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The University of Southampton

Business matters for students' projects

Published: 20 March 2003

The team that helped a top Premiership football club to improve crowd safety, planned intensive care bed requirements for a hospital in East Anglia and helped Customs crack down on tobacco smuggling is now looking for fresh challenges.

The University of Southampton has just appointed a new Industrial Liaison Officer to help the School of Management and Faculty of Mathematical Studies build stronger links with industry.

Dr Ian Rowley will encourage companies to come up with three-month projects that can be tackled by MSc students applying techniques of operational research or management sciences.

He said: "The goal may be to increase efficiency, reduce costs, develop strategy, manage demand or improve standards or service, for example, and there are benefits for both parties. The organisation has a well-trained student helping to solve a relevant problem, while the University is given the opportunity to train its students in applying operational research/management sciences to real-life problems.

"The students are closely supervised by academic staff from the University, many of whom are internationally recognised for their research and who have experience in these techniques."

Companies are required to contribute towards supporting the student during the project period although no formal salary or consultancy fee is paid. Southampton students have previously worked for organisations as varied as Tesco, HSBC, Littlewoods Retail and the World Health Organisation.

Examples of past project work include:

  • Improving the distribution of catalogues for marketing
  • Planning intensive care bed requirements
  • Modelling the allocation of customers to stores for internet home shopping
  • Planning an appropriate mix of support ships for the navy
  • Developing a balanced scorecard for air traffic services
  • Analysing the causes of poor train punctuality
  • Forecasting the demand for package holidays
  • Improving supply chain effectiveness
  • Modelling the spread of HIV in a developing country.

Related Staff Member

Notes for editors

  1. A digital image of Ian Rowley is available from Sarah Watts.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.
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