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 since 2019.  We have also ran the following webinars:

Applied Statisticians as Principal Investigators – April 2021 webinar recording (jointly with the Statistics Workstream of the NIHR Methodology Incubator)

Career Pathways – April 2022 webinar recording (jointly with the Statistics Workstream of the NIHR Methodology Incubator)

Statisticians as Leaders – March 2023 (led by Sue Mallett and Barbara Torlinska)

A guide to Pre-doctoral and Doctoral NIHR Fellowships for Aspiring and Early Career Statisticians – January 2024

Webinar recordings

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 have facilitated further rounds of mentoring at the annual conferences each year since 2021.

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
  • Thenmalar Vadiveloo, University of Aberdeen
  • Amina Tran, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
  • Jess Kendall, University of Leeds

Section leaders

Sam Leary

Group Lead Career Development

University of Bristol

Section committee members


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