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Personal profile

Contact Details

Email:j.s.edwards@aston.ac.uk  
Phone: +44(0)121 204 5033
Room: ABS255

Biography

I began my academic career studying mathematics, but realised that even "applied maths" was not applied enough. After a PhD in operational research, which included some experience in the travel industry, I have spent my entire academic career at Aston University. In addition to becoming a Professor, this has included several administrative roles, most notably Executive Dean of Aston Business School.

Research Interests

My interest has always been in how people use models and systems to help them do things. For many years I have studied the development and uses of various types of system in management and administration.

My current interests cover three overlapping themes: Knowledge Management, Business Processes and Decision Support.  Major strands within this are:

  • The synergy between knowledge management, analytics (especially Artificial Intelligence) and big data. Although the technical side of Artificial Intelligence has advanced considerably, the management issues are still very similar to those I have been investigating since the 1980s. I am especially interested in the problems that arise when implementing and maintaining real-world systems. These include avoiding/reducing bias in analytics systems and the explainability of recommendations made by AI systems.

  • The relationship between knowledge management and risk management, both quantitative approaches to risk (projects in banking and financial services) and more qualitative ones, often involving a risk register (project in an NHS Trust).
  • Looking at processes and systems for knowledge creation, transfer, organising, sharing, storage, and use or re-use.  This is the area of my contribution to the NESTA Creative Credits evaluation project.  A further project involved combining simulation with knowledge-based systems to help improve maintenance processes in manufacturing at the Ford Motor Company.

Employment

  • 2012 - Emeritus Professor, Operations and Information Management Group, Aston Business School.
  • 2011-2012 Executive Dean, Aston Business School, Aston University.
  • 2002-date Professor of Operational Research and Systems, Aston Business School, Aston University.
  • 2008-2010 Deputy Dean, Aston Business School, Aston University. 
  • 2001-2002 Reader in Operational Research and Systems, Aston Business School, Aston University.
  • 1991-2001 Senior Lecturer in Operational Research and Systems, Aston Business School, Aston University.
  • 1978-1991 Lecturer in Operational Research and Systems, Management Centre (now Aston Business School), Aston University.
  • 1976-1977 Project Officer, Personnel and Training Department, Thomas Cook Group, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough.

Qualifications

  • PhD Operational Research, Cambridge University, 1980
  • M.A., Cambridge University, 1977
  • B.A., Cambridge University, 1973 

Teaching Activity

Supervision of PhD and DBA students

I have taught many subjects in the past, ranging from basic quantitive methods through business processes and knowledge management to advanced information systems. However, in my current part-time post I concentrate on research.

External Connections and Partnerships

I maintain contact with many former colleagues and students. At present I am working on research with Prof Yanqing Duan (UK), Prof Guangming Cao (UAE) and Dr Eduardo Rodriguez (Canada/Colombia). I am also writing a book on "Knowledge and Communities" with collaborators from the USA and Aston's Prof Alexeis Garcia-Perez.

Membership of Professional Bodies

Fellow of the Operational Research Society (FORS)

Fellow of the Higher Education Association (FHEA)

Association for Information Systems

UK Association for Information Systems

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Contributions to the Methodology of Manpower Planning, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 1980

BA, Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jul 1973

Keywords

  • HD28 Management. Industrial Management
  • Z665 Library Science. Information Science
  • HD61 Risk Management

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