Roses are red, violets are blue. Can Industrial Maths solve the problem for you?

Posted on: 14/02/2019

Problem announced for Clean and Sustainable Growth event: how can Mathematical Sciences help the cut flower industry?

Driving translation of mathematical and statistical research advances into high value applications in industry is vital to unlocking key societal and economic challenges in clean growth and sustainability.  To aid this process, a range of problems will be tackled by researchers at a three-day Clean and Sustainable Growth study group which will take place in Nottingham from 29 April – 1 May.

The organisers, KTN, alongside the University of Nottingham, are looking for researchers to work on the following conundrum:

Quality control processes for cut flowers presented by MM Flowers

The UK cut flower industry can be challenging Рcustomers expect high quality flowers at competitive prices and the vast majority of species utilised are highly perishable, short-life products which are transported from many different regions around the world.  Pre-harvest management, logistics and environmental control are all factors that can positively or negatively impact upon flower quality.  In many instances there are substantial datasets generated around these processes, but the produce sector has been slow to adapt to more innovative approaches to accurately managing and analysing data.

Can historical data throughout the supply chain be utilised to drive areas of investigation for the quality control team?  Can this data be linked with other aspects of the business/supply chain in an attempt to reduce waste levels?

MM Flowers is keen to review the process behind the quality control sampling protocols.  This would include understanding the current sampling process and associated datasets, with innovative and robust application of statistical methodology to develop and optimise future sampling techniques.  This novel approach should target resources more efficiently to identify areas of greatest risk and result in waste reduction throughout the supply chain.

A range of datasets will be made available to the study group.

If you are a researcher working in a UK university who would like to work on this problem at the study group in Nottingham from 29 April – 1 May, please register here.  Early stage career academics, Ph.D students, and postdocs are particularly welcome.

KTN’s Industrial Maths Knowledge Transfer Manager, Matt Butchers, regularly runs study groups looking at problems in different sectors.  There are several forthcoming groups, each of which will consider four-five different problems over a three-day event.  As well as Clean and Sustainable Growth, the groups will focus on AI and Health and Uncertainty Management.

For a longer version of this problem, please click here.

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