Operational Research Society

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Operational Research Society
Formation 1948
Type Learned society
Headquarters Birmingham
Key people
Gavin Blackett
Website www.theorsociety.com

The Operational Research Society or The OR Society is an international learned society in the field of operational research (O.R.), 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 O.R. 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. Its charitable objectives are:

  • the advancement of knowledge and interest in O.R.
  • the advancement of education in O.R.

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 secretary, and up to five members of the General Council.[5]

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

Membership and accreditation[edit]

Membership of the OR Society is open to anybody who is or has been in a profession directly connected with the Society's aims. Members of the OR society may apply for accreditation.


There are three types of subscription-based membership:

  • Student Members: For those in full-time education
  • Full Member: For members in employment
  • Retired/unwaged

In addition the Board may elect Honorary Members. Honorary Members are not entitled to vote or to ay other privileges, rights, or liabilities of paying members.


Accreditation indicates that the accreditee has been judged by the OR Society to have reached a certain level of professional development and O.R. capability. There are four OR Society accreditation grades:

  • Candidate Associate of the OR Society (CandORS): This grade is for those studying for a degree with a substantial O.R. component or within two years of starting their career in O.R. It signifies the accreditee has relevant qualifications and/or experience, and intends to achieve higher accreditation.
  • Associate of the OR Society (AORS): This grade signifies that the accreditee has at least two years successful experience of working in O.R. and with appropriate educational background.
  • Associate Fellow of the OR Society (AFORS): This grade signifies that the accreditee has a successful track record in O.R. extending over at least five years. Admission to the category of Associate Fellow indicates a successful track record in, and/or a significant contribution to, O.R.
  • Fellow of the OR Society (FORS): This grade signifies that the accreditee has a significant track record of achievement extending over ten years or more in O.R. admission to the grade of Fellow indicates a very high level of achievement in, and/or a major contribution to O.R.

Full details on accreditation can be found on the OR Society website.


The OR 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 Palgrave MacMillan.

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 "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,[6] 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.

Special Interest Groups[edit]

The OR Society has several special interest groups (not based on regions) which organise meeting on specialist topics and allow members – and others interested in the subject – to exchange ideas with those who are working in that specialist topic. The OR Society currently has special interest groups in the following subject areas:

  • Community O.R. Network (to facilitate the practice of using O.R. to support community groups)
  • Complex Systems Discussion Group
  • Criminal Justice
  • Decision Analysis
  • Defence
  • Health & Social Services
  • Independent Consultants' Network
  • Information Systems
  • Local Search Technique Group
  • Mathematical Programming
  • O.R. and Strategy
  • O.R. for Developing Countries
  • O.R. in the Third Sector (to support those working or planning to work in charities, Non-Government Organisations and other social enterprises and volunteer groups)
  • Problem Structuring Methods
  • Simulation
  • SD+ (Connecting System Dynamics more directly with O.R.)

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):

  • International Federation of Operational Research Societies, an umbrella organisation for 45 plus O.R. societies from different countries across the world.
  • Association of European Operational Research Societies,> (a regional grouping within IFORS).
  • The Council for Mathematical Sciences. This council provides advice to government, education funding committees (such as ESPRC) on mathematical matters including education and policy, and brings together mathematicians with stakeholders in mathematics to explore issues and solutions. The council includes The O.R. Society, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, The Royal Statistical Society, The London Mathematical Society and the Edinburgh Mathematical Society.


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 internet and social media[edit]

The OR Society maintains a number of web sites for different audiences. These include:

  • The main website.
  • Learn about O.R.: devised to support the Society's "O.R. in Schools" initiative, this site contains information on what O.R. is, how it can help organisations, and how to get a career in O.R. The site aims to encourage the study of O.R. by providing teachers with resources to help teach O.R. topics. This site also contains a downloadable video featuring O.R. being used to solve real-world problems.
  • The Science of Better, which aims to provide the business community with a clear understanding of O.R. The site explains what O.R. it, how powerful it can be, and how it can help the business community.
  • The OR Society has pages/accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to allow users to share and discuss O.R. and society news and issues.

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. ^ OR Society_Constitution: www.theorsociety.com/constitution
  6. ^ "KIM2013 Knowledge and Information Management Conference". The OR Society. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 

External links[edit]