NSF funding, pro bono analytics, CAP

New NSF program to fund O.R. research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Engineering recently announced a new program to more effectively and efficiently fund research on service and manufacturing enterprises, and foundational operations research topics, called the Service, Manufacturing and Operations Research (SMOR) program.

To create this program, Engineering is merging three existing programs within the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division: Operations Research (OR), Service Enterprise Systems (SES) and Manufacturing Enterprise Systems (MES).

These programs have common underlying disciplinary themes – development of innovative mathematical models, analysis and computational algorithms for decision-making. They differ in the degree to which proposed models are general-purpose and the proposed application domains.

Because of the continued convergence between service and manufacturing, NSF will implement a team-based approach to co-manage the new single program, SMOR. Two program directors will oversee the new program.

A goal of the merger is to simplify proposal preparation for an increasing number of researchers whose work fits more than one of the three programs, which we hope will result in a more efficient proposal review. The total budget for the research will remain the same.

When completed, details of the new SMOR program will be available on the Web at

Like its predecessors, the SMOR program will continue to support two main types of research: (i) innovations in general-purpose methodology related to optimization, stochastic modeling, and decision and game theory; and (ii) research grounded in relevant applications (pertaining to service and manufacturing enterprises) that require the development of novel and customized analytical and computational methodologies.

The CMMI division will begin recruiting soon for one of the two SMOR program director positions. NSF encourages INFORMS members to submit their relevant research proposals to the new program.

INFORMS introduces Pro Bono Analytics

Pro Bono Analytics is a new initiative within INFORMS to match INFORMS members willing to volunteer their time and skills with non-profit organizations that would benefit from advanced analytics and operations research techniques. The Pro Bono Analytics Committee is building strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations to address a wide variety of problems facing society.  The committee is also developing a network of analytics/operations research professionals who are willing to volunteer some of their time for a good cause.

Over the years, members of INFORMS have saved corporations billions of dollars by designing more efficient supply chains for retailers, improving processes and scheduling in healthcare facilities, increasing throughput in manufacturing plants, and many other applications. INFORMS members have also helped with humanitarian relief efforts and mitigated the spread of infectious diseases. Imagine what we could accomplish if more members of INFORMS turned their talents and energy toward solving problems faced by underserved communities or addressing social justice issues.

Pro Bono Analytics is currently rolling out initial projects to test the concept. If you are interested in volunteering or are curious about how analytics/operations research can be used to address problems facing society, visit to sign-up and to follow our progress.

INFORMS launches Associate CAP program

INFORMS recently announced a new certification, the Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP), that does not require work experience. Aimed at analytics professionals just starting their career, the associate certification does require that candidates have an advanced degree in a related program and pass the CAP® exam.

While CAP exams are available via computer-based testing format, INFORMS continues to host paper-and-pencil exams at selected sites, particularly at INFORMS conferences. INFORMS will host paper-and-pencil exams on June 13 in conjunction with the CORS-INFORMS Joint International Meeting in Montreal, on June 24 in conjunction with the MORS Annual Symposium in Alexandria, Va., and on July 28 just prior to the INFORMS Healthcare 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

Analytics cluster at INFORMS Annual Meeting

The Analytics Section of INFORMS will present the “Analytics Cluster of Sessions/Presentations” at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on Nov. 1-4. The cluster encompasses 20 sessions featuring renowned analytics practitioners/leaders.

The sessions/presentations within the cluster cover topics including:

  • application of analytics in multiple industries such as finance, healthcare, transportation, defense and sports;
  • analytics focus areas such as big data, spreadsheets and predictive analytics;
  • panel discussions on understanding the connection between O.R. and analytics, building analytics programs to support organizations’ needs and business analytics in healthcare;
  • winner of the Innovative Applications in Analytics Award; and
  • “Extending the Reach of Certification: The New Associate Certified Analytics Professional”

Analytics Section officers hope to see you at the sessions to learn, celebrate and contribute to discussions on the present, past and future of analytics. More specific information on the schedule of the sessions will be published in the August newsletter. More information about the conference can be found at