Postdoc/PhD candidate Design of real-time scheduling and clustering tools

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
July 19 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The postdoc/PhD position “Design of real-time scheduling and clustering tools for logistics operations in education” (1.0 fte) is part of the research project ‘Lean in secondary education' of the Department of Operations. The Department of Operations is one of Europe's largest research groups in the fields of Operations Research, Management Science and Operations Management. The department offers a high-level research environment along the whole range of Operations, both with respect to content and methodology.

The aim of the research project “Lean in secondary education” is to design tailored logistics and lean/agile concepts and tools in an education context to enable customisation in the learning process in a cost-efficient and pupil-effective way. Schools are now at a tipping point to embrace the educational system innovation of personalized learning. In a personalized learning system each pupil gets at the right time the right type of education for each subject in order to avoid wasted time in the learning process. In such a system, all coordination of activities and decision making with regard to individual learning needs of pupils will be made in the school in an interaction between teacher and pupil. A paradigm shift is required in the organisation of the logistics operations of the core educational processes (i.e., learning, teaching and assessment) to achieve a high quality situation where any pupil at any time based on their own learning speed, level and ambition can acquire the right part of a specific course in a cost-efficient way. It is the expectation that through flexible scheduling, group composition, teacher deployment and working methods personalized learning can be facilitated. In industry, concepts such as lean and responsive production have been developed in order to accommodate customer-specific engineering, production and control. However, these concepts cannot directly be translated to an educational context.

The postdoc/PhD candidate will work on the design of new analytical and simulation models and solution algorithms to support real-time decision making for coordination of activities such as clustering learning demands of pupils, scheduling of activities and allocation of activities to teachers. An important aspect of the designed models is to provide the right amount of support for all pupils, flexibility in the system, a leveled workload for teachers and transparency in the organisation of activities. The design of new real-time batching, work-load balancing and scheduling techniques will be at the heart of many new developments in literature as it requires insights in the characteristics of operations, and attributes (e.g., learning demand, availability) of individual pupils and teachers which will be updated real-time. We expect that models designed will add to the knowledgebases in the fields of logistics in education, leagile in service organization and service operations management in general.

In this project the postdoc/PhD candidate will work together with permanent staff, graduate students, schools in secondary education, service organisations and companies. A large group of schools and other external partners provides the opportunity for interfacing research and valorisation activities. We will build in this project on earlier studies of junior researchers and graduate students that show that knowledge from the field of logistics and operations management can be used in designing new concepts for addressing planning and control of educational processes.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess