ASOR Rising Star Award

The Australian Society for Operations Research (ASOR) has established an annual Rising Star Award (RSA). The objectives of RSA are to:

  • acknowledge and encourage promising early career researchers in Operations Research
  • help promote the advances to Operations Research due to early career researcher
  • improve the competitiveness of starting Operations Researchers in their career paths both in industry and academia

Researchers may be eligible to be nominated if they have been awarded a PhD within five years, or if they have submitted their PhD thesis and are awaiting examination. Exceptions to the five year limit can be made to allow for significant interruptions to research development, for example, parental duties, illness or career change. Nominations for the award can be made by any member of ASOR other than the nominee. Letters of nomination should not exceed two A4 pages and should be accompanied by the nominee’s list of publications and a brief CV. In addition, documented contributions to the practice of OR in industry (e.g., testimonials from end users as to the nominated candidate’s specific contributions, evidence of impact, etc) may also be attached.

The 2015 recipient of the RSA was Dr Hassan Hijazi from Data61/ANU, the 2016 recipient was Dr Sondoss El-Sawah from UNSW, and the 2017 recipient was Dr Ali Eshragh.

Nominations for 2018 will open mid-year 2018.

The winner of the 2018 RSA will be presented with an ASOR medal, and receive a prize from ASOR of A$1000.

Citations for Previous ASOR Rising Star Award Winners

Dr Ali Eshragh - 2017 Recipient

Dr Ali Eshragh received his Bachelor degree in industrial engineering at Sharif University of Technology as the top ranked student in 2001. He continued his graduate studies at Sharif University and completed his Master degree majoring in 'Statistical Modelling and Stochastic Optimization' in 2004. In 2008, Ali was awarded the prestigious scholarship Endeavour-IPRS to start his PhD majoring in Probabilistic Operations Research at the University of South Australia. During his PhD research, he developed novel random walk algorithms for the Hamiltonian cycle problem and analysed the underlying stochastic processes. Ali's PhD thesis was nominated as one of the three finalists for the SA-Science Excellence Awards in the category of ‘PhD Research Excellence – Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering’ in 2011. For this, he was awarded an honourable mention by the South Australian Government. 

Following submission of his PhD thesis, he was appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at The University of Adelaide. He worked on an ARC-funded research project in which he developed new statistical models to find an optimal experimental design of a continuous-time Markovian population model. In 2013, after successfully completing his postdoctoral research project, he was appointed as a Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. In 2014, Ali accepted a continuing lecturing position in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the University of Newcastle where he has just been promoted to senior lecturer.

Ali has a passion for both teaching and research. Recently, he was ranked second and highly commended for the ‘Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning – Team’ award by the Faculty of Science and Technology at The University of Newcastle. Ali publishes regularly in leading OR journals and actively collaborates with several outstanding national and international researchers including Catherine Greenhill from UNSW,  Konstantin Avrachenkov from INRIA in France, Martin Dyer from the University of Leeds in UK and Michael Mahoney from the University of California-Berkeley in the US.

Ali has been involved in several national and international industrial projects since 2000. More recently, in 2014, he has been invited as a Chief Investigator in the successful ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre on Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation with the total value of $2,119,872. Currently, he is running a demand forecasting project with the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company and a cheese supply chain-logistics project with CSIRO

Dr Sondoss Elsawah - 2016 Recipient

Sondoss Elsawah has had an academic career and passionate interest in OR which has progressed through a BSc, MSc and PhDin OR and Decision Science. Her PhD was recognized by the Australian Water Association (AWA) Award for best postgraduate water research. Sondoss' research focuses on the development of multi-method OR methodologies, and the application of these methodologies in new decision contexts where the potential of OR has not been fully exploited yet. For example, in her postdoc at the ANU, Sondoss has expanded on her PhD work in an ARC-funded project to develop a multi-method OR methodology which combines the use of cognitive mapping, software engineering tools, and agent-based modelling to incorporate stakeholder's views into planning water and groundwater systems. Sondoss was invited to present this work at a number of national events, such as the keynote speech at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training Summer School. In her current post at the Capability Systems Centre at UNSW Canberra, Sondoss' work involves the integration of multiple modelling methods to provide robust, client-oriented decision support tools, and conducting experimental studies to examine ways to improve model-based learning and teaching. Sondoss is a chief investigator in an international research grant by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to identify core modelling practices to teach the next generation of modellers. Sondoss teaches various courses that are related to OR, such as simulation-based modelling, systems thinking, and system dynamics modelling. She has delivered training courses on systems thinking and complex problem solving for organisations such as the Australian Department of Defence. Since 2015, Sondoss has been a member of the executive committee of the ASOR-ACT Chapter. Sondoss introduced the ASOR-ACT Chapter Student Award, an annual tradition to promote research excellence in OR and provide a forum for students to share their research projects. She is a member of the executive committee of the Australian/NZ Modelling and Simulation Society (MSSANZ). Sondoss plays an active role in organizing MODSIM, including leading conference streams, managing conference finance, and registration.