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Professor Paul Harper


Professor Paul Harper Position: Professor of Operational Research Email:
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 76841
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74199
Extension: 76841
Location: M/1.36

Research Interests

Modelling of healthcare systems and resource management

Modelling for the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases

Stochastic modelling and Simulation methods

Data Mining Techniques

Research Group

Operational Research



Postgraduate - Autumn Semester
MAT001 – OR Methods

MAT003 – Communicating and Research Skills

Postgraduate - Spring Semester
MAT009 – Healthcare Modelling

Administrative Duties

Head of the Operational Research Group

Director for Innovation and Engagement

Director, Health Modelling Centre Cymru (hmc²)

Director of the MSc in OR and Applied Statistics

Director of the MSc in OR, Applied Statistics and Risk

WIMCS Statistics/OR Cluster coordinator

Member of WIMCS Research Committee

School coordinator for Educational Outreach

Chair, MSc Board of Studies

Chair, MSc Advisory Board

Chair, MSc Examination Board

Member of School Research Committee

Member of School Learning and Teaching Committe

Member of School REF Committee

Personal Website

Professor Paul Harper's Personal Website.




The majority of my research has direct impact on healthcare services and public health policy.  My work, and that of colleagues, is helping to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of NHS care delivery through mathematical modelling, resulting in radically improved healthcare systems at policy, commissioning and operational levels.   The underpinning research captures the dynamic and stochastic nature of healthcare processes, which translates into the delivery of user-friendly tools for use by NHS staff themselves to better operate and deploy resources.  Recently funding by Anuerin Bevan University Health Board has led to the establishment of a mathematical modelling unit; the largest of it’s kind in the UK between an Operational Research group and the NHS.   

Particular research contributions include stochastic models for integrated healthcare resource systems (hospital bed capacities, theatre scheduling and workforce planning), novel research on stochastic facility location problems, multi-level simulation, research at the intersection of game theory and queueing theory, conditional phase-type modelling and combined data mining and simulation methodologies.

Over the last 6 years I have been a named research investigator on grant income of in excess of £4.5mI am an Editor-in-Chief of Health Systems (Palgrave) ( and Director of hmc2, a pan-Wales centre bringing together research expertise in mathematical and computational modelling applied to health (  I have won the OR Society’s Goodeve Medal for the best paper published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society, and given numerous plenaries and chaired various conferencesincluding OR50 and the 2011 ORAHS International conference (

Please refer to my personal website for further details including research papers, grant awards, and resources such as videos of my research talks.

Postgraduate Students

PhD students


  • Angelico Fetta:  Modelling Adolescent Smoking Behaviours with Social Network Analysis
  • Elizabeth Rowse: Operating Room Planning and Scheduling
  • Robert Shone: Markov Decision Processes
  • Marion Penn: Developing a Multi-Methodological Approach to Hospital Operating Theatre Scheduling

Recently Completed

  • Leanne Smith (2013): Modelling Emergency Medical Services (2013)
  • Julie Vile (2013): Time-Dependent Stochastic Modelling for Predicting Demand and Scheduling of Emergency Medical Services
  • Joe Viana (2011): The Development of a Combined Simulation Approach in a Sexual Health Context: Combining Discrete Event and System Dynamics Simulation to Form a Composite Model.
  • Shivam Desai (2011): Modelling Social Care Needs of Older People in Hampshire
  • Dileep Da Silva (2011):  Dental Public Health Needs for Sri Lanka.
  • Michael Thorwarth (2011): A Simulation-based Decision Support Model to improve Healthcare Facilities Performance – elaborated on an Irish Emergency Department
  • Evandro Leite (2009): Decision Trees
  • Honora Smith (2008). Locating Sustainable Community Health Facilities.
  • Jennifer Sykes (2007): Healthcare Behavioural Modelling. 2007.
  • Naomi Powell (2006): Simulation and Optimisation of Healthcare Workforce Need.

Post-Doctoral Research Students



  • Andre Costa
  • Evandro Leite




2010 -

Director, hmc² (Health Modelling Centre Cymru)

2009 -

Head of the Operational Research Group, Cardiff University

2008 -

Cluster leader for Operational Research and Statistics, WIMCS.

2007 -

WIMCS Research Chair in Operational Research, Cardiff University

2006 - 07

Senior Lecturer in Operational Research, University of Southampton

2001 - 06

Lecturer in Operational Research, University of Southampton

1997 - 02

Research Fellow, Institute of Modelling for Healthcare, Univ. of Southampton

Academic Qualifications


PG Certificate in Education

University of Southampton


Ph.D. Mathematics

University of Southampton


M.Sc. Operational Research

University of Southampton


B.Sc. Mathematics and Statistics

University of Bath