Tilburg University researchers Koen Peters and Hein Fleuren have received the DCHI jury award for Best Humanitarian Innovation 2018 for their contribution to the optimization tool Optimus by the World Food Programme.
The Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation (DCHI) organized the award in collaboration with the Spindle to give special recognition to outstanding innovations in the humanitarian sector. The top 8 nominees were in the running for both a Public Award and the Jury Award. During the DCHI Annual Event on 2 October, the public voted for Can’t Wait to Learn by Warchild Holland as the winner of the Public Award. And on 11 October during the Partos Innovation Festival, the Jury Award was presented to Optimus, by the World Food Programme.
A game changer for WFP, the aptly named optimization tool ‘Optimus’ serves as a great example and reminder of how data science can have a considerable impact on humanitarian assistance, according to DCHI. DCHI brings together governmental actors, knowledge institutes, academia, businesses, and humanitarian organizations in the Netherlands to develop innovative solutions to humanitarian challenges.Tilburg University Professor of Operations Research Hein Fleuren and PhD candidate Koen Peters, who works at WFP, played an important role in the development of Optimus.
Optimus simultaneously examines the composition of the food basket for humanitarian assistance as well as the sourcing and delivery plans to maximize beneficiary outcomes (e.g. dietary diversity, nutrient content and caloric intake), given operational constraints (e.g. lead times and funding). Using advanced analytics, Optimus accesses, integrates and analyzes data from dozens of sources, enabling WFP to make better decisions and continually improve operations.
“We really hope that the DCHI-award helps in getting attention for using data science in Humanitarian Innovation,” said Hein Fleuren. “We think many other NGO’s can benefit from this field which, in the end, will help many beneficaries.”
See the DCHI website for a the full news release.
Source: Website Tilburg University, 16 October 2018.