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Academic Staff

Ian Durbach

Office: PD Hahn 5.53
Tel: +27 21 650 5058

Research Interests:

Multi-criteria decision analysis; Behavioural decision making

Position: Adjunct Associate Professor

Course Taught

  • STA3022F – Research and Survey Statistics
  • STA3030F – Inferential Statistics
  • Decision Modelling Honours

Biographical Information

I did a Business Science degree in quantitative management at UCT and continued into the master's program in 2001. I completed the degree in 2003; my thesis was on “the treatment of uncertainty in multi-criteria decision modelling”. After that I worked for 18 months as a statistician at the Customer Equity Company, a market research company in Cape Town.

I returned to UCT in 2005 on a one-year contract; this position was made permanent in 2006. Since then I have mostly convened and lectured on two third-year level statistics courses, one in applied multivariate statistics and the other in inferential statistics, and lectured on the decision modelling module in the honours program. I'm a member of the Operational Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) and currently sit on the executive committee. My research has remained on decision making under uncertainty; my PhD thesis is entitled “Simplified models for multi-criteria decision analysis under uncertainty”.

Research Interests

My research investigates prescriptive and descriptive processes underlying risky or uncertain choice i.e. helping or describing decision makers choosing between options whose outcomes are uncertain. I have a special interest in the boundary between prescriptive and descriptive models, and in simplified or heuristic approaches to the problem. In the last year or two I've become more involved in applied statistical problems, mostly in the fields of energy and marketing/consumer behaviour.


  • Durbach IN, Katshunga D and Parker H, 2013. Community structure and centrality effects in the South African company network. South African Journal of Business Management 44(2), 15-23
  • Durbach IN and Davis SJ, 2012. Decision support for selecting a shortlist of electricity-saving options: a modified SMAA approach. ORiON 28(2), 99-116
  • Durbach IN and Stewart TJ, 2012. Modeling uncertainty in multi-criteria decision analysis. European Journal of Operational Research 223, 1-14
  • Durbach IN, 2012. An empirical test of the evidential reasoning approach's synthesis axioms. Expert Systems with Applications 39, 11048-11054
  • Durbach IN and Stewart TJ, 2012. A comparison of simplified value function approaches for treating uncertainty in multi-criteria decision analysis. Omega 40, 456-464
  • Durbach IN and Stewart TJ, 2011. An experimental study of the effect of uncertainty representation on decision making. European Journal of Operational Research 214, 380-392
  • Davis S and Durbach I, 2010. Modelling household responses to energy efficiency interventions via systems dynamics and survey data. ORiON 26(2), 79-96
  • Durbach I.N. 2009. The use of the SMAA acceptability index in descriptive decision analysis. European Journal of Operational Research, Vol 196, 1229-1337.
  • Durbach I.N. 2009. On the estimation of a satisficing model of choice using stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis. Omega, Vol 37, 497-509.
  • Durbach I.N. and Stewart T.J. 2009. Using expected values to simplify decision making under uncertainty. Omega, Vol 37, 312-330.
  • Durbach I.N. and Parker H. 2009. An analysis of corporate board networks in South Africa. South African Journal of Business Management, Vol 40, No 2, 15-26.
  • Durbach I.N., Naidoo D., and Mouton J. Co-authorship networks in South African chemistry and mathematics. South African Journal of Science, Vol 104, 487-492.
  • Barr G.D.I., and Durbach I.N. 2008. Consumer preference for risk and return: the slot machine case. International Gambling Studies Vol 8, No 3, 265-280.
  • Durbach I.N. and Barr G.D.I. Illustrating dependence between random variables using slot machines. Teaching Statistics Vol 30, No 3, 89-92.
  • Durbach I.N. and Thiart J. 2007. On a common perception of a random sequence in cricket. South African Statistics Journal, Vol 41, 157-183.

Conference Proceedings

Durbach I.N. and Hofmeyr J.H. 2007. Interactions between market barriers and communication networks in marketing systems. Proceedings of the sixth international joint conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems, ACM Press, New York, 375-382.