Friday, 28 July 2017

Looking for pro bono volunteers to work with Rainbow Trust Childrens Charity

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

Project summary:

To evaluate the impact of special sibling support for brothers and sisters of children who are life-threatened or terminally ill. The volunteer will help shape and define the remit of the evaluation
The volunteer will work with the Manchester Sibling Support Worker and National Manager to answer the questions above and produce a report to measure the impact of this 5 year project. This evaluation will be submitted to the Big Lottery Fund as part of a final grant report in March 2018.
Time commitment: 10-15 Days over the duration i.e. 2 days a month approximately
Location: Manchester (OL8 4QQ) /Leatherhead Surrey (KT22)

Please read projectscope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to by Friday 11th August.

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives:
OUR VISION:  One day all terminally ill children and their families will have access to a Rainbow Trust Carer.
MISSION:  Rainbow Trust provides emotional and practical support for families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.
OUR USP: We offer the whole family individually tailored, high quality support for as long as they need it.

Main activities of the organisation
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity supports families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness. For these families, life is unthinkably tough. Their lives are shattered into a million pieces as they struggle to cope with the possibility that their child might die.
Rainbow Trust Family support workers provide individually tailored support to help families navigate through this period of great stress and uncertainty.   Each family is designated their own Family Support Worker who provides emotional support to help them face each day, as  well as helping with the practicalities of taking care of the sick child and siblings, helping with house work and transporting families to hospital.   We provide help however and whenever a family needs it most.
Some families are supported a few times each week, some call us as and when they feel in need, and everything in between. From supporting in the home, at hospital when children receive treatment, to being there for the whole family if a child dies.

For more info about Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity please visit:
For further information about the Pro Bono scheme please visit:

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Updated useful software list

Simply a signpost to free software, to cater for your every need...

The list is ever-evolving and we would welcome further contributions or to hear about any tools or software you have successfully used in the past. Ideally the software should be free to use. Please email any suggestions to

A big thank you to those who have recently sent in suggestions and made important contributions to the list.
Tool Link Category
Apache OFBiz supply chain management
Apache Zeppelin Data visualisation
ArangoDB Graph Database
ArcGIS Geospatial / Mapping software
Awesome R Various: Data manipulation; Database management; Graphical displays; Machine learning; Bayesian…
Bizagi Simulation
Blender 3D Modeling and animation
Cassandra Database
ChartsBin Geospatial / Mapping software
CMPL Optimisation
CODAP Data visualisation
D3 Data visualisation
Data Wrapper Data visualisation
DREAM Simulation
Dygraphs Data visualisation
Elements Process Mapping
Exhibit Data visualisation
Flare Data visualisation
Free MS Windows images Operating System
GDAL Geospatial / Mapping software
Gephi Data visualisation
GLPK Optimisation
GNU Octave Programming language
GRASS Geospatial / Mapping software
Gretl Econometrics / Time-Series Analysis
Insight Maker Simulation
Interactive Data Visualizations for the Web Data visualisation
Programming environment
Java Programming language
jORLib Optimisation
Kibana Data visualisation
Leaflet Data visualisation
LibreOffice Calc Spreadsheet analysis
ManPy Simulation
Mathics Computer Algebra System
MongoDB Database
Neo4J Graph Database
NetLogo Agent-based simulation
Odoo supply chain management
Open Door Logistics Studio routing & scheduling
Open Refine Data Cleansing
OpenBoxes supply chain management
OpenSolver Optimisation
Openstreetmap Geospatial / Mapping software
Pandas Statistical analysis
PostGis Database (spatial)
PostGres Database
Prefuse Data visualisation
PSPP Statistical analysis
PULP Optimisation
Pyomo Optimisation
PyPy Programming language
Python Programming language
QGIS Geospatial / Mapping software
QuickCode Programming language
R Statistical analysis
Raw Data visualisation
Rstudio Statistical analysis
Ruby Programming language
Ruby on Rails App Builder
Sage Computer Algebra System
SQLlite Database
SimPy Simulation
SymPy Computer Algebra System
TileMill Geospatial / Mapping software
Visualise Free Data visualisation
Vizable Data visualisation
Watchmaker Framework Optimisation 
Xmind Mind mapping
yWorks Graph/Diagram Drawing

Monday, 24 July 2017

Pro Bono OR volunteers required for new project with The OR Society

The OR Society

Project summary:
The volunteer is required to suggest a risk model of membership renewal. Using data from the existing membership database, the results of previous studies and discussions with staff and members, the main factors of risk may be identified. The output of the study could include:
  • -         A list of likely risk factors, and the different personas subject to these risks
  • -         Suggestions for extra data to be included on the membership database
  • -         Suggestions on how each risk can be mitigated
  • -         Some quantification of the size of the risk due to the various factors
  • -       Possibly a flow model that could be used to investigate the most effective way of reducing drop-out
  • -    Recommendations for a contact strategy to improve renewal. This should account for different risk groups, their preferences and likely success rates, costs and feasibility.

Time commitment: approx. 10-14 days

Location: London or Birmingham for 2-3 initial meetings, followed by working remotely.

Please read projectscope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to by Monday 7th August.

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives:
The charitable purposes of the OR Society include the advancement of knowledge and interest in OR, as well as the advancement of education in OR.

Main activities of the organisation
ORS activities include (but not limited to): conferences and events, training courses, journals, publications and website, pro bono OR, OR in Schools, membership activity. The OR Society aims to have a vibrant and active membership drawn from diverse areas; and be well-run, provide excellent services and be adequately and sustainably resourced.

For further information about the scheme please visit:

Friday, 21 July 2017

OR in the Third Sector SIG are hosting an Impact Measurement session

Involved in, interested in, or intrigued by the third sector?

We have an event that may be for you if you’re an O.R professional looking to explore methodology and utilise your professional skills to help the third sector. The event also welcomes anyone from charitable organisations looking to begin, or advance, your journey on impact measurement. We can provide the knowledge and skills to help you develop your own practical understanding of the topics and simplify the decision making process. 

Pro Bono O.R. have teamed up with the economics charity, Pro Bono Economics, and charity think tank and consultancy New Philanthropy Capital, to provide a half day workshop on the topic of Impact Measurement. Impact measurement can differ in perspective, approach and purpose. O.R impact measurement can help an organisation decide what is relevant, efficient and most effective.

Speakers include Mark Graham, Pro Bono Economics, and Rosie McLeod, New Philanthropy Capital, who will be hosting an interactive session based on participants’ interests. The afternoon session will include talks from David Wrigley, Orvis Consulting, Jamie Douglas, DWP, and Sam Mackay and John Newman, Apteligen; who will be feeding back the lessons they’ve learnt from Pro Bono O.R projects looking at impact measurement, and the experience of receiving Pro Bono O.R. support in a large regional charity.

When? Wednesday 25th October 
Time? 1:30pm-5pm
Where? Central London

To sign up to the event, for free, then head to: 

For any queries, please contact Hope Meadows (

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Join our third sector committee today!

Third Sector SIG

Special Interest Groups' activities are directed towards the practical and theoretical development of O.R. and the promotion of wider knowledge and appreciation of O.R.
The third sector SIG is looking for a new Chair as well as committee members. Role descriptions are below.

You must be a member to take on the position of Chair. The Chair shall ensure committee meetings are called and held in accordance with the Special Interest Group constitution and consult with committee members to establish and confirm an agenda for each committee meeting. The Chair shall officiate and conduct committee meetings, provide leadership and ensure committee members are aware of their obligations and that the committee complies with its responsibilities. The Chair shall ensure there is sufficient time during the committee meeting to fully discuss agenda items, and ensure that discussion on agenda items is on topic, productive and professional. The Chair shall ensure minutes are complete and accurate, retained, included and reviewed at the next committee meeting. The Chair shall develop and maintain the vision and strategy for the SIG.
The Chair shall officiate and conduct SIG meetings, ensuring speakers keep to time and working with committee members to facilitate networking among attendees. Following a SIG meeting, the Chair shall write (email) to the speaker(s) to formally thank them for their time and contribution.
Committee Members
Committee members shall provide support for organising SIG meetings by suggesting suitable topics, identifying speakers, sourcing suitable venues and helping to promote the event. It may be appropriate for a member of the committee to be the meeting organiser for a SIG meeting. It will be their responsibility, with the support of the rest of the committee, to book the venue and refreshments, invite and brief the speaker(s), organise publicity, manage attendance registration and provide a brief for the Chair to officiate the meeting. A member of the committee shall volunteer, or be nominated, to provide a full write up of the SIG meeting which will be used for publication in Inside O.R. A summary of the SIG meeting should also be posted on the blog on the Special Interest Group’s page of the OR Society website no later than one week following the SIG meeting.

The committee typically meet three/four times a year (mostly virtually) and the SIG would plan to put on three/four events per year. For further information about Special Interest Groups and the Third Sector SIG, please visit:

The third sector SIG has been running successfully for many years hosting a number of well attended events. If you have an interest in Operational Research and the third sector please get in touch with to find out more. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A call for volunteers: 'Be a volunteer language editor - be an OR hero'

Here's a little ditty written by Dr James Bleach
Dr James Bleach is a Senior Analyst who applies analytical and modelling techniques to generate high quality, objective and robust evidence that informs UK Government policy makers and enables them to make better decisions. In addition to being the Founder and Managing Editor of the ōbex project, James, whose academic background is in Astrophysics, has also been a member of the Editorial Board for the science journal Open Physics since 2003, and a Language Editor for Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics since 2013.

Opportunity to support the ōbex project – a free language editing service for operational researchers from non-English speaking regions seeking publication in an English language journal.

Full article:
Be a volunteer language editor - be an OR hero

On the 8th September 2016 I was called a hero by a relative stranger who also requested that he have his photograph taken with me - it has to be said, this has not been a very common occurrence in my over 13 year career in Operational Research. 

It was the final day of the Operational Research Society Annual Conference (OR58), and the reason for my temporary celebrity was the language editing support I had arranged for the author of one of the papers published in the conference Keynote Papers Handbook, for which I was the Managing Editor.

I was struck by how appreciative the author was of the support he had been given. In fact a number of contributors to the handbook had expressed their thanks for the language editing support my editorial team had provided, and over the course of the conference I discussed with them the issues they sometimes faced getting published in English language journals.

Following the conference, I decided it was time to apply my editorial experience more extensively within the field of Operational Research – and so in October 2016, with the support of a high calibre editorial team, the ōbex project was officially launched (

the ōbex project is a free language editing service for operational researchers from non-English speaking regions seeking publication in an English language journal. The word ōbex is Latin for barrier (obstacle, hurdle, etc.) – and so is used to represent the barrier to publication that the English language can be for some operational researchers.

I am now seeking to expand the editorial team by recruiting a number of additional volunteer language editors to support the project.
The Skills volunteer language editors require are:
    -Excellent attention to detail – such as being able to correct mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and ensuring consistency of terminology.
     -Delivering to deadlines.
Volunteer language editors are not required to be highly experienced operational researchers as these are language editing rather than technical editing roles.
Time commitment:
An initial estimate is between 1 and 4 manuscripts per year (each typically between 5 and 15 pages). Initially the number of manuscripts may be towards the lower end –  and may even remain so depending on the long term level of engagement from the international community and the size of the expanded editorial team.  

Volunteer language editors are expected to complete the review of a manuscript within 5-10 days of accepting the task, depending on the author's requirements. 

If you are interested in being considered for one of these volunteer roles please send an email with a short statement containing your background and any relevant experience (just a paragraph or two will a suffice) to Dr James Bleach, the managing editor of the ōbex project, at the following address:

And also please Cc the project Gmail address:

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Updated free software/analytical tools available to O.R professionals

As Pro Bono O.R continues to help third sector organisations, our volunteers endlessly solve diverse problems using a range of software and analytical tools. We have compiled an evolving list of software tools which help to solve different types of problem. These tools are useful, not only for those working on our third sector projects, but also for O.R professionals looking to enhance their O.R. toolkit.

These software tools cover a variety of analytical modelling techniques, including: statistical analysis, data mining, system dynamics and forecasting. The list so far includes over 65 tools across a range of areas including:

·         Statistical analysis (e.g. PSPP, R)
·         Data visualisation (e.g. D3, Gephi, Vizable)
·         Geospatial and mapping (e.g. QGIS, GDAL, MapsData)
·         Programming languages (e.g. Python, Ruby)
·         Databases (e.g. PostGres, SQLlilte, ArangoDB)
·         Optimisation (e.g. Pyomo, OpenSolver)
·         Simulation (e.g. SimPy, Insight Maker)
·         Supply Chain (e.g. OpenBoxes, Odoo)

The list is ever-evolving and we would welcome further contributions or to hear about any tools or software you have successfully used in the past. Ideally the software should be free to use. Please email any suggestions to

If you want to find out more about volunteering for a project, please visit for more info.

NEW Pro Bono OR Project: ChaplaincyPlus

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