As I am sat at ITT5 with 60 students/academics and industrial partners sat around me working on problem formulation for Syngenta and Roche, I thought it might be a good time to do a ‘Blog of Blogs’ to give an update of what was blogged about last year and what will *hopefully* be blogged about this year - especially as I can't help out with the mathematical side of things here.

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In May 2016 Matthew Thomas, from our first intake of students, wrote about his public engagement experiences since being part of SAMBa. He joined up with CSCT on their public engagement module which involved presenting at Cheltenham Science Festival and Bath Taps into Science.

In July 2016 Aoibheann Brady, from our second intake, participated in the RSS Statistical Ambassador Programme. This is a pilot scheme set up to help develop the public communication skills of a selected cohort of UK-based professional statisticians. This involved a day in London with other statisticians, and there have been follow up meetings since.


For SAMBa students, the first year contains a compulsory module Student Led Symposium (SLS) to help them develop skills for SAMBa unique Integrative Think Tanks (ITT) and meet the industrial partners attending the next ITT. Owen Pembery explained what this actually is, after he spent a semester organising it.

This was followed nicely by Ben Robinson, who went on to write about his experience at ITT4 and how he was proven wrong about his ability to contribute to the problem formulation (to find out more click here). This ITT involved partners from Astra Zeneca and NHS's Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD).Capture2

At the end of their first year, the students write a Thesis Formulation Report, which meant they were all very busy, working hard and this gave us a bit more time. This allowed for Centre Manager Susie Douglas to interview one of our co-directors Andreas Kyprianou on his links with Mongolia which started back in 1998, how he sees this developing further and how he met one of our cohort 3 students Tsoogii - it is relevant honestly, there was a trip being planned for November but more on that later.

After the Thesis Formulation Reports are finished, the students give a presentation on their work and future PhD research. Susie Douglas wrote a brief overview of the students and their topics.

But it is not all about reports and presentations, as Adwaye Rambojun described his first conferences covering statistics, applied mathematics, data science and machine learning, uncertainty quantification (UQ) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). Adwaye explains how completely different each of these were and resulted in him comparing the food at each…apparently non-mathematical conferences win that one!

Robbie Peck builds on this a bit more, and brings us back to building links in Mongolia. Robbie explains why 10 students and academics went to visit in Mongolia and what they got up to whilst they were there…I was jealous until Susie messaged me to say it was -40degrees!!!


What I forgot to mention earlier is we also started a competition on the best blog of the year and had the winner decided by the Faculty of Science Marketing and Comms Team. The winner of this was Adwaye Rambojun’s 'My first conferences: A SAMBa Story'. Congratulations!

The marketing teams' comments were

We thought this blog post was the best post of 2016 because we felt we were on a personal journey with the writer, sharing their excitement about their conference experiences. We liked that the writer was open about finding the experience quite daunting, being surrounded by real subject experts, yet was confident enough to suggest to medical consultants that he could run a stats session to help them better understand data science.

We also thought the post was funny, with good use of images and links. The Faculty Marketing and Communications Manager, Simone Dumergue, commented: “His blog conveys the diversity of applications for applied mathematics (both the topics and the different sectors), and the really interesting exposure that he is able to have as a SAMBa student.”

And there was a special mention to runner-up Owen Pembery with “What is a Student-Led Symposium”

We thought this was engaging from the outset. In a relatively short post Owen highlighted the diverse range of what SAMBa students work on. The post is easy and fun to read through, also through the use of images.

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That is the blogs from 2016 rounded up, so it is now time to talk about the ones that will *hopefully* be coming up this year *hint hint nudge nudge*.

Next week we have SAMBa's first away day, where all students and members of the management team get a day out of the office to do some public engagement training, followed by a team building activity and probably get to eat some more nice food – the activity is 'Locked in a room' so hopefully we all make it! If we do, Susie has promised to do another interview style blog with co-director Paul Milewski on his links to Brazil (which luckily they got to visit last week).

One of our students is currently studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the spring semester – which will make an interesting read.

We then have a number of students attending a variety of winter/summer schools in some exotic places from Australia to Edinburgh to India, topics including Non-equilibrium processes on large deviations and Random walks in dynamical random graphs. There are also strong links with SAMBa and BUC which is a Bath collaboration with UNAM and CIMAT in Mexico and students are involved in organising and attending the workshops.

There will also be plenty more conferences attended, but most importantly there is the first ever SAMBa Summer Conference in June.

There are some more work related things that will be coming up as well (it’s not all just nice food, conferences and travelling) as part of the Student Led Symposium there will be an ethical discussion, as well as the latest ITTs and organisers' views of SLS. Students are also attending a number of the APTS (Academy for PhD Training in Statistics) courses at Cambridge, Oxford, Durham and Glasgow throughout the year.


SAMBa will also be hosting another 'Where’s The Maths?' event. This is where other departments around the University come to the Maths department and discuss their research to explore possible collaborations.

Our students have also joined up with the Mathletes group (a group of mathematics who like talking about maths and are trying to inspire the next generation to also like talking about maths). They will be doing this by taking part in different types of outreach, visiting schools and having a stall at Bath Taps into Science.

One of my missions for my role is to increase the number of joint CDT socials across Bath, which ties in quite nicely with a suggestion from our latest cohort for a blog about the cohort experience.

Now I think I have waffled on enough, but hopefully this has given an idea of what has happened in SAMBa in 2016 and what will be happening throughout 2017! I will be back soon with another update.


Posted in: Statistical Applied Mathematics


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