Stewart Robinson

Dean, School of Business and Economics


Professor of Management Science

Immediate Past President of the Operational Research Society

School of Business and Economics
Loughborough University
Loughborough, Leicestershire
LE11 3TU


Tel: +44 (0)1509 222157





Follow at:
Second edition of ‘Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use’ now available.
Open Access
Operational Research from Taylorism to Terabytes: A Research Agenda for the Analytics Age. European Journal of Operational Research.
Can Involving Clients in Simulation Studies Help them Solve their Future Problems? A Transfer of Learning Experiment. European Journal of Operational Research.
Latest Papers

Key Performance Indicators for Successful Simulation Projects. Journal of the Operational Research Society.

An Experimental Investigation into the Role of Simulation Models in Generating Insights. European Journal of Operational Research.


A Brief Career History

Education:  BSc and PhD in Management Science (Operational Research) from Lancaster University
Fellow of the Operational Research Society

My career started in the management services group of a major UK footwear retailer. I have been working in the field of computer simulation since 1986, initially working as a simulation consultant with AT&T Istel (now Lanner Group) developers of the Witness simulation software. There I supported the use of simulation in companies throughout Europe and the rest of the world, developing and using models, supporting others in their modelling efforts and providing training in simulation software and methodology.

In 1992 I joined the academic staff at Aston Business School in Birmingham teaching in the related fields of operational research, operations management and information management, and researching in computer simulation and modelling. In 1998 I moved to Warwick Business School where I taught in the area of operational research and performed research in simulation and modelling.  In July 2011 I took up the position of Professor of Management Science at Loughborough University, School of Business and Economics; Associate Dean Research (2012-2015) and Dean from August 2015.

Research Activities


Click here for a full list of publications.




The focus of my research is on the practice of simulation, looking at how people go about developing and using simulation models and investigating how the practice of simulation can be improved. As a result my interests lie in the methodology and methods employed in simulation studies. The focus of my research is in the use of the discrete-event simulation approach largely for business applications, but I also have an interest in wider simulation methods, particularly system dynamics and agent-based modelling.

Nine key areas of interest are:

Simulation Practice: approaches to modelling, particularly in the business field. Three modes of practice have been identified: software engineering, process of social change and facilitation. Related publications. Book: Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use.  


Video Lecture: Simple Models for a Complex World

Simulation Conceptual Modelling: conceptual modelling is the abstraction of a simulation model from a real world problem.  Research is being carried out to develop this important field in simulation.  Related publications. Book: Conceptual Modeling for Discrete-Event Simulation.



Conceptual Modelling Template


Download the conceptual modelling template

Simulation Output Analysis: analysis of the output from real simulation models. Methods developed/implemented for determining the warm-up period (using statistical process control), the run-length of a simulation and for detecting shifts in the mean of a steady-state simulation. Related publications.  An EPSRC funded grant is being carried out in collaboration with SIMUL8 Corporation.  This is investigating the potential for automating the analysis of simulation output.  See details of the AutoSimOA project.

Facilitated Modelling with Simulation: rapid use of approximate simulations for learning about systems and improving them.  I have recently completed an EPSRC funded project on integrating simulation with lean (SLIM), which utilised this approach in lean improvement events in a health care context.  The resulting methodology is known as SimLean (follow this link for free handbook on SimLean).  Related publications.

Watch the OR Society Thought Leadership Webinar: Simulation, Lean and Lean Simulation

Comparison of Discrete-Event Simulation and System Dynamics: comparing model building and model use in discrete-event simulation and system dynamics. Related publications.

Agent-Based Simulation: for modelling social networks, supply chains and service operations. Related publications.

Verification and Validation of Simulation Models: practices and procedures for determining the confidence that can be placed in a simulation model. Related publications.

The Quality of Operational Research Interventions: viewing quality as more than just the validity of the model, but the confidence that is placed in the overall intervention. Related publications.

Modelling Human Decision-Making and Interaction in Simulations: using artificial intelligence methods (rule based systems and neural networks) to represent human-decision makers in a simulation. Included in this is the use of a simulation as a gaming environment in which example decisions are built up for training the artificial intelligence systems. Collaborative research with Ford Motor Company and Lanner Group, funded by the EPSRC. Grant 1 completed September 2002 (details). Grant 2 commenced October 2002 (details). Related publications.

Research on Analytics

The ORATER (Operational Research and Analytics Training, Education & Research) project is a two year research study into the fit of Operational Research in UK universities with the developing field of analytics.  The aim is to identify the training, education and research needs for analytics.  The project is joint funded by the Operational Research Society and Loughborough University School of Business and Economics.  The work is being carried out with Professor Neil Doherty and Michael Mortenson.

Open access paper: Operational Research from Taylorism to Terabytes: A Research Agenda for the Analytics Age. European Journal of Operational Research.





The book Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use (Palgrave) (Robinson, 2014) provides a guide to performing simulation projects.


The book Conceptual Modeling for Discrete-Event Simulation (Taylor & Francis) provides a state-of-the-art review of the field.

Research Supervision

Applications from students interested in pursuing a higher degree by research in simulation are welcome. This might be in the area of discrete-event simulation, system dynamics, agent-based modelling or a mixture of these approaches. Ideal candidates will have a background in business, mathematics/statistics, engineering or computing and have a keen interest in the successful application of simulation to real world problems. An emphasis on the practice of simulation is of particular interest.

For further information on the doctoral programme at the School of Business and Economics click here.

Current PhD Students

Michael Mortenson: Is OR in UK universities fit-for-purpose for the developing field of analytics? The ORATER project.

Niniet Arvitrida: Modelling supply chain competition with agent-based simulation

Lily Huajie Jin: Disease modelling of schizophrenia (external supervision at Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London)

Mohammed Ibrahim-Shire: System dynamics modelling of safety in hospital pharmacies (supervising with Dr Thomas Jun, Design School)


Naoum Tsioptsias: What can we learn from wrong models? (supervising with Dr Antuela Tako)

Previous PhD Students

Teaching Activities

My teaching has covered all levels from undergraduate, through specialist Masters to MBA.  Modules which I have taught are:

·         Introductory OR and quantitative methods (Undergraduate)

·         Simulation (Masters and Undergraduate)

·         System dynamics (Masters)

·         OR Methodology (Masters)

·         Techniques of OR (Masters and Undergraduate)

·         OR and modelling (MBA core modules)

I have also supervised many Masters projects, which often involve the application of modelling in an organisation.

Consulting Activities

Simulation Modelling: the development and use of simulation models for manufacturing and service applications. Experienced in the use of the Witness and Simul8 simulation packages.

Simulation Modelling Support: support to those developing their own simulation models. Advice on all aspects of a simulation modelling exercise - defining the model, data collection and analysis, model development, model validation and experimentation.

Simulation Software Selection: helping organisations to select the right simulation software for their needs.

Developing a Simulation Strategy: advice on selecting the right approach to simulation modelling in order to best meet an organisation's simulation needs.

Simulation Training: one to three day seminars and training courses in performing simulation projects, covering all aspects of simulation methodology from defining the problem, through model development, data collection and analysis, model testing, experimentation and implementation.

Model Reviews: independent verification and validation of simulation models.

Other Professional Activities

President of the Operational Research Society (2014-15)

Advisory Board and co-founder of the Operational Research Society Simulation Workshop: a biennial conference.  See SW14 - April 2014 – for the last conference.

Co-founder of the Journal of Simulation

Fellow of the Operational Research Society (FORS)

A Bit More about Me

As a Christian I am involved with my local church Bidford-on-Avon Baptist Church.

I enjoy sport of most kinds, but particularly long distance running.  Although largely retired from competitive events, here are some previous records:

10km (6.2 miles): 40 mins 03 secs (I did do it a bit quicker 25 years ago!)

Half Marathon (13.1 miles): 1 hour 24 mins 9 secs

Marathon (26.2 miles): 3 hours 15 mins

I am a supporter of AFC Wimbledon who are in Football League 2.