New INFORMS Student Team Competition provides unique real-world experience for O.R. and analytics students


Ashley Smith
PR Specialist

INFORMS Student Team Competition provides unique experience for students

CATONSVILLE, MD, March 7, 2017 – Eight student teams from around the world have been selected as finalists in the inaugural INFORMS O.R. and Analytics Student Team Competition. INFORMS, the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics, introduced this new competition to highlight young talent and provide O.R. and analytics students the opportunity to solve the kinds of real-world workplace challenges they will face during their careers.

The eight finalists are (in alphabetical order):

  • Drexel University, US
  • National University of Singapore
  • Ozyegin University, Turkey
  • Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium (team 1)
  • Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium (team 2)
  • University of Cincinnati, US
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, US
  • University of Warwick, Nottingham University, Cardiff University; UK

The student teams were given the same business problem, data sets, and access to software to solve a challenging problem using an O.R. and analytics approach. A panel of industry and academic experts judged written submissions to select the finalists, based on each teams’ use of the full analytics process, from framing the problem to methodology selection, data use, model building, and quantitative analysis.

The 2017 problem challenged the teams to discover why, despite earlier data analysis to the contrary, strains of soybean varieties selected and bred for commercialization are under-performing. By reviewing previous data, students had to identify what different choices could have been made and how that data could have been used to make better decisions.

The problem for the 2017 competition was provided by Syngenta, one of the foremost seed biotech companies in the world and winner of the 2015 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.  "Agriculture is transforming into a data driven business. The INFORMS community is superbly positioned to apply their talents to this industry, as evidenced by this unique student challenge,” said Joseph Byrum, Senior R&D and Strategic Marketing Executive, Syngenta.

As Host Sponsor, Syngenta also provided generous funding to the 2017 competition.  Twelve technology companies offered students complimentary access to their software. 

The finalists will present their solutions to a judging panel at the INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in Las Vegas, NV, on April 2-4, during which the winners will be announced.

For more information about the INFORMS O.R. & Analytics Student Team Competition, visit


With more than 12,500 members from around the globe, INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics.

INFORMS promotes best practices and advances in operations research, management science, and analytics to improve operational processes, decision-making, and outcomes through an array of highly-cited publications, conferences, competitions, networking communities, and professional development services. Visit or @informs.