Sir Bernard Silverman FRS

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I am a statistician whose research has ranged widely across theoretical and practical aspects of statistics. One particular focus has been on computational statistics, researching the ways that computing power has changed our ability to collect, analyse, understand and utilise data. I have collaborated in many scientific fields, and with various areas of industry and government. After an academic career, I spent seven years as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office. I now work freelance, with roles including policy, consultancy, research and expert advice.

My portfolio encompasses geospatial and location data, official statistics, the fight against modern slavery and child sexual violence, security, and science and technology for policy, business and government.

  • If you want to contact me, please use this contact form
  • For a selection of talks, interviews and other media please visit my media page
  • Links to recent publications and to a full list are on my publications page
  • My register of interests includes a full list of current activities and affiliations.
  • A full CV is available here and a 600 word biographical sketch here

Geospatial Commission:  I chair the Geospatial Commission, an expert committee that sets the UK's geospatial strategy and promotes the best use of geospatial data. Its aim is to unlock the significant economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by location data and to boost the UK's global geospatial expertise.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): I am a member of the ESRC Council, which works with the Executive Chair to shape the ESRC’s strategy and to support the overall mission of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

National Statistics: I chair the National Statistician's Methodological Assurance Review Panel. The panel was initially set up to review and provide advice and assurance on methodological matters relevant to the 2021 Census.  Our work has now moved on to change programmes where new or revised statistical methods are being introduced, such as the 2023 Recommendation on the Future of Population Statistics, and the transformations of Household Financial Statistics and the Labour Force Survey.

Modern slavery: my work in this area (more details here) has centred, but not exclusively, on approaches to estimating prevalence, building on the pivotal role of a prevalence estimate in the strategy culminating in the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  I have been involved in wider research projects, as well as various national and international advisory activities

Childlight:  I am chair of the Technical Advisory Board of Childlight, which is based at the University of Edinburgh, and works with partners around the world to understand the prevalence, nature and scale of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST): POST is Parliament's in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public-policy issues related to science and technology. I am one of four non-parliamentary members of the Board, which oversees POST's objectives, outputs and programme of future work.

Academy for the Mathematical Sciences:  I am a member of the Executive Committee of the proto-Academy phase. This new Academy aims to be an authoritative and persuasive voice for the whole of the mathematical sciences.

Digital assistive technologies and inclusive data

I chair this Royal Society project to assess the role of data and digital assistive technologies (DigAT) in meeting the needs of people living with disabilities. DigAT is sometimes called ‘emerging’ or ‘intelligent assistive technology’, and can include hardware or software external to, worn on or implanted in the body (eg smart assistants, advanced hearing aids, automated lip reading).

UK-China TransparencyI am a trustee of this charity, which aims through research and publication to increase the transparency of relationships between the UK and China, especially those in the academic sphere.

Security:  I was the founding chair (up to 2022) of the Technology Advisory Panel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, whose office provides independent oversight of the use of investigatory powers by intelligence agencies, police forces and other public authorities.

Academic affiliation: I am an Emeritus Professor of Statistics in the University of Oxford.