ASOR has two annual awards, the ASOR Ren Potts Medal and the ASOR Rising Star Award. These are presently awarded annually. Nominations by ASOR members are judged by a panel that is headed by Prof. Jerzy Filar and compromised of previous Ren Potts medal winners and/or ASOR National Presidents.

ASOR Ren Potts Medal

The Ren Potts Medal of the Australian Society for Operations research is intended to recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions to theory or practice of OR in Australia. It is a national award.

Past Recipients


Prof Leonid Churilov


Prof Phil Howlett (UniSA),
Prof Erhan Kozan (QUT)

2009 Professor Santosh Kumar, Melbourne

2007 Professor Pra Murthy, University of Queensland
Professor Charles Pearce, University of Adelaide

2005 Professor Jerzy Filar, University of South Australia

1997 Dr Bruce Craven, University of Melbourne

History of the Award

At the ASOR National council meeting held on June 5, 1994, it was agreed that ASOR will establish a national prize for outstanding contribution in OR. The award may be presented for a major development in theory, application of OR in an industry or for any other reason considered worthy by the ASOR National Council. The award can be given to an individual or a group of persons, or to an organization. The award will be presented at the National conference. However, ASOR National Council members will not be considered for the award during their term as council members. The applicant must have significantly contributed to the growth/development of OR in theory or applications.

Award Criteria

The criteria for the award will be considered satisfied if the applicant's claim is judged by the committee satisfying one or more of the following statements:

  • the application of OR has resulted (or will result) in substantial benefits in the organization
  • the applicant has demonstrated successful and consistent promotion of OR in industry and/or the wider community.
  • the theory developed by the applicant opens a possible field for research.
  • the work of the applicant will have an international impact in the OR community, or its users. This can be in the form of a software, a text book, or a research monograph. Supervision of a substantial number of students for a higher degree by research in OR (Master or Doctorate) will also be a possible consideration to satisfy the requirements for the ASOR award.

In all cases supporting evidence will be required. The latter may be in the form of publications or a letter from the Head of the organization that has been benefited by the OR application. If the claim is for savings, it should be substantiated.

It is not possible to develop criteria common to all possible applications. However, each application will be reviewed by the evaluation committee and relevant additional information in terms of referees reports and management evaluations will be sought as appropriate. Theory or an application of OR which draws the national/international attention is considered worthy of the award. In all other cases, it is desirable to develop some quantitative measures which may be considered by the society as worthy of the ASOR award. For this purpose the following possible scenarios are suggested which may be reviewed by the council from time to time.

  1. For claim based on an application a measure of success can be:
    1. by resulting savings
    2. by impact on the performance of an organization
  2. For successful and consistent promotion of OR in Industry and/or Commerce:
    1. record of performance
    2. support of the relevant organization
  3. For claim based on the theory it may be measured in the usual way such as:
    1. publications in OR or related journals and their impact
    2. supervision which resulted in a research degree award on an OR topic, to at least five students who went on to successful careers
    3. an OR text book or a major software used in at least 5 educational/ commercial institutions.
    4. research monographs - which describes material from journals in a usable form by the wider community.
    5. some combination of the above deemed sufficient by the committee.

Nomination Format and Key Dates

A nomination for the Ren Potts Medal is a document of one to four pages describing the case for the nomination and providing and/or citing evidence supporting this case. A selection panel will consider each case submitted. The selection panel for 2017 is Jerzy Filar, Hussein Abbass and Simon Dunstall.

Nominations should be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nominations for 2017 now open, and will remain open until 15 November 2017.

The award winner for 2017 will be announced at the ASOR/MODSIM/DORS National Conference in December 2017.

Citations for Previous Ren Potts Award Winners

Leonid Churilov - recipient of the Ren Potts award in 2016

At the time of this award in late 2016, Professor Leonid Churilov is the Head, Statistics and Decision Analysis, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Honorary Professor at Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health (The University of Melbourne) and Adjunct Professor, School of Science (Mathematical Sciences) at RMIT University.

Professor Churilov is an internationally recognized leader in the applications of Operations Research to health and clinical care systems. He has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications in the area of modelling methodology and health care applications, including those published in the Journal of Operations Management, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Nature Biotechnology; a research monograph on Value-Focused Process Engineering; and an edited volume on simulation modelling for management decision making. He is a recipient of numerous ARC and NHMRC grants, and a Victoria Fellowship from the State Government of Victoria. Professor Churilov has supervised numerous PhD students and taught OR, statistics, and decision modelling at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Professor Churilov is an Associate Editor of Operations Research for Health Care and an editorial board member for five other journals. He is a board member of ORAHS-EURO Working Group in Applications of Operations Research to Health Systems and a co-founding member of - The Australian Health Care Modelling and Systems Design Collaboration.

The impact of modelling work by Professor Churilov is recognized by awards from ASOR, the Operations Research Society of Japan, and by the INFORMS Decision Analysis Society Practice Finalist Award. The results of his work featured in the international media, and were used in stroke public awareness campaigns by the Australian Stroke Foundation and in the USA by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Professor Churilov has contributed OR and statistical modelling expertise to the development of an implantable Strentrode device for a bionic spine.

Erhan Kozan - joint recipient of the Ren Potts award in 2015

Professor Erhan Kozan is adjunct professor of operations research in the School of Mathematical Science, Queensland University of Technology and honorary professor in the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, Australia.

He has had over 40 years industrial, managerial, teaching and research experience in the areas of operations research. He has acted as principal investigator for over 30 long-term industrial projects, and over 20 competitive national and international research grants since 1996 in the area of health, finance, mining, car and truck production, railways, seaports transportation, logistics and supply chain.

He is the author of a book, ten software packages and over 200 journal papers and conference papers. He is the editor/associate editor of seven journals and works as a referee of over 40 international journals. He has supervised over 35 postgraduate research students.

He is the former president of the Asia Pacific Industrial Engineering and Management Society (APIEMS) and the Australian Society for Operations Research. He is an expert in disciplinary research across decision science and scheduling theory. His current research focuses on the area of healthcare process optimisation, train scheduling and mine optimisation.

Phil Howlett - joint recipient of the Ren Potts award in 2015

Emeritus Professor Phil Howlett has made a sustained and outstanding contribution to both the theory and practice of Operations Research. He has published three books and more than 100 journal papers, won approximately $6m in competitive funding from the Australian Research Council and the Rail Cooperative Research Centre and trained 13 PhD students.

Howlett led the Scheduling and Control Group at the University of South Australia (1993- 2011), which invented and developed a suite of rail technology systems with Sydney-based company TTG Transportation Technology. For example, on-board driver advice system Energymiser helps trains to arrive on time while minimising energy use. It has been used around the world and has won industry awards in both Australia and the UK. With colleague Peter Pudney, Howlett designed driving strategies for solar-powered racing cars, leading to Aurora 101 winning the 1999 World Solar Challenge.

Howlett has also made substantial contributions to the development of stochastic optimal control policies for water storage in a system of connected dams, and to generation of synthetic rainfall data. More broadly he has worked on operator approximation, signal processing and inversion of matrix and operator pencils.

Howlett has given many years of service to the Australian Mathematical Society via ANZIAM and the Mathematics-in-Industry Study Group.