Professor Gilbert Laporte, formerly of HEC Montreal business school, has won one of the Canada Council Killam Prizes for 2021. The Killam Prize recognises and celebrates five of the most inspiring scholars in Canada.

Laporte was recognised for his work and thought leadership in the field of engineering. A prize was also awarded to an academic in each of the fields of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and health sciences. The prize is worth $100,000 to each academic.

"I am honoured and delighted to have received this year's Killam Prize in Engineering. Operational research lies at the intersection of several disciplines, including mathematics, computer science, management and engineering - it supports decision making in a wide variety of areas, namely in transportation and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, environment and risk management,” Professor Laporte said.

“I find it rewarding and highly motivating that my research can be applied in such a way to help improve people's lives directly. My teaching and research career spanned 45 years in Canada and I am proud to now be able to pursue my research further as a faculty member at the School of Management of the University of Bath,” he said.

The award acknowledged Laporte’s research helped improve the lives of people in Canada in multiple ways. He developed solutions for problems including the routing and scheduling of delivery vehicles, the promotion of green transportation practices, the adoption of electric vehicles for transporting goods, and disability transport.

His research also included the creation of electoral maps, the stationing of ambulance fleets, the construction of work schedules and the distribution of community health services.

Laporte joined the School of Management in 2020 from HEC Montréal, where he was a professor of operational research and the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Distribution Management. His career in academia spans four decades, and he is globally recognised for his work developing mathematical tools to aid decision-making for a range of optimisation problems.

He is a member of the Information, Decisions and Operations division and the Centre for Smart Warehousing and Logistics Systems, where he will continue to advance understanding in the areas of combinatorial optimisation, transportation, and operational research.