Dissertation Prize

The Aviation Applications Section of INFORMS awards a prize for the best dissertation in any area related to aviation operations research (e.g. involving airline operations or air traffic management including unmanned aerial systems). The winner will receive a plaque and an honorarium of $500. Other finalists will be considered for an honorable mention and a certificate. Doctoral dissertations meeting the following criteria are eligible for consideration:

  • Dissertation must be completed and submitted between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.
  • The dissertation must be in an area relevant to aviation research or practice. 

Application Process:

Submit the following documents in portable document format (PDF) via email to Senay Solak (solak@isenberg.umass.edu), the AAS Dissertation Prize Committee Chair, before midnight Monday, July 31, 2018:

  • the completed dissertation;
  • an extended abstract (4 to 5 pages) describing the work and its relevance;
  • a letter of nomination from the dissertation supervisor supporting the submission and highlighting the importance of the research;
  • a short paper (20 to 25 pages, double spaced) that is based on the dissertation (optional, but welcome).


Prize Committee:

Dr. Senay Solak, Chair
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Emmanuel Carrier
Data Science Consultant
Delta Airlines

Dr. Bruno Santos
Assistant Professor
TU Delft

Dr. Richard Wu
Associate Professor
UNSW Australia

Dr. Yu Zhang
Associate Professor
University of South Florida




First Place 

Heng Chen, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Service Improvement and Cost Reduction for Airlines: Optimal Policies for Managing Arrival and Departure Operations under Uncertainty


First Place 

Virginie Lurkin, University of Liège 
Modeling in Air Transportation: Cargo Loading and Itinerary Choice



Virginie Lurkin (Center) with the Prize Committee Member, Alexandre Jacquillat (Left) and the Section Chair, Senay Solak (Right)

Honorable Mention

James Jones,  University of Maryland, College Park
Optimization Models for Speed Control in AirTraffic Management



James Jones (Center) with the Prize Committee Member, Alexandre Jacquillat (Left) and the Section Chair, Senay Solak (Right)


First Place 

Michael Bloem, Stanford University
Optimization and Analytics for Air Traffic Management



Michael Bloem (Left) with the Prize Committee Chair, David Lovell (Right)


First Place 

Stephen Maher, University of New South Wales
The Application of Recoverable Robustness to Airline Planning Problems

Honorable Mention

Clayton Tino,  Georgia Institute of Technology
Wind Models and Stochastic Programming Algorithms for En Route Trajectory Prediction and Control 



Clayton Tino (Center) with the Prize Committee Chair, Milind Sohoni (Right) and the Section Chair, Thomas Vossen (Left)


First Place

Farshid Azadian, Wayne State University
An Integrated Framework for Freight Forwarders: Exploitation of Dynamic Information for Multimodal Transportation



Farshid Azadian (Center) with the Prize Committee Chair, Amedeo Odoni (Left) and the Section Chair, Thomas Vossen (Right)

Honorable Mention

Bo Vaaben, Technical University of Denmark
Sustainable Disruption Management



Bo Vaaben (Center) with the Prize Committee Chair, Amedeo Odoni (Left) and the Section Chair, Thomas Vossen (Right)


First Place

Marcial Lapp, University of Michigan
Methods for Improving Robustness and Recovery in Aviation Planning 


First Place

Douglas Fearing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Case for Coordination: Equity, Efficiency, and Passenger Impacts in Air Traffic Flow Management



Douglas Fearing receives the award from Prize Committee Member Dr. Karla Hoffman.


First Place

Poornima Balakrishna, George Mason University
Scalable Approximate Dynamic Programming Models



Poornima Balakrishna receives the award from the Prize Committee Chair, Diego Klabjan.


First Place

Gizem Keysan, Georgia Institute of Technology
Tactical and Operational Planning for Per-Seat On-Demand Air Transportation



Gizem Keysan receives the award from the Prize Committee Chair, Amy Cohn.


First Place

Mustafa Akan, Northwestern University
Essays on Revenue Management



Mustafa Akan receives the award from the Prize Committee Member, Mirela Stojkovic.

Past Winners