Professor Jesse O'Hanley

Professor of Environmental Systems Management,
Associate Dean of Research and Innovation
+44 (0)1227 824286
Professor Jesse O'Hanley


Professor O’Hanley is the current Associate Dean of Research & Innovation and former Head of the Department of Analytics, Operations & Systems at Kent Business School (KBS). He is also a member of the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimistation (CLHO), the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), and the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC).

Professor O’Hanley joined KBS in 2006. He obtained both his BSc in Biological Sciences (with dept. honours) and his MSc in Engineering-Economic Systems & Operations Research from Stanford University. He earned his PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to joining Kent, Professor O’Hanley worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara and the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Before that, he was a management consultant to high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. He has previously or currently holds honorary positions at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Oregon State University, and Imperial College London.

Professor O’Hanley is a member of the Committee of Professors of Operational Research (COPIOR), The OR Society Research Committee, the EPSRC Peer Review College, and the EURO Working Group on Locational Analysis. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a co-founder and non-executive board member of Blue Rivers Foundation.

Professor O’Hanley regularly gives invited lectures at leading UK and international universities and has served on various organising, scientific, and steering committees of international conferences and large research projects. He has refereed for dozens of leading academic journals and grant agencies in the fields of operational research, environmental management, and ecology.

Research interests

Professor O’Hanley’s research focuses on the development of optimisation and simulation techniques for environmental management, facility location, transportation, and logistics. He has written over 70 articles and other publications covering a wide range of theoretical and applied topics, much of it highly interdisciplinary in nature. Recent work has appeared in leading field journals in operational research and environmental management, including the European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), Nature, and Nature family journals.

Recent and ongoing lines of inquiry include river connectivity enhancement, nature reserve selection, design of robust facility networks, managing vehicle/passenger flows, and climate change impacts analysis. Professor O’Hanley is the 2015 winner of the prestigious EURO Excellence in Practice Award in recognition of the development of a state-of-the-art decision support tool called OptiPass, which is being used in California, the Pacific Northwest, and other locations to plan on-the-ground river connectivity restoration actions. Professor O’Hanley’s research has been externally funded by UK research councils (EPSRC, ESRC, and NERC), Innovate UK, Defra and EU Horizon 2020.


Professor O’Hanley has taught a wide variety of modules at undergraduate, postgraduate, and MBA levels. These include introductory and advanced modules in spreadsheet modelling, VBA programming, discrete event simulation, decision analysis, optimisation, statistics, mathematics, and research methods.


Current Supervisees

  • Zhifeng Guo: A Machine Learning based Framework for Exploring Drivers of Residential Electricity Consumption Patterns and Forecasting Demand.

Past supervisees

  • Betul Coban: Optimising Pre-Earthquake Mitigation Measures to Improve the Efficiency of Evacuation Operations
  • Annunziata Esposito Amideo: Optimisation Approaches for Improving Mitigation and Response Operations in Disaster Management" 
  • Christina Ioannidou: Optimising River Infrastructure Placement and Mitigation Decisions
  • Stefano Starita: Optimisation Approaches to Protect Transportation Infrastructure against Strategic and Random Disruptions
  • Sheraz Malik: Optimising Supermarket Promotions of Fast Moving Consumer Goods Using Disaggregated Sales Data: A Case Study of Tesco and Their Small and Medium Sized Suppliers
  • Thomas Jeffries: Optimising Blood Donation Session Scheduling in South East England
  • Steven King: Economic Valuation and Optimisation of River Barrier Mitigation Actions
  • Huiling Zhao: The Environmental Impact of Free School Choice: The Case of Kent and Medway
  • Chaya Losada: Design and Protection of Critical Infrastructure Systems and Supply Chains


Professor O’Hanley has carried out advisory and consultancy work for various government agencies, NGOs, and businesses in the UK and internationally, including the Port of Dover, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Nature Conservancy. He previously led two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with the Port of Dover and Eurostar on the use of simulation and business analytics methods to reduce congestion, improve operational planning, and inform capital investment decisions. At present, he is leading a second KTP with the Port of Dover aimed at developing bespoke simulation models to forecast and manage traffic flows in response to evolving post-Brexit regulatory requirements and the implementation a new digital border.

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