Civil servant wins award for 'groundbreaking' cross-government net-zero tool

Net-zero systems tool “captures the innovative spirit of operational research and its potential to drive positive change"

Adam Mackenzie-Jones

By Tevye Markson

04 Oct 2023

A civil servant has won this year's Operational Research Society President’s Medal for the creation of an “innovative” net-zero systems tool for use across government departments.

The President's Medal is awarded annually for the most outstanding practical application of operational research, with Department for Energy Security and Net Zero official Adam Mackenzie-Jones honoured this year.

The OR Society said Mackenzie-Jones and his team’s “groundbreaking” work had recognised that “the complex challenge of achieving net-zero emissions targets requires collaborative efforts across various government departments”.

To help decision makers better understand and navigate the intricate landscape of net zero, the team collaborated with a number of other government departments “to design and create an innovative interactive visualisation tool which uses systems approaches”, the OR Society said.

The DESNZ team collaborated with departments including the Department for Transport; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Cabinet Office; and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The OR Society praised the "combination of excellence of process, technical challenge, impressive impact and the longevity of the tool".

It said the Net Zero Systems Tool is “helping decision makers to understand and navigate the interconnected nature of this landscape, enabling identification of opportunities, and driving further collaboration across government”. It also complements other tools and models that are used by policy professionals and analysts, the organisation added.

Mackenzie-Jones, who led the net-zero systems project, said he is “absolutely delighted and immensely proud" of the recognition for the team’s work.

“This award isn’t just for me; it’s for the whole team, which includes Adam Stannard, Beth Green, Charlie Stewart from DESNZ, Kate Gronow and Mary Mckee from the DfT and Yaadwinder Sidhu at Defra,” he added.

Gilbert Owusu, president of The OR Society, said the  tool had captured "the innovative spirit of operational research and its potential to drive positive change".

Seb Hargreaves, executive director of The OR Society, added: “We are immensely proud to recognise the exceptional contribution of Adam and his team to the field of operational research. His work exemplifies the mission of The OR Society, which has been at the forefront of advancing the discipline for 75 years.”

The President’s Medal, described by Owusu as an “annual opportunity to celebrate the remarkable work of operational research specialists and share how they are using operational research techniques to solve complex issues in government or industry”, was presented a this year's OR Society annual conference, held at the University of Bath from 12 to 14 September 2023.

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