Gwern Owain Bursary Scheme

Why the scheme exists

Gwern Owain joined STOR-i in 2013 having completed a Mathematics degree at Cardiff University. He obtained an MRes in Statistics and Operational Research in 2014, and he started a PhD in statistical modelling for low-count time-series, supervised by Nikos Kourentzes and Peter Neal. Gwern died from leukemia in October 2015.

In recognition of Gwern’s happy experiences in STOR-i, his family (Robin, Eirian and Erin) has very generously offered STOR-i substantial funding in Gwern’s name. The funding provides bursaries for students to help understand and address humanitarian and environmental problems they wouldn’t have considered in their PhD, reflecting Gwern’s strong personal interests.

Activities that the STOR-i students have undertaken in memory of Gwern can be found in the following links:

What the scheme funds

The purpose of the bursary is to fund Statistics and Operational Research work by STOR-i students that improves humanitarian or environmental causes: doing good for people or the planet in some form.

Examples of what it could fund, include:

  • Attendance at humanitarian/environmental meetings, when existing funds wouldn’t naturally have covered this.
  • A short period to step outside the PhD and use statistics and operational research skills in some form of humanitarian/environmental cause, e.g., to do an analysis for a relevant group or to self fund an internship.
  • Funding for group activities for students on a humanitarian theme, e.g., schools visit to interest pupils in environmental/ethical Statistics and Operational Research.

Funding and Reporting Process

There is a deadline of 4pm 1st September annually, with bids to be submitted to the Director. However, if the proposed project or student has particular time limiting features then those bids can be submitted at any time. In such cases it is best to discuss this possibility with the Director in advance.

The bid document (1 page max) should explain what is intended to be done, how it will benefit the student awarded, and to provide outline breakdown of how the funding will be used.

Typically successful proposals will be £1K in value, though exceptionally we would be willing to consider proposals of up to £2K (assuming a suitable justification is provided).

Decisions on which bids to fund will be made by a panel consisting of two representatives from STOR-i Management Team, Phil Jonathan (Shell and a close friend of the Owain family), with input from the Owain family as required.

Successful Awards

2016 Awards:

Jamie-Leigh Chapman: To work with the Vegan Society, to analyse survey data, helping them develop a profile for the characteristics of vegans and understand regional differences in their numbers. The Vegan Society plan to use this information in a drive to increase veganism in the UK. Award £1K.

Emma Stubington: To work with Coeliac UK, to undertake data analysis that will contribute to evidence supporting their campaign to stop clinical commissioning groups restricting, or even removing, gluten-free prescription services. Award £1K.

Elena Zanini: To work with Mercy Corps (a global humanitarian aid agency) to improve understanding of why people in certain parts of the world use violence. With this understanding, aid programmes can more effectively address these factors and thereby reduce violence. Award £1K.