The EJOR, with an Impact Factor of 6.4, was founded in 1977 and is widely considered one of the most reputable journals in operational research and management science. Each year the EJOR award three prizes: best survey paper; best application paper; and best theory/methodology.
Douglas’ paper, titled ‘Building disaster preparedness and response capacity in humanitarian supply chains using the Social Vulnerability Index’ has been awarded the 2023 Best Application Paper. This prize’s main purpose is to distinguish the best papers published in EJOR based on the scientific quality of the paper, the originality of the paper and the relevance to operational research.
‘I couldn't be happier to have been awarded this prize’, said Alem. ‘This shows that our research is relevant to the humanitarian logistics and operational research communities and our results have real impact on societal problems, in this case, related to Brazilian disasters. The prize is particularly important because it helps us disseminate the first steps of our research on vulnerability and decision-making in disasters, which has been little explored in the literature so far, but it is of utmost importance in mitigating people’s suffering in a disaster aftermath’.
The award for Best Application Paper has also to demonstrate how a practical problem was solved, which generally entails having a well-defined case-study. In the world of humanitarian disaster response, mainstream policy-making often does not take into account population vulnerability. In Alem’s paper, the team used Brazilian case study data to propose a simple but effective way to prioritise more vulnerable areas in the allocation of disaster resources using a standard social vulnerability index. Their results brought about key insights to be used to re-think the design of humanitarian supply chains when population vulnerability matters.