Jessica Rodríguez-Pereira (Ramón y Cajal researcher at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), Burcu Balçık (Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Ozyegin, Turkey), Marie-Ève Rancourt (Professor in the Department of Logistics and Operations Management at HEC Montréal, Canada) and Gilbert Laporte (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Decision Sciences at HEC Montréal, Canada) take the award for Best applied contribution in Operations Research for their paper “A Cost-Sharing Mechanism for Multi-Country Partnerships in Disaster Preparedness,” published in Production and Operations Management.
This study, which the committee describes as “an interesting application of operations research in humanitarian partnership,” focuses on multinational cooperation to aid in disaster preparedness in the Caribbean region by means of a joint emergency supplies network. “Given the growing frequency and severity of natural disasters throughout the world, collaborative practices can provide an efficient way for countries to share risks and resources. For this kind of collaboration to succeed, its cost must be equitably shared among members and be to the benefit of each,” says Jessica Rodríguez-Pereira, whose research team enjoyed the collaboration of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
“Together we have developed a method that equitably allocates the collaboration budget among the participating countries,” she explains. “Our method takes its principles from the world of insurance, and factors in the characteristics of all member countries in terms of risk level and economic standing.” The award-winning mechanism makes it possible to derive and analyze various “fair and transparent” cost-sharing schemes, in the words of the researcher, which can be used to support collaboration and negotiation processes.