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Martin Utley and Sonya Crowe win OR Society Goodeve Medal

17 December 2015

Goodeve 2014

Alongside co-authors Peter Bennett and Maren Daraktchiev of the Department of Health (DH), Martin Utley and Sonya Crowe of CORU were presented with the OR Society’s Goodeve Medal on 26 November.

The award was made in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory or practice of OR published in the Journal of the OR Society (JORS) in 2014. The winning paper “Use of modelling to inform public health policy: a case study on the blood-borne transmission of variant-CJD” was based on one of the research projects CORU has taken on as part of the responsive facility we provide to DH to support Health Protection policy.  

The citation for the award read:

“Since the identification of variant Creutzfeldt–Jacob (mad cow) disease in the late 1980s, the possibility that this disease might be passed on via blood transfusion in humans has presented challenging policy questions for Government and blood services in the UK. This study is an excellent example of effective collaboration between Operational Researchers, expert clinicians and decision makers in predicting the future impact of vCJD infections and to evaluate the likely impact of counter measures to alleviate the spread. The challenge to OR was to develop (relatively simple) models using realistic assumptions to predict future infections from very few observations, when the transmission rate is low and the development of the disease is long term – in fact this study could be labelled ‘OR with Small Data’! The model’s predictions conformed to the observed data and enabled certain assumed rates of infection to be dismissed as unrealistic. The model was endorsed by the clinicians and the likely future scenarios generated were then used by the decision makers to inform government policy.”

For further information, please contact a.wilshere@ucl.ac.uk or 020 76794509.