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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J500938/1
Title: Maths TCC Follow-on-Fund: A National Taught Course Centre in Operational Research (NATCOR): 2011-2016
Principal Investigator: Letchford, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Gondzio, Dr J Scarf, Professor PA Burke, Professor EK
Petrovic, Professor S Podinovski, Professor V Potts, Professor CN
Griffiths, Professor J Salhi, Professor S Quigley, Professor J
Date, Dr P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Operational Research Society
Department: Management Science
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Training Schools (Non-FEC)-NR1
Starts: 01 October 2011 Ends: 30 September 2016 Value (£): 150,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mathematical Aspects of OR
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Jun 2011 Mathematical Sciences Taught Course Centres Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The concern to broaden and deepen UK doctoral study in the mathematical sciences was felt with particular force within the Operational Research (OR) community. As a consequence, NATCOR has enjoyed a very strong level of community support since its foundation in 2006. NATCOR's choice of a residential course model for delivery in part reflected a belief in its effectiveness in fully engaging participants and in part stemmed from an aim to build a larger and more strongly connected community of PhD students in OR to the longer term benefit of UK research in the subject. This latter aim has been strikingly fulfilled and the sense of a strong UK PhD community in OR is now palpable, with a newly established student conference effectively a NATCOR spin-off. The decision to offer five week-long courses meant that we could offer a curriculum sufficiently comprehensive in its coverage of the mathematics of OR. The choice of a two-year delivery cycle for the curriculum was dictated by a practical concern to have a sufficiently large student population (ie, of first and second year PhD students) to guarantee viability. The feedback we have received from students, supervisors, the wider community and recently from the EPSRC-commissioned DTZ reports suggest strongly that all of these basic design decisions have been vindicated as have other choices concerning NATCOR's structure for management and administration. We do not propose to make changes to these basic elements of NATCOR for the upcoming five-year period. Further, NATCOR will continue to profit from the support of both the OR Society and the Smith Institute for the period 2011-2016. Recent steps to make NATCOR more effective have included (i) the introduction of one-day workshops to complement two of our core courses and broaden their scope, (ii) an extension of the management team (Executive Committee) which now includes representatives of ten universities, (iii) engagement with the IMA to raise awareness of NATCOR more broadly, (iv) the commissioning of a new professionally designed website to more effectively promote course participation and facilitate course registration. Over the period 2011-2016 we plan to further strengthen NATCOR (inter alia) by (i) mitigating the risk of a downturn in student numbers by recruiting from as wide a student population as possible, (ii) conducting a major review of course content, (iii) facilitating formal assessment of students, (iv) continuing to subject all provision to rigorous evaluation, (v) continuing to bear down on costs such that the provision can be offered over the next five years with fee levels which are little changed from those at present, (v) evaluating NATCOR's impact on students' doctoral education and career choices and (vi) working toward sustainability post 2016.
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Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk