Maria Vlasiou has been appointed as the upcoming Director of LNMB - the Dutch Network on the Mathematics of Operations Research. As of 1 January 2024, she will follow in the footsteps of current interim Director, Prof. Tjark Vredeveld. Vlasiou expresses her genuine excitement at the prospect of leading this renowned organisation in the coming years.
LNMB, with a history spanning over 40 years, has played a transformative role in the Dutch Operations Research (OR) community. It has fostered close collaboration among OR researchers and practitioners, both nationally and internationally. Vlasiou emphasises that these strong collaborative ties have been instrumental in the flourishing of Dutch OR on the global stage, complementing the excellent tertiary education in the field.
Reflecting on LNMB's impact, Vlasiou sees it as a national treasure, not just for the local community but also for expats. LNMB facilitates integration for foreign students by providing a platform to meet OR researchers during courses and annual conferences. It also serves as a valuable resource for foreign faculty, offering visibility and connections within the OR community.
For Vlasiou, LNMB holds a personal significance as well. She credits LNMB with guiding her to the Netherlands. During her BSc studies, as an Erasmus exchange student in Germany, she found it challenging to access information on OR groups and research opportunities. It was a chance encounter with an LNMB student that changed everything. LNMB's website became a valuable resource, providing details on all OR research groups, leaders, and their research lines in the Netherlands. This information ultimately led Vlasiou to pursue her PhD in the country.
As the new LNMB Director, Vlasiou outlines her plans for the organization. She recognises the pandemic's impact on students' sense of community and aims to restore and enhance this aspect. Her focus includes encouraging supervisors to emphasize the value of LNMB to their students and involving OR practitioners more actively in the network.
Vlasiou acknowledges the unwavering support of the University of Twente (UT) during her appointment process. UT, which administered LNMB from 2007 to 2019, has endorsed Vlasiou's directorship enthusiastically. She expresses gratitude for the swift and positive response from UT at all administrative levels, highlighting the university's commitment to LNMB.
In conclusion, Maria Vlasiou looks forward to her role as LNMB Director, expressing her gratitude for the support of UT and her excitement for the journey ahead. With a commitment to strengthening LNMB's community bonds and fostering collaboration with OR practitioners, Vlasiou is poised to lead LNMB into a new era of excellence.