Statistician strikes Silver in Parliament for excellence in research

Marina Jiménez Muñoz, a PhD candidate in Statistics at the University, was awarded Silver at the STEM for BRITAIN 2019 competition in the House of Commons, winning a £1,250 prize.

Marina, together with 29 other mathematical scientists, was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to present her work in Parliament on the 13 of March 2019. She presented her poster on How do bird populations vary across Britain? Spatially-explicit Integrated population models, in the only national competition of its kind.

The research presented is a collaboration between the statistical ecology group at the University and the British Trust for Ornithology. She showcased her findings to politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition STEM for BRITAIN and was awarded second place.

STEM for BRITAIN aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.  

Marina, who studies in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science at Kent, said discussing how statistics can be used towards the improvement of species conservation and biodiversity management and presenting her research in Parliament was really exciting.: ‘To address the problems of biodiversity losses, we need a mechanistic explanation of observed population patterns. This can only be achieved through the use of sophisticated statistical models. We have been working hard on the development of these models which can be applied to data collected by volunteers and staff of the British Trust for Ornithology. I am very pleased to have won a silver award.’

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee said the annual competition is important because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists.

The competition is run by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, in collaboration with the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

It is supported financially by Research Councils UK, Warwick Manufacturing Group, the Clay Mathematics Institute, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, the Nutrition Society, the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Comino Foundation and the Society of Chemical Industry.