospitals in England, Adrian Fletcher (2012)
  • An Agent-Based Model of the IL-1 Stimulated Nuclear Factor-kappa B Signalling Pathway – Richard Williams, University of York (2015)
  • The development and application of an analytical healthcare model for understanding and improving hospital performance, Dan Suen (2016)
  • Managing radiotherapy treatment trade-offs using multi-criteria optimisation and data envelopment analysis, Kuan-Min Lin (2016)
  • Online Discrete Event Simulation for the Management of Inpatient Beds (Ongoing)
  • Bayesian Bandit Models for the Optimal Design of Clinical Trials (ongoing)
  • Stakeholder saliency dynamics in strategic ICT projects in the Saudi public healthcare system: appreciative systems perspective, Taghred Al-Ghaith (2013)

Recent MSc projects include:

  • Developing a generic simulation model for NHS England to better understand hospital bed occupancy by time of day and its impact on A&E performance.
  • Prostate cancer pathway modelling for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
  • Discrete Event Simulation of patient pathways for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment for Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Modelling the emergency response service in Blackpool Division for North West Ambulance Service
  • Strategic and operational modelling for Day Case servicesat the Lancashire Cardiac centre
  • Analysing A&E servicesat Hillingdon hospital – identifying the drivers of 4-hour breaches
  • Cost-effectiveness study of Ventricular Assist Devicesfor Warwick Evidence HTA Centre
  • Investigating a phased approach to the possible implementation of the FRG formulafor funding general practices for the Department of Health
  • Modelling clinical pathways for strokesfor PenCHORD, University of Exeter

If you have any queries you wish to discuss, please contact Dr Dave Worthington and if you would like to apply for a PhD, please visit our PhD in Management Science.

Visit our Staff for further details.

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Information Systems

The research of this group draws from socio-technical principles of design and use of information systems and technology (IST), and there is a strong inter-disciplinary focus to this group’s work. Within the department of Management Science, there are links with operations and supply chain management (through the study of intra- and inter-organisational co-ordination and networks), Systems/Soft OR (through problem structuring and methodology, and action research), and to the Health Systems Research group (through a focus on healthcare information systems). 

Within the Management School, the group has complementary and teaching research interests with the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. Across the wider University, there are links with the School of Computing and Communications and the School of Design, through the inter-disciplinary ESRC funded HighWire Doctoral Training Centre, which includes PhD supervision and Centre Co-directorships. The group also has links through its international work, especially the EU programmes, with the Lancaster Centre for Management in China.

Key projects by members of this research group include:

  • Dr. Amjad Fayoumi is a Lecturer in Information Systems (ISs), his research interests lie in the area of architecting and designing digital enterprises through using tools such as enterprise architecture frameworks, enterprise modelling, design rationale, and system dynamics modelling.
  • Dr Richard Williams’ research interests revolve around the broad themes of Complex Systems Analysis and Computational Social Systems. He currently uses a range of computational, mathematical and statistical approaches to understand how to harness the complexity that arises in large multi-vendor Enterprise System Implementations.
  • Professor Monideepa Tarafdar's research is within the ambit of how information technologies (IT) and systems impact individuals and collectives, and she studies, teaches and publishes in two tracks. The Information Systems track includes maladaptive (e.g. technostress) uses of IT and their individual and organizational consequences, human-algorithm collaboration/artificial intelligence, technology-enabled business innovation and business strategy, healthcare IT and digital health, and impacts of technology in under-developed or disconnected economic and social contexts. The Operations Management track includes application and use of IT in supply chain management and healthcare operations. Monideepa also serves as Associate Editor at ISR and Senior Editor at ISJ, and on the Editorial Review Boards at JAIS and JSIS.
  • Professor Juliana Sutanto's primary research interests are artefact design and behavioural analysis in digital communications and interactions. Particularly, she is interested in discovering how user interactions with IT artefacts can lead to additional business value, and/or generate societal benefits, such as collective intelligence and environmental sustainability impacts.
  • Dr Ruilin Zhu's research focuses on information systems (IS) security, privacy concerns, and digital innovation. Specifically, he leverages the traditional technical view through integrating behavioural, economic, and legal perspectives in order to understand IS phenomena. His academic work builds on previous IS expertise gained from working for leading financial and banking institutions and being a visiting scholar at a number of prominent academic institutions.
  • Dr Casey Wilson’s research interests focus on complexity and problem solving with a particular interest in the application of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).  She is particularly interested in the pedagogy of teaching SSM and the role of systems approaches in curriculum development for both face to face and online teaching materials.
  • Dr Helena Wenninger is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Information Systems. Her research interests cover the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on business and society. She investigates patterns of social media usage and online communication as well as their consequences for individuals, businesses, and society. Helena serves as Track Chair for the European Conference on Information Systems for the track “Social Implications of ICT Use” (since 2017). 

Key areas of research of this group are: 

  • Strategic imperatives from IST such as innovation, sourcing, supply chains, inter-organizational relationships/processes
  • Cognitive, emotional and well-being aspects associated with the design and use of IST such as gamification and stress
  • Reach/richness-enabled impacts of IST such as online privacy and social influence
  • IST capabilities and business practices during implementation and use.
  • International/global and developmental aspects of IST
  • Sustainability and IST
  • Industry sectors such as small business enterprises (SME’s) and healthcare
  • Project Management of ERP implementations
  • Investigation of the social and technical complexity that is inherent to large multi-vendor ERP programmes

All of these areas draw from various social and technical theoretical perspectives in order to inform researchers and practitioners. Much of the work includes an international focus. The levels of analysis include individual, group and organisational. Specific topics and projects for individual faculty members are listed below.

Research Opportunities

The group has a strong PhD programme related to the strands outlined above. We welcome PhD and post-doctoral students in these areas. We are also open to other areas of research that fit our theoretical or methodological strengths - which include a broad range of qualitative and quantitative work. If you are interested in a topic not listed above you should write a brief description of the topic and why it may be of interest to a potential supervisor, sending it to our PhD Co-ordinator Monideepa Tarafdar.

Visit our Staff for further details.

Information Technology

Supply Chain Management

We have one of the leading Supply Chain Management groups in Europe. Most of the research is empirical in nature, using a combination of case study, survey and simulation methods. The group works collaboratively with colleagues in the Department, across the School and in other faculties. Colleagues in Operational Research work on more quantitative aspects of operations, and the research covers five main areas:

  • Sustainability in supply chains
  • Global sourcing and supply chain resilience
  • Business services, servitisation, service procurement and contracting
  • Operational risk
  • Workload control methods for high variety, low volume manufacturing

There are particularly strong links with colleagues working on Information Systems, logistics, forecasting and supply chain modelling, industrial marketing, and service design. 

Current Research Activities

  • Sustainability in supply chains: Linda Hendry has a particular interest in socially sustainable sourcing, and Lancaster hosted the 2016 EurOMA Sustainability Forum. There are also strong links into The Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business. Mark Stevenson has also supervised doctoral research in this area.
  • Global sourcing and supply chain resilience: Mark Stevenson and Jerry Busby research resilience in supply chains and have worked in particular on product counterfeiting, including understanding how counterfeiters penetrate and take advantage of genuine supply chains and how supply chains can become more resilient to this threat.
  • Business services, servitisation, service procurement and contracting: Martin Spring and Kostas Selviaridis lead on this theme, which encompasses private and public sector procurement of complex services, manufacturers’ ‘shift to service’ (servitization), business models and performance-based contracting. This work links to that of colleagues in the IS area, for example on IT outsourcing and IT’s role in supply networks, as well as with work conducted in the Department of Marketing.
  • Operational risk: Jerry Busby’s interests are in the areas of analysing risk and its management, examining systemic failure, human and organisational error, design organisations and design processes. His work is published in leading journals such as Risk Analysis and Risk Management.
  • Workload control: The Lancaster group has for many years been central to the development of Workload Control, an approach to management and planning of make-to-order manufacturing companies. Linda Hendry and Mark Stevenson lead in this area, and their work has influenced many researchers in German, Dutch, Italian, Greek, North American and Portuguese universities and research institutes, including collaborative work with colleagues in the Universities of Groningen, Coimbra and Clemson.

Ongoing Research Areas

There are several ongoing research projects that students may want to get involved in:

  • Combatting Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain
  • Buyer-Supplier Contrating for Sustainable Supply Chain Management
  • Counterfeiting-resilient supply chains
  • Impacts of electronic health record systems applied to healthcare delivery processes, on physician performance
  • Impact of information technology utilization and supply chain information management strategies on outcomes such as supply chain efficiency and agility.
  • Impacts of complexity on supply chain performance and possible mitigations using intra and inter-organisational information systems

Research Reports

Visit our Staff for further details.

Logistics lorries

Optimisation

Optimisation is concerned with the maximisation or minimisation of functions of many variables.  It is a multi-disciplinary field, having numerous applications in Management Science, Operational Research, Finance, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering and the Physical Sciences. The Optimisation group in Lancaster is one of the largest in Europe, with over fifteen full-time faculty, in addition to post-docs and PhD students. 

We have particular strengths in the following areas:

  • Exact Algorithms for Combinatorial, Global and Robust Optimisation
  • Meta-Heuristics and Hyper-Heuristics
  • Computing Efficient Frontiers for Multi-Objective Combinatorial Problems
  • Computing Near-Optimal Policies for Stochastic Dynamic Problems
  • Applications in Logistics, Healthcare, Finance, Telecommunications and Data Analytics.

Current Projects

  • Professor Kevin GlazebrookDr Christopher Kirkbride and Dr Peter Jacko work on optimal policies for stochastic resource-allocation problems.  The classical approach to solving such problems, stochastic dynamic programming, becomes computationally infeasible once the system reaches a certain level of complexity. Current research focuses on alternative methods, based for example on Lagrangian relaxation, to develop near-optimal policies.
  • Professor Konstantinos G ZografosEmeritus Professor Richard EgleseDr Burak Boyaci and Dr Franklin Djeumou Fomeni are mainly interested in developing models and algorithms for practical problems which arise in the context of logistics, such as vehicle routing, facility location or airline scheduling problems. They are particularly interested in applications in which environmental considerations are an important factor.
  • Professor Adam Letchford and Dr Trivikram Dokka work on exact solution methods and bounding procedures for hard optimisation problems. They work mainly on discrete (aka combinatorial) problems, but also occasionally on continuous (aka global) problems. The solution methods are typically based on linear, quadratic or semidefinite programming.
  • Dr Michael Epitropakis and Dr Ahmed Kheiri research into the development, analysis and implementation of heuristic techniques for solving complex real-life optimisation problems. Dr Epitropakis is interested especially in meta-heuristics for problems at the interface between OR and Computer Science.  Dr Keiri is interested in meta-heuristics for combinatorial optimisation problems.
  • Professor Matthias Ehrgott and Dr Alexander Engau work mainly on multi-objective optimisation problems.  Professor Ehrgott is interested particularly in algorithms for producing sets of efficient solutions for combinatorial problems, and applications in medicine and transportation. Dr Engau works on applications in OR, economics, finance, engineering and data analytics.
  • Dr Marc Goerigk's research focuses on algorithms and concepts for robust optimization, particularly for discrete problems. His main application interests lie in rail transportation problems and disaster management.
  • Dr Guglielmo Lulli’s research interests focus on both deterministic and stochastic optimization, particularly as applied to ground and air transportation, energy and bio-computational problems

Members of the group have been on the editorial boards of journals such as Computational Optimization and ApplicationsComputers & Operations ResearchDiscrete OptimizationEURO Journal of Computational OptimizationJournal of Global OptimizationMathematical ProgrammingNaval Research Logistics and Operations Research.

If you have any queries you wish to discuss, please contact Dr Guglielmo Lulli. If you would like to apply for a PhD, please see our PhD admissions page.

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

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Simulation and Stochastic Modelling

Simulation and Stochastic Modelling are very flexible modelling approaches, and are capable of incorporating uncertainty. Therefore, they are among the most widely used techniques in Operational Research and Management Science.

To gain insight into the behaviour of complex systems, and thereby improve decision-making, we can model individual components of the system, often incorporating randomness via probability distributions. Discrete event simulation, agent-based simulation and system dynamics link the components together in different ways to build models of the whole system. The overall behaviour of the system then emerges from the interactions between the elements, as the sum becomes more than its parts.

For some systems, insights can be gained through direct mathematical analysis without the need to resort to simulation, for example by using stochastic modelling techniques such as queueing theory, renewal theory, Markov chains and Markov processes.   

The interplay between the modelling approaches is also very important. The development of simulation models can be guided by insights derived from stochastic models and the generality of stochastic models can be tested against simulated test cases. They can also  be used in combination in multi-fidelity modelling, where a simulation model is often the high-fidelity but computationally expensive and stochastic modelling provides a less expensive low-fidelity model. 

Current Research Areas 
Conceptual modelling in discrete, continuous, and agent-based simulations. Validation and calibration of simulation models on empirical data
Simulations as a tool to evaluate planning solutions and algorithms Simulations as a tool to further develop our understanding of complex dynamical systems
Behaviour of time-dependent queues Queueing networks, especially as applied to health care.
Infinite-server queues, and their application in health care Using simulation to support information systems design
Simulation optimisation and agent-based simulation methodology and applications Multi-fidelity modelling



Collaborations with other departments and with industry are encouraged. For example, some recent and current PhD projects are part of the STOR-i Doctoral Training Centre which is a joint venture between the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Management Science. These projects usually have supervisors in both departments and an industrial partner.

If you have any queries you wish to discuss, please contact Dr Roger BrooksIf you would like to apply for a PhD, please see our PhD programme.

Visit our Staff for further details.

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Transport and Logistics

We have an excellent reputation for strong research impact in the field of transport and logistics through our dedicated Centre for Transport and Logistics (CENTRAL). This Centre explores an interdisciplinary approach to producing cutting-edge sustainable solutions to logistical and transportation issues. The research focuses on two main projects known as OR-MASTER and OptiFrame.

Centre for Transport and Logistics