, ex-president of the IIF and Distinguished Professor of Management Science at Lancaster University Management School, has been awarded the Beale Medal, the Operational Research Society’s highest accolade. The award was presented at the Society’s annual Awards Ceremony in London on 26 November.
The award recognises the continuous contribution over many years by one person to the theory, practice or philosophy of Operational Research (OR) in the UK. As a discipline, OR deals with the application of advanced analytical techniques to enhance managerial decision making and of course forecasting plays a major (sometimes unacknowledged) part in this.
Professor Fildes earned the award for his outstanding contribution to the development of OR – most notably in the area of forecasting, in which he is an international expert.
Much of his work has been on research into business forecasting, with some recent research in global climate models (Validation and forecasting accuracy in models of climate change, International Journal of Forecasting, 27, 968-995). He has been particularly concerned with improving forecasting practice in organisations. Both in his research into organisations and his work through the Centre for Forecasting, he has increasingly highlighted the barriers to change, not least the limitations of forecasting software.
He is a past president of the International Institute of Forecasting and was co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting in 1981 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985. He took up a Professorial post at Lancaster University in 1990 and established the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, which has become possibly the largest research unit dedicated to business forecasting internationally.
Professor Fildes said: “Working with colleagues at the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, I believe we’ve made a major contribution to improving forecasting in practice. What I’ve tried to do throughout my career is to develop novel approaches that integrate forecasting and OR, taking into account the many practical constraints organisations face. I’ve also found it a lot of fun to study the mix of statistics and psychology. The IIF through its symposia around the world has given me this opportunity”.
Professor Fildes has published extensively in top academic journals and is the author or editor of six books, including the Sage Handbook of Forecasting.