Professor’s lifetime achievement award

Professor Stewart Robinson, President of the OR Society, and Professor Robert Fildes.

09 December 2014

A Lancaster Forecasting expert has been honoured by the world’s leading operational research association.

, Distinguished Professor of Management Science in the Department of Management Science, has been awarded the Beale Medal, the Operational Research Society’s highest accolade.

The award was presented at the Society’s annual Awards Ceremony in London last week.

The award recognises the continuous contribution over many years by one person to the theory, practice or philosophy of Operational Research (OR) in the UK.

As a discipline, OR deals with the application of advanced analytical techniques to enhance managerial decision making.

Professor Fildes earned the award for his outstanding contribution to the development of OR – most notably in the area of forecasting, in which he is an international expert.

Much of his work has been on research into business forecasting, but more recently he has also focused on climate forecasting, where his research has shown that the large simulation models used in developing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s view of global warming could be improved by integrating them with simple statistical models. He is a past president of the International Institute of Forecasting and was co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting in 1981 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985. He took up a Professorial post at Lancaster University in 1990 and established the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, which has become perhaps the largest research unit dedicated to business forecasting internationally.

Professor Fildes said: “Working with colleagues at the Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting, I believe we’ve made a major contribution to improving forecasting in practice.

“What I’ve tried to do throughout my career is to develop novel approaches that integrate forecasting and OR, taking into account the many practical constraints organisations face. I’ve also found it a lot of fun to study the mix of statistics and psychology.

“Forecasting really matters to us all – from whether your local supermarket has the product you need, to climate change and how fast and how far we need to respond.”

Professor Fildes has published extensively in top academic journals and is the author or editor of six books, including the Sage Handbook of Forecasting.

Professor Fildes is the third Lancaster University Professor to receive the Beale Medal. Professor Kevin Glazebrook received the award in 2013 and Emeritus Professor Peter Checkland received it in 2006.

One of the founder departments of Lancaster University in 1964, the Department of Management Science is one of the longest established of its type in Europe, and has an international reputation as a centre of excellence.