Fleur Theulen wins the Jan Hemelrijk Award 2023

Six high quality theses were nominated for the Jan Hemelrijk award 2023. Their topics ranged from Statistics, to Operations Research, and Data Science.

The prize, given by the Vereniging voor Statistiek en Operations Research (VVSOR), considered the following criteria of assessment:

  • a critical approach and an original contribution to the subject;
  • ability to state and apply theoretical concepts from statistics and/or operations research in an inventive way;
  • the practical applicability of the findings and results;
  • a clear line of reasoning and communication skills;
  • in the thesis the candidate’s own research contribution should be clearly noticeable.

Fleur’s thesis stood clearly out in all these aspects. Her thesis is titled “Solving Large Maximum Covering Location Problems with a GRASP Heuristic”, and the subtitle is “Case-study for stroke facility allocation in Vietnam”. She wrote the thesis at the Tilburg University and ABW (Analytics for a Better World Institute) under main supervision of Prof. Dr. Goos Kant. The research of the thesis was originated by the World Bank and ABW for improving health care facilities in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam is willing to invest in new small health centers but does not know what will be good locations for these centers. This problem could be represented by a maximum covering problem known in Operations Research. However, the size of the Vietnam case goes beyond existing solution techniques. Fleur adapted and combined several heuristics and made smart programming implementations to get good solutions in short computation times. The resulting algorithm is used nowadays to solve similar problems in other countries.

Official announcement can be found here.

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