Operational Research(ers) in development: Growing a new generation of operational researchers

  • I Durbach University of Cape Town
  • L Scott
  • J Nyirenda
  • S Silal


This paper explores the theme of training operational research (OR) practitioners in South Africa by critically evaluating a Masters program in Operational Research in Development (ORD), launched in 2005 at the University of Cape Town. This program was specifically focused on applying OR to the problems of the developing world in general and Africa in particular. We describe the program and review the practical work undertaken by students participating in the program. Topics range widely across domains including health (antimalarial drug resistance); poverty (food banking); governance (NGO management structures and monitoring of local government performance) and sustainable livelihoods (spaza shop operations). We use the review to highlight strengths and weaknesses of the program, as well as challenges faced in the OR education in South Africa at a postgraduate level.
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