Operational Research Society

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Operational Research Society
TypeLearned society
Key people
Gavin Blackett

The Operational Research Society (ORS), also known as The OR Society, is an international learned society in the field of operational research (OR), with more than 2,500 members (2011). It has its headquarters in Birmingham, England.


The OR Society was created in April 1948 as the Operational Research Club, becoming the OR Society in 1953. It is the world's oldest-established learned society catering to the OR profession[1] and one of the largest in the world,[2] with members in 53 countries. A full history of the OR Society can be found on the OR Society website.[3]

Founding members of the OR society included: Charles F. Goodeve, Patrick Blackett, and Charles Tizard.


The OR Society is registered charity number 313713[4] and also a company limited by guarantee (Company number 00663819).[5] Its charitable objectives are:

  • the advancement of knowledge and interest in OR.
  • the advancement of education in OR.

The management of the society is overseen by a General Council, consisting of up to 36 members. Its affairs are managed by a board, consisting of five officers elected by the membership, including the President, the immediate Past President or the President Elect, two vice presidents, an Honorary Treasurer, and up to six members of the General Council.[6]

The current president is John Hopes[7]. Previous presidents have included Sir Owen Wansbrough-Jones, Maurice Kendall, John Giffard, 3rd Earl of Halsbury, George Alfred Barnard, and K. D. Tocher.


The society publishes the Journal of the Operational Research Society, Knowledge Management Research and Practice, Journal of Simulation, European Journal of Information Systems, O.R. Insight, Health Systems, and Inside O.R. (a monthly news magazine). The society's publisher is Taylor & Francis.

Training courses[edit]

The OR Society organises a number of O.R. and Analytics based courses to allow O.R. professionals (and others) to gain appropriate skills for their careers. These courses cover O.R. methodology such as system dynamics, simulation, soft systems, web analytics, data-mining; other useful tools such as VBA and Excel; and consultancy skills. These are generally short courses, between 1 day and two weeks.


The OR Society organises several conferences each year to promote the use of O.R. and for attendees to exchange ideas. These conferences include:

  • The "O.R. Conference" held annually, usually lasting for 3 days and covers all aspects of O.R.
  • The “New To O.R. Conference” (formerly known as The "Young O.R. Conference") held every two years, giving those with 10 or less years experience of working in O.R. an opportunity to meet, present on and discuss different O.R. disciplines. The conference lasts for 3 days and covers all topics in O.R.
  • Several one- to two-day conferences in more specialist areas including, Simulation workshop(s), Knowledge Management Conferences, Intelligent Management Systems in Operations, Analytics Conference. The newest of these is KIM2013,[8] the "Knowledge and Information Management Conference".


The OR society has two sorts of subgroups: Regional Societies and Special Interest Groups.

Regional Societies[edit]

The OR Society has a number of regional societies which enable members to promote O.R. and allow them to build contacts with other operational researchers working in their (or related) area(s) and to expand their knowledge in O.R. The current regional societies include East Midlands, London & South East, Midland, North East, North West, Scotland, South Wales, Southern, Western, Yorkshire & Humberside. These regional societies organise meetings, works visits and other events.

Career Days[edit]

The OR Society organises an annual Career Day for employers to recruit graduates and those who are interested in work in O.R.

Interaction with other bodies[edit]

The OR Society works with a number of other bodies, to achieve common aims, including (amongst others):


To promote and disseminate O.R. knowledge and working practices the OR Society gives awards (medals, prizes and grants). These awards include (but are not limited to):

  • The Beale Medal - for sustained contribution to O.R.
  • The President’s Medal – for the best account of O.R. practice given at the Society’s annual conference
  • The PhD Prize - most distinguished body of research leading to the award of a doctorate in the field of O.R.
  • Scholarships to enable distinguished contributors to present their work at the IFORS Triennial Conference
  • Donald Hicks Scholarships for young researchers and practitioners
  • The May Hicks awards for student projects
  • The Simpson Award for young researchers and practitioners
  • The Lyn Thomas Impact Medal - awarded to the academic or research which best demonstrates novelty and real-world impact, backed up by evidence[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parnell, Gregory S.; Driscoll, Patrick J.; Henderson, Dale L., eds. (2011), Decision Making in Systems Engineering and Management, Wiley Series in Systems Engineering and Management, 81, John Wiley & Sons, p. 2, ISBN 9780470934715, The Operational Research Society (ORS) is the oldest professional society of operations research professionals in the world
  2. ^ As of November 2013, the History page of IFORS lists INFORMS as its largest member society, with approximately 10,000 members, and ORS and the Operations Research Society of Japan second with about 3000 members each. According to Olsson & Sjöstedt (2006), the ORS membership has been approximately 3000 since the 1970s: Olsson, Mats-Olov; Sjöstedt, Gunnar, eds. (2006), Systems Approaches and Their Application: Examples from Sweden, Springer, p. 45, ISBN 9781402023705.
  3. ^ OR Society_History: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Society/SocietyHistory.aspx
  4. ^ Charity Commission of the UK, accessed 2013-11-02.
  5. ^ "OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Companies House. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Society/Constitution.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/News/2018/01/Newsgoodbyeruth.aspx
  8. ^ "KIM2013 Knowledge and Information Management Conference". The OR Society. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  9. ^ "Lyn Thomas Impact Medal - The OR Society". www.theorsociety.com. Retrieved 2019-12-08.

External links[edit]