Lancaster statistician first from UK to achieve a prestigious European accolade


22 March 2019 11:53
Dr Rebecca killick
Dr Rebecca killick

A Lancaster University statistician has become the first person from the UK to achieve the ‘Young Statistician of the Year Award’ by a prestigious European body.

The European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS) has selected Dr Rebecca Killick, a Senior Lecturer within Lancaster’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, to receive the annual award in 2019. It has been presenting the award since 2005.

Murat Caner Testik, President-elect of the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics, said: “Dr Rebecca Killick is selected as the recipient of the 2019 Young Statistician Award of the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics to recognise her accomplishments in introducing innovative methods, promoting the use of statistics and successfully using it in daily practice.”

Dr Killick’s research interest lies in developing new statistical models that can be used to tackle real-world challenges in areas such as health, environment and business, and her research is sponsored by a range of small, medium sized and large companies, as well as government organisations.

Dr Killick has been working with Howz, a local business, to rapidly deploy the latest advancements in Statistical Data Science to help people live independently, while letting those that matter to them know how they're doing. Howz quickly learns an occupant’s routine though unobtrusive sensors and electrical readings, and alerts users of any changes – which could indicate a problem.  

Jonathan Burr, Director of Howz, said: “With Rebecca's help we have transformed our ability to scale Howz to help potentially millions of people. Rebecca speaks our language and understands how to develop novel statistical methods to solve everyday business problems.”

Dr Killick is also passionate about enabling the benefits of her research breakthroughs to be spread widely through the form of open-source software and tutorials. 

A package on an area of statistics called ‘changepoints’ has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, used in more than 50 companies and cited more than 500 times.

Dr Alexander Belton, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Lancaster University, said: “This award is well-deserved recognition of the excellence of Dr Killick’s world-class research, and of the industrially-engaged work in statistics carried out by her and colleagues in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, which has impact far beyond the Lancaster campus.”

Dr Killick is a member of Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, an inter-disciplinary research grouping tackling data-driven research challenges.

Professor Idris Eckley, Co-Director of Lancaster’s Data Science Institute, added: “I am delighted that Dr Killick’s development of cutting-edge methods, and their effective translation into social and business impact, has been recognised by ENBIS. Such work is hugely important, enabling data to be turned into actionable insights that have the potential to transform people’s daily lives.”