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INESC TEC researchers receive research and teaching awards

Four INESC TEC researchers in the field of industrial management engineering received research and teaching awards by the Portuguese Association of Operational Research (APDIO) and by the School of Engineering of the University of Minho (EEUM), respectively.

23rd November 2021

Fábio Neves-Moreira and Beatriz Oliveira received the APDIO awards for best scientific article and best PhD thesis, in that order.

The researcher from the Centre for Industrial Engineering and Management received the Augusto Queirós Novais award for the best scientific article, granted by this Association. The research, proposing the optimisation of algorithms to solve an integrated problem of batch sizing and transportation of food products by a Portuguese retailer, was published in the scientific journal Omega in 2019. “It is an extremely complex problem, quite difficult to solve”, explained Fábio Neves-Moreira.

The proposal by INESC TEC's researcher enabled the analysis of several scenarios towards reducing production and transportation costs. The research focused on the actual case of hypermarket butcheries from a Portuguese retailer, in order to put operational research at the service of the business sector. “We are optimising the production and transportation of perishable products, contributing to the reduction of food waste and carbon emissions”, concluded Fábio Neves-Moreira. The article combines several optimisation techniques and “depicts the difficulties faced when applying these approaches to problems with significant dimensions”, he added.

The award-winning study was carried out as part of his PhD thesis, and in collaboration with the Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche sur les Reseaux d'Entreprise, la Logistique et le Transport, at the University of Montréal, Canada. Upon seeing his work acknowledged, the researcher said that he felt “a sense of accomplishment”.

The researcher Beatriz Oliveira also received an award by the Portuguese Operational Research Association, namely the Best PhD Thesis award. Her work focused on the development of quantitative tools for decision support in car rental business. The research carried out at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) addressed fleet management and the cost of services provided.

“Companies depend on operational efficiency to be successful”, said the researcher. As to car rental companies, the “market is highly competitive and driven by an uncertain and price--sensitive demand”, she stated. In the field of shared mobility, the integration between operational fleet management and revenue management “brings significant advantages”, concluded Beatriz Oliveira. The researcher's work also included the development of an integrated framework considering both aspects under study, which was applied to a real scenario. The collaboration with a real company “required the development of innovative methods to address issues in cases of uncertainty”, she concluded. The prize was awarded ex aequo to Filipe Rodrigues, from the University of Aveiro.

INESC TEC researcher Elsa Silva received the Diploma of Pedagogical Merit by the School of Engineering of the University of Minho (EEUM) – during the ceremony of EEUM’s 46th anniversary, in Guimarães.

This diploma aims to publicly acknowledge the employees of that institution who stand out for their skills in teaching activities. Elsa Silva is a researcher at INESC TEC and visiting scholar at the Department of Production and Systems at EEUM since 2011. “In my classes, I try to motivate students using examples based on knowledge obtained during practical activities within the scope of R&D projects with different industries, focused on several research domains”, she said.

The award comprehends the 2019/2020 school year and reflects the assessment made by students. The researcher is pleased with the Diploma “since it represents the positive outlook of my students regarding my performance as a teacher", she concluded.

The work developed by Elsa Silva and Luís Dias (also a CEGI researcher) was also included in the list of best posters by APDIO. Elsa Silva was selected for her work The integrated 2D-CVRPTW with cargo loading and balance constraints. As to Luís Dias, the researcher was selected for the poster Optimizing monitoring equipment investment for an asset portfolio with multiple-failure modes.

The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC, UP-FEUP, UMinho and FCT.