Institute for Operational Research

Scope and Content

The archive comprises the minutes and reports of the Basic Research Fund, 1965-70, and the minutes of the Steering Committee, 1967-68; General Purposes Committee (later the IOR Affairs Committee), 1969-73; Industrial Programme Group, 1969; Permanent Staff Group, 1969-71; and the Progress and Planning Committee, 1967-69. It also holds the IOR Newsletter, 1969-70; the 'T-series' of IOR reports, 1963-67; reports and memoranda, 1965-80; and the private papers of Neil Jessop, for 1962; John Stringer, 1950-95; and John Friend, 1966-95.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Institute for Operational Research (IOR) was established on 1 May 1963 as a semi-autonomous unit of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR), which provided 'an administrative and spiritual home for the new research institute'. The idea was originated within the Operational Research Society (ORS) by Neil Jessop. Professor R. Ackoff initiated talks between the Operational Research Society and the TIHR. Neil Jessop was the first Director of the IOR and Sir Charles Goodeve was first Chairman of the IOR advisory committee. Neil Jessop died suddenly on 26 April 1969, and was succeeded by his deputy, John Stringer. The IOR was re-organised and run by the Director and an elected committee of staff. In 1973, the IOR agreed to an internal merger with a group of social scientists from the TIHR with whom they had worked for a number of years. In 1979, this inter-disciplinary unit adopted the title Centre for Organisational and Operational Research (COOR). The COOR disbanded in 1985. Staff numbers had declined and the work of the COOR became difficult to differentiate from that of the TIHR.

The IOR had several bases - at the TIHR in London, in Coventry (which became the centre from which projects concerned with local government, the health service and industry were managed), and Edinburgh, where the Scottish Institute for Operational Research was based.

All files were given a running reference number by the IOR and these reference numbers have been incorporated into the MRC reference. In some cases a number was not issued by the IOR and this has been noted in the list as [no. not used]. The list has been reorganised so that minutes and committee papers are separated from the main sequence of reports.

Reference: MSS.335/IOR/COOR40; MSS.335/IOR/6/1; MSS.335/SO/16/1.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick (except for unpublished material that is less than 30 years old. See

Acquisition Information

The archive was deposited at the Modern Records Centre in March 1995.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Centre holds the following other collections relating to the history, development and practice of operational research and to pioneers and practitioners in this field (collectively known as the Operational Research Archive): British European Airways: Operational Research Branch (MSS.335/AI/1); British Overseas Airways Corporation: Operational Research Branch (MSS.335/AI/2); British Steel Operational Research papers and Memoranda (MSS.335/BS); the Papers of Professor Stephen Cook (MSS.335/CK); the Community Operational Research Unit (MSS.335/COR); the East Midlands Operational Research Group (MSS.335/EMORG); Papers of the Fellowship for Operational Research (MSS.335/FOR); papers for British Gas Operational Research (MSS.335/GA); British Gas North West Operational Research Reports (MSS.335/GA/NW); GKN Operational Research Reports (MSS.335/GKN); Fellowship for Operational Research (MSS.335/FOR); International Federation of Operational Research Societies (MSS.335/IFORS);Interviews with Operational Research Pioneers and Related Papers (MSS.335/INT); the Local Government Operational Research Unit (MSS.335/LG); Miscellaneous and Fragmentary Operational Research Papers (MSS.335/MIS); Operational Analysis Branch, NATO (MSS.335/OAB); Draft Obituaries of Operational Research Practitioners (MSS.335/OBIT); the Papers of Jack Plymen (MSS.335/PLY); the Papers of Professor K. Brian Haley relating to Operational Research Quarterly (MSS.335/SO/H); the Papers of Rolphe C. Tomlinson (MSS.335/TOM); and the Papers of Dr Edward D. van Rest (MSS.335/VR).