Robert van der Meer has a Cand. Econ. degree in Economics & Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Management Science from the University of Strathclyde. Robert holds the position of Professor of Management Science in Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde. He is also a Fellow of the Centre for Health Policy (CHP) and an executive member of the Strathclyde Institute for Operations Management (SIOM). At Strathclyde Business School, Robert was Academic Director of the Strathclyde MBA programme from 2016 to 2019. He currently teaches a range of classes in Management Science, Business Analysis and Corporate Strategy.
Robert is actively involved in research and knowledge exchange projects in the areas of Health Economics, Healthcare Operations Management, Supply Chain Management & Strategy and Business Process Management & Improvement. He is currently Principal Investigator on 3 research projects and Co-Investigator on another one. Robert applies a range of analytical and modelling tools, including simulation modelling, cost effectiveness analysis, statistical analysis and mathematical optimisation, depending on the nature of the problems encountered. He has a particular interest in the development of new ways of working through the effective integration of people and technology. To date, Robert has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, and supervised 13 PhD students and 2 DBA students to completion. In total, he has been Principal Investigator or Co-investigator on 23 research and knowledge exchange projects so far.
Before joining the University of Strathclyde in 1990, Robert was seconded for a couple of years to IBM UK to advise on the implementation of lean manufacturing methods; in the course of this, he created a successful in-house Masters Programme in Materials Management for IBM UK. At Strathclyde, he has developed a popular cross-faculty Masters Programme in Supply Chain Management and was also responsible for the University of Strathclyde joining the SAP University Alliances global programme. Robert has led consultancy and knowledge exchange projects for companies as diverse as IBM UK (lean manufacturing methods), Levi Strauss & Co (European manufacturing network), Coats plc (global supply chain management), Diageo (productivity analysis) and SeaTec (analysis of ship operating expenses).
Over the last decade, Robert’s research has focused on health economics and healthcare operations management & improvement, funded by the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, NHS England, Cancer Research UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK and others. In this respect, three areas of research are of particular interest. First, Robert conducted action research in 2010-12 to directly support NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde in the large-scale automation of medicines distribution, as part of an innovative redesign programme of hospital pharmacy services. This constituted the largest automation project (by size and scale of activity) for hospital pharmacy in the UK and, to the knowledge of the robotic system supplier, the integrated system of robots was double the size of any other installation worldwide. From 2016, the Scottish Government has sponsored a study of the implementation of advanced robotics in a set of community pharmacies across Scotland.
Second, in 2014-16 Robert led a research team sponsored by the Scottish Government to develop a detailed cost model for the ‘Virtual Fracture Clinic’ pathway, pioneered by the orthopaedic unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This innovative patient pathway has attracted significant attention and interest from other hospitals in the UK and worldwide. This research has subsequently broadened to include a range of improvement projects applying the principles of ‘Realistic Medicine’ in Health Boards across NHS Scotland.
Third, Robert has been engaged since 2016 in a range of research projects on the early diagnosis and effective treatment of pancreatic cancer. Robert has been working with Dr Alison Bradley in 2016-19 on a project sponsored by the West of Scotland Pancreatic Unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary under the leadership of Professor Colin McKay. This has led to the development of a range of statistical and simulation models to investigate the cost effectiveness of neo-adjuvant versus surgery-first treatment of pancreatic cancer. In another project, started in 2018 and funded by Pancreatic Cancer UK, Robert is working with leading cancer researchers from University College London, Imperial College London, University of Oxford and others to develop a novel diagnostic tool for detecting pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours at an early disease stage. Finally, Robert has recently started working with leading cancer researchers from University of Liverpool on a project funded by Cancer Research UK to identify new biomarkers for screening patients with new-onset diabetes mellitus for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Fourth, in 2019 Robert became one of the lead researchers on the newly established Strategic Partnership between the University of Strathclyde and NHS Lanarkshire. Since March 2020 Robert has been leading a team of up to 4 researchers to provide day-to-day modelling and analysis capability in support of the Health Board's response to the operational and strategic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.