About us

Background and History

The Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre (DCS) was established in May 2010 by extending and strengthening the previous Decision Sciences Research Centre, which was established in 2003 at the Manchester School of Management, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). In July 2005, it received renewal status, strengthened its membership as a research centre of the Alliance Manchester Business School after the merger of UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester, and aimed to become an international centre of excellence in research and application in decision science theory, methodology, techniques, and tools.

DCS has one of the largest groupings of leading researchers in Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) and its members have made significant contributions to advances in these areas. Its progress and success are well evidenced by the independent surveys commissioned by the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) in 2008, which named DSRC members among the top 40 most prolific researchers worldwide in the past four decades in terms of paper publication and citation in areas related to MCDM. Several DCS members were similarly active and productive in MCDM-related research at international level. A DCS member was the founding Editor of the internationally-recognized “Journal of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis”, whilst another member is its current Editor and the immediate past President of the International Society on MCDM. Several DCS members are editors, co-editors and editorial board members of other internationally-recognized journals in decision sciences, systems sciences, operational research, etc. These facts, among others, evidence that DCS has become a world leading centre of research excellence in the areas of MCDA, DSS and applications in terms of the quantity and quality of research publications and research impact, and the prominence of its members.

Decision making is a basic human activity and includes both art and science elements. With the rapid accumulation of vast amounts of information, information-driven and evidence-based decision making has gained increasing attention. On the other hand, human behaviour plays a most important part in human decision making. The profile of DCS is therefore extended to a wide spectrum of research in decision making: from information collection and management, decision modelling, decision analysis and support systems, through to the understanding of human participation in decision processes and the mathematical and computational modelling and analysis of human behaviour, and to a wide range of applications in all sectors, such as societal risk management, strategic decision making, financial decision making, and evaluation of performance, sustainability, innovation, etc.

Mission Statement, Aim and Objectives

The mission statement of DCS is to establish itself as an international centre of excellence in research, application and education in Decision and Cognitive Sciences, thus contributing to the goals of Alliance MBS, UoM and more broadly to society.

The aim of DCS is to promote fundamental and cross-disciplinary research within decision sciences, cognitive sciences and related areas and to apply and evaluate its research findings on real world decision problems in all sectors.

The objectives of DCS are proposed to achieve the above aim in a measured manner, summarised as follows:

  • To encourage and coordinate applied research in the Alliance MBS priority areas including strategic decision making, financial decision making, and evaluation of performance, sustainability, innovation, etc
  • To organise and promote theoretical, methodological, empirical and applied research in the following areas among others:
    • evidential reasoning decision analysis, risk analysis, performance optimisation, and knowledge-driven decision support systems
    • computational and mathematical models of human behaviour and behavioural decision making
    • methodological and applied research in data and text analytics for information-driven decision making with applications in a range of areas such as health care
    • design and evaluation of public participation processes and tools for societal decision making from the decision analytic perspective
    • combination of the strengths of evidence-based decision modelling methodology and groupware web technology to develop generic web-based group decision support systems to facilitate decision groups and the public in an informed decision making process
    • investigation, design, and evaluation of information technologies that support group work and social networking
  • To establish multi-disciplinary research in risk analysis and management to develop DCS as a hub for coordinating risk-related research activities among researchers both inside and outside Alliance MBS
  • To establish a dedicated DCS research laboratory to both nurture cross-disciplinary research to achieve the above objectives and foster externally funded research projects
  • To co-locate DCS researchers, in particular its RAs and PhD students around the DCS research laboratory to help achieve the above objectives and enhance Alliance MBS’ world leading position in PGR education
  • To organise grant applications from external funding bodies, encourage engagement with business world through KTP and consultancy projects, and maintain a steady research income stream
  • To organise conferences and training programmes for disseminating research findings and generating research impact among communities both inside and outside The Universit of Manchester

Seminars, Workshops and Collaboration

DCS runs its regular seminar and workshop series, which provide open forums for both researchers and practitioners to exchange research experiences and foster a spirit of research collaboration. It encourages the involvement of leading scholars, new researchers, practitioners and students in discussion and development of new concepts, methodologies and applied tools to support informative and robust decision making. It also aims to promote decision sciences, cognitive sciences and related disciplines in business and management education.

If you are interested in decision and cognitive science research in a broad sense or in getting support for making more informative decisions in your strategic, tactical or operational decision making practices, please feel free to contact us and participate in the DCS activities which are announced on a regular basis at the Alliance MBS website.