Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers for the 2023 conference are Timandra Harkness and Andy Grieve.

Timandra Harkness

Timandra Harkness, Writer, broadcaster and presenter


From John Graunt to Next Slide Please: What a 17th Century haberdasher can teach us about data, risk and the public.



Her book Big Data: does size matter? published by Bloomsbury Sigma in 2016, came out in an updated paperback edition in June 2017. She is currently writing her second non-fiction book for Harper Collins.

Timandra is a regular on BBC Radio, writing and presenting BBC Radio 4’s FutureProofing and other series including How To Disagree, Steelmanning and Political School. BBC documentaries include Data, Data Everywhere, Divided Nation, What Has Sat-Nav Done To Our Brains, and Five Knots. She was also resident reporter on all 8 seasons of social psychology series The Human Zoo.

Since winning the Independent newspaper's column-writing competition, she has written for many publications including the Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, Unherd, BBC Focus magazine, WIRED, Men's Health and Significance (the journal of the Royal Statistical Society).

Timandra chairs and speaks at public events for clients including Cheltenham Science Festival, the Royal Society, the British Council, the Royal Geographical Society, the RSA, the Institute of Ideas, the British Library, Wellcome Collection and many others.

After performing improvised & stand up comedy, & touring with a tented circus, she formed the first comedy science double-act in the UK with neuroscientist Dr. Helen Pilcher. Since then she has written and performed scientific and mathematical comedy from Adelaide (Australia) to Pittsburgh PA.

In 2010 she co-wrote & performed Your Days Are Numbered: The Maths of Death, with stand-up mathematician Matt Parker. They performed the show to average audiences of 100.3 and 4 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, then toured it in the UK and Australia. Timandra's science comedy since then includes cabaret, gameshows, and solo live show Brainsex (with Socrates the rat).

Timandra has a BA in Film and Drama with Art & Art History, a BSc in Mathematics & Statistics, and is a Graduate Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. For more details, please see


In plague-ridden London, self-taught haberdasher John Graunt used the weekly Bills of Mortality as his data, discovered patterns in the human tragedy, and invented analytical tools we still use today. His work got him membership of the new Royal Society, but the 'Christopher Columbus’ of statistics died in poverty after losing everything in the Great Fire of London. What can his work - and his eventful life story – teach us today about gathering and analysing data, and sharing that knowledge with the public?


Andy GrieveStatistical research fellow at UCB


If you Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks, Can Old Dogs Teach Young Ones Old Tricks?



Andy Grieve studied Mathematics (BSc) and Applied Statistics (MSc) at Southampton University and received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Nottingham University and an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University for Services to Statistics.

Andy has been with the Belgian pharmaceutical company, UCB, since 2017 and established the Center of Excellence for Statistical Innovation (CESI), where he is now a Statistical Research Fellow. Prior to joining UCB he was a Vice President in the Innovation Center of the Contract Research Organisation ICON/Aptiv Solutions.

From 2006 to 2010 he was Professor of Medical Statistics at King’s College London in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Before joining King’s he spent over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry working for CIBA-GEIGY, in the UK and Switzerland, ICI Pharmaceuticals (Zeneca) and Pfizer. 

Andy is a Fellow, Chartered Statistician and former president of the Royal Statistical Society; Fellow of the American Statistical Association and honorary life-member of Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry of which he is a past-Chairman and founder-member. 

Andy’s statistical research has been primarily concerned with the application Bayesian idea to the pharmaceutical industry. Latterly he has concentrated on the design and implementation of Bayesian adaptive trials, and the Probability of Success (PoS) of studies and drug development programs. He has published over 140 articles and is the author of two books. The first, for non-statisticians involved in clinical trials is entitled “FAQ's on Statistics in Clinical Trials”. The second “Hybrid Frequentist / Bayesian Power and Bayesian Power in Planning Clinical Trials”. He has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences on over 300 occasions. 


In this session, I will be picking out a number of examples from my archives to show the value of having learnt the practice of statistics in an era not dominated by ever quicker computers.   I will continue with a theme I first put forward at an ISCB meeting in Basel in 1994 that our first thought when considering a new problem should not be to immediately resort to a computer to solve it.  This may be sacrilegious in an era of machine learning and artificial intelligence but then I have remained a statistician and have not become a data scientist.


Upcoming Events

Latest Jobs