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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T004002/1
Title: Improving Community Resilience and Sustainability Through Operational Research Capacity Building in Southeast Asia (CREST-OR)
Principal Investigator: Scaparra, Professor MP
Other Investigators:
Zografos, Professor K Kotiadis, Professor K Currie, Dr CSM
Sutanto, Professor J Dinh, Professor N Nguonphan, Dr P
Komarudin, Dr K Perdana, Dr T cong chinh, Mr n
O'Hanley, Professor JR Letchford, Professor A VU, Professor H
CHANSOMPHOU, Dr V Hidayatno, Dr A Onggo, Professor BSS
Nguyen Q., Professor H N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Operational Research Society
Department: Kent Business School
Organisation: University of Kent
Scheme: GCRF (EPSRC)
Starts: 01 April 2020 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 265,127
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mathematical Aspects of OR
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Food and Drink
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Jun 2019 SI GCRF 4 - Maths Research and GCRF 5 - Maths Capability Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Operational Research (OR) has significant potential to contribute to meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and disaster risk management (DRM) objectives of developing countries. However, most ODA countries lack the research capacity to develop and apply relevant OR methodologies.

The CREST-OR project is a collaboration between three of the UK's leading universities in the field of OR - Kent, Lancaster, and Southampton - and prominent universities in four Southeast Asian (SEA) countries - Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia. CREST-OR will establish a long-term UK-SEA partnership to build research capacity in OR methodologies, improve community resilience to natural disasters, and achieve national SDGs and DRM objectives. SEA partners will benefit from advancing their OR research capabilities, and the formation of new institutional links among project partners. UK partners will benefit from increasing knowledge in the application of OR to international development and disaster management challenges. The project will support longstanding initiatives in SEA countries through engagement of policy-makers and practitioners at national and local levels (e.g. emergency response agencies, local authorities, and development NGOs).

CREST-OR will build capacity in the use of OR for solving challenges in four focal areas: disaster management, food security, resilient transport infrastructure and smart cities. These areas were identified with the SEA partners based on existing collaborations within the UK researchers and, most importantly, on development priorities of their respective countries. In SEA countries, rapid economic growth and infrastructural development has not been supported by sufficiently robust planning. Social and environmental priorities have been regularly forfeited, while population growth has intensified development challenges. Climate change is now raising disaster risks and threatening to derail development achievements, with the greatest effect felt by the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society. OR offers a powerful set of tools to support more informed, evidence-based decision-making by government agencies and NGOs to address challenges related to disaster risk and its impact on food supplies, infrastructure and cities development. By building OR research capacity in these areas, CREST-OR will contribute to address several UN SDGs: SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG13 (Climate Action) and Priority-2 (Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance) of the Sendai Framework.

The project will undertake the following capacity building activities:

- Capacity assessments to identify educational and research gaps in the knowledge and use of OR methodologies, especially in relation to the SDGs, and understand the policy landscape in which CREST-OR will operate.

- Three workshops, including: a Scoping Workshop to develop a prioritised list of relevant research projects, which will form the basis of CREST-OR research agenda; an Academic Workshop with specialised research training sessions for SEA researchers at different career stages; a Final Workshop to share developed research project proposals, receive end-user feedback and plan future research strategy.

- Secondment of SEA Early Career Researcher in UK partner universities to develop research proposals, take part in research activites, and receive training in advanced and contextualised OR methods (e.g. simulation, optimisation).

- Short visits of UK academics to SEA institutions to consolidate understanding of local context, run short training workshops, and support the development of OR curricula and research units.

- Attendance of SEA researchers to the UK OR Society annual conference to facilitate their engagement in international debates and integrate them into a wider research community.

- Development of a website for research networking and knowledge exchange.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.kent.ac.uk