Career development

Career development for applied statisticians

Career development for applied statisticians can be problematic. They don’t usually work in dedicated statistics units which means that training opportunities can be limited, and academic development can be difficult as there is little scope for taking leadership roles. Our Career Development Group aims to run events and provide resources for applied statisticians at various stages of their career.

Our Group’s first event was a workshop, “Applied Statisticians as Principal Investigators”, held in Bristol in March 2018; a short report can be found here.  We have held half day events aimed at early career researchers just before the NIHR Statistics Group annual conferences in Sheffield in June 2019 and online in June 2021, and a second “Applied Statisticians as Principal Investigators” event in April 2021 webinar recording; the latter was run jointly with the Statistics Workstream of the NIHR Methodology Incubator.  We have also provided biographies of NIHR Statistics Group Steering Committee members as a resource for people at various stages of their career.

A mentoring scheme facilitated by the NIHR Statistics Group was launched at the annual meeting held in Sheffield in June 2019, led by Sam Leary (University of Bristol) and Jamie Sergeant (University of Manchester).  The aim was to provide support for issues such as career progression, continuing professional development, work-life balance, short-term contracts, and diversity in leadership roles, particular for isolated statisticians in applied settings.  Initial meetings of 14 mentor-mentee pairs were facilitated; if mentees wished to have further meetings with their mentor after the conference it was their responsibility to organise them.  We facilitated a second round of mentoring at the June 2021 annual conference, and a further 14 pairs were established.

We received some queries about working in a Clinical Trials Unit, so have provided some notes here.

Anyone interested in joining the Career Development Group is encouraged to contact the group leader at

  • Group Lead: Sam Leary University of Bristol
  • Deputy: Laura Flight University of Sheffield
    Group members:
  • Gordon Prescott University of Central Lancashire
  • Jen Lewis University of Sheffield
  • Lucy Teece University of Leicester
  • Dan Lewer University College London
  • Lucy Bull University of Manchester

Section leaders

Sam Leary

Working Group Co-ordinator, Group Lead Career Development

University of Bristol

Section committee members


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