Lancaster student appointed for prestigious Royal Statistical Society role

Eleanor D'Arcy
Eleanor D'Arcy

A Lancaster University student has been chosen for a prestigious role helping to encourage the next generation of statisticians.

Eleanor D’Arcy, a PhD student at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistics and Operational Research with Industry (STOR-i), has been selected by the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) for a ‘William Guy Lectureship’.

The William Guy Lectureship is a prestigious volunteer role intended to celebrate the importance of engaging with schools and inspiring children about statistics from an early age. Named in honour of William Augustus Guy, an early medical statistician and past RSS president, the William Guy Lectureships started in 1999.

Following an open call and competitive selection process, Eleanor was selected as one of three William Guy Lecturers for the academic year 2023-24. Impressively, Eleanor is the only graduate student selected for this role.

The lecturers have been tasked to prepare a talk on the theme of ‘Climate Change and Environmental Statistics’. Eleanor will deliver her talk to sixth form students nationally.

She said: “The theme fits perfectly with the research I have done in my PhD, developing statistical methods for extreme sea level estimation.

“Sea level rise and changes in weather conditions due to climate change have increased the risk of coastal flooding. It is increasingly important that we can accurately estimate sea levels to determine how high we need to build coastal defences such as sea walls. Extreme sea levels that pose a threat to coastline communities have not yet been observed, we therefore need to predict levels beyond the range of observed data, which requires statistical modelling. I will discuss the importance of statistically modelling extreme events and demonstrate how this is fundamental in our fight against climate change.”

As well as raising awareness of the practical applications that statistics has in the real world in tackling huge problems such as climate change, Eleanor also wants to help improve female representation within the fields of mathematics and statistics.

“I applied for the role because I am incredibly passionate about research, impact and outreach; this has been recognised and supported by my EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (STOR-i CDT).

“Outreach has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy challenging school students’ preconceptions on what it means to be a mathematician whilst demonstrating how what they learn in class can be applied in the real world. As a woman in STEM, I have had my personal struggles with underrepresentation. I am driven to challenge biases and pave an easier path for the next generation of female mathematicians. Speaking to young people is a fundamental part of this. The William Guy lectureship allows me to continue inspiring underrepresented school students. I find connecting with younger mathematicians to be especially motivating and I think I am a relatable role model for the next generation.”

STOR-i Co-Director, Professor Idris Eckley, said: “The Centre is very proud of Eleanor’s achievements, and are delighted that her work has been identified by the Royal Statistical Society as a way to inspire the next generation of researchers.”

More information about the William Guy Lectureships are available by visiting (

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