Dr Robert Van Der Meer


Management Science


Personal statement

Robert van der Meer is Professor of Management Science at the University of Strathclyde. Robert has a PhD in Operational Research from the University of Strathclyde, an MSc in Economics (with specialisation in Mathematical Economics) from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a Cand. Econ. degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam. At Strathclyde Business School, Robert was Academic Director of the Strathclyde MBA programme from 2016 to 2019. He currently teaches a range of classes in Management Science, Business and Data Analytics, Healthcare Operations Management, Manufacturing Operations Management, and Strategy Modelling.

Robert is actively involved in research and knowledge exchange projects in the areas of Health Economics, Healthcare Analytics, Healthcare Operations Management, and Supply Chain Management & Strategy. He is currently Principal Investigator on 4 different research projects and Co-Investigator on another one. Robert applies a range of analytical and modelling tools, including simulation modelling, cost effectiveness analysis, statistical analysis (including Bayesian networks) and mathematical optimisation, depending on the nature of the problems encountered. He has a particular interest in the development of new ways of working through the effective integration of people and technology. To date, Robert has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, and supervised 14 PhD students and 2 DBA students to completion. In total, he has been Principal Investigator or Co-investigator on 27 research and knowledge exchange projects so far.

Before joining the University of Strathclyde in 1990, Robert was seconded for a couple of years to IBM UK to advise on the implementation of lean manufacturing methods; in the course of this, he created a successful in-house Masters Programme in Materials Management for IBM UK. At Strathclyde, he has developed a popular cross-faculty Masters Programme in Supply Chain Management and was also responsible for the University of Strathclyde joining the SAP University Alliances global programme. Robert has led consultancy and knowledge exchange projects for companies as diverse as IBM UK (lean manufacturing methods), Levi Strauss & Co (European manufacturing network), Coats plc (global supply chain management), Diageo (productivity analysis) and SeaTec (analysis of ship operating expenses).

Over the last decade, Robert’s research has focused on health economics, healthcare analytics and healthcare operations management, funded by the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Cancer Research UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK and others. In this respect, a number of areas of research are of particular interest.

First, Robert conducted action research in 2010-12 to directly support NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde in the large-scale automation of medicines distribution, as part of an innovative redesign programme of hospital pharmacy services. This constituted the largest automation project (by size and scale of activity) for hospital pharmacy in the UK and, to the knowledge of the robotic system supplier, the integrated system of robots was double the size of any other installation worldwide. From 2016, the Scottish Government has sponsored a study of the implementation of advanced robotics in a set of community pharmacies across Scotland.

Second, in 2014-16 Robert led a research team sponsored by the Scottish Government to develop a detailed cost model for the ‘Virtual Fracture Clinic’ pathway, pioneered by the orthopaedic unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This innovative patient pathway has attracted significant attention and interest from other hospitals in the UK and worldwide. This research has subsequently broadened to include a range of improvement projects applying the principles of ‘Realistic Medicine’ in Health Boards across NHS Scotland. 

Third, Robert has been engaged since 2016 in a range of research projects on the early diagnosis and effective treatment of pancreatic cancer. Robert has been working with Dr Alison Bradley in 2016-19 on a project sponsored by the West of Scotland Pancreatic Unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary under the leadership of Professor Colin McKay. This has led to the development of a range of statistical and simulation models to investigate the cost effectiveness of neo-adjuvant versus surgery-first treatment of pancreatic cancer. In another project, started in 2018 and funded by Pancreatic Cancer UK, Robert is working with leading cancer researchers from University College London, Imperial College London, University of Oxford and others to develop a novel diagnostic tool for detecting pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours at an early disease stage. In addition, Robert started working in 2019 with leading cancer researchers from University of Liverpool on a project funded by Cancer Research UK to identify new biomarkers for screening patients with new-onset diabetes mellitus for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Fourth, in 2019 Robert became one of the lead researchers on the newly established Strategic Partnership between the University of Strathclyde and NHS Lanarkshire. Since March 2020 Robert has been leading a team of up to 4 researchers to provide day-to-day modelling and analysis capability in support of the Health Board's response to the operational and strategic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2021, the COVID-19 modelling project led by Robert was announced as the winner in the 'Outstanding Business Engagement in Universities' category at The Herald Higher Education Awards 2021.  

Fifth, in September 2021 Robert was awarded, together with Professors Roma Maguire and Ioanna Nixon and Dr Kieren Egan, a substantial grant by the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to evaluate Scotland's first Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres (ECDCs) in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Dumfries & Galloway and NHS Fife, respectively. In this research project, Robert has prime responsibility for the statistical modelling and health economics evaluation of the new ECDCs.

Since 2003, Robert's research has attracted external grant funding totalling £2,147,440; including £828,762 as Principal Investigator and £1,268,678 as Co-Investigator. 

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Professional Activities

Epidemiological modelling: Lessons from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic
Invited speaker
External Examiner, University of Stirling: BSc Management
Future Organisation: Social Care Futures
Realistic Medicine Conference 2023
Thailand Science Park
Visiting researcher
9th Business, Economics and Communications International Conference and 10th National Colloquium 2023
Member of programme committee

More professional activities


Evaluation of Automated Technologies in Community Pharmacy 2023 update
Findlay, Patricia (Principal Investigator) van der Meer, Robert (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
London Borough of Waltham Forest - Whipps Cross Joint Health Overview Scrutiny Committee
van der Meer, Robert (Principal Investigator)
Transforming Local Health and Care Services and Future Whipps Cross Hospital Bed Capacity
26-Jan-2022 - 26-Jan-2022
Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres
Maguire, Roma (Principal Investigator) Fragkandrea Nixon, Ioanna (Co-investigator) van der Meer, Robert (Co-investigator) Egan, Kieren (Research Co-investigator)
Tender Response through PCS
22-Jan-2021 - 21-Jan-2023
Health Economic analysis of Trabecular Metal Uncemented and Cemented Modular Total Knee Replacements (TRECK)
van der Meer, Robert (Principal Investigator)
21-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2032
Analysis of COVID-19 Impact on Social and Intermediate Care in Lanarkshire
Sinha, Chandrava (Co-investigator) Blair, Shona (Co-investigator) van der Meer, Robert (Principal Investigator)
Social and intermediate care is under stress, with COVID-19 adding to existing pressures. It is clear that a variety of factors are at play, and whilst many of these factors are already well known to those providing these services, the overall situation is complex. The overall aim of this project is to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on social and intermediate care in Lanarkshire and to provide guidance on how those tasked with delivering this care can best plan and prioritise for the future in light of current uncertainties.
01-Jan-2021 - 28-Jan-2022
Assessment of Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Costs and Economic Evaluation of the Use of the Cytosponge™ Technology in NHS Scotland
van der Meer, Robert (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022

More projects

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Dr Robert Van Der Meer
Management Science

Email: robert.van-der-meer@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3512