Stochastic Operations Research (SOR)

Award for researchers of Operations Research group

Published 23 November 2011

On 15 November 2011, Operations Research group members (including a number of former members) were awarded first prize at the annual American OR Conference on Research for Blood Banks. The group members are the University of Amsterdam’s Nico van Dijk, René Haijema, Jan van der Wal, Nikky Kortbeek and Michiel Janssen.

‘Blood Platelet Optimization for Blood Banks: Theory meets Practice’ was presented by Nico van Dijk at the annual meeting of the American Society for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). It was selected as the first prize winner from 100 submissions for its scientific and real-world contribution. “The work can be seen as a tribute to classical OR in combination with state-of-the-art technology. It has already proven to be practical and seems promising for wider application”.

The research was a collective achievement of the abovementioned OR (Operations Research ) group members working in close cooperation with the Dutch blood bank Sanquin and Incontrol ED.


Donated blood platelets have a limited shelf life and outdating, shortages, age and costs have to be minimised. The research distinguishes three phases over 6 years covering: 

§The development of a new dynamic programming and simulation approach.

§The application to and implementation within Dutch Bloodbanks.

§The inclusion of transportation and hospitals.