Professor Sir Bernard Walter Silverman FRS

Click here for details of publications and a full list

1970–73         Undergraduate, Jesus College, Cambridge
1973–74         Graduate Student, Jesus College, Cambridge
1974–75         Research Student, Statistical Laboratory, Cambridge
1975–77         Research Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge
1976–77         Calculator Development Manager, Sinclair Radionics Ltd
1977–78         Junior Lecturer in Statistics, Oxford University and
1977–78         Weir Junior Research Fellow of University College, Oxford
1978–80         Lecturer in Statistics, University of Bath
1981–84         Reader in Statistics, University of Bath
1984–93         Professor of Statistics, University of Bath
1988–91         Head of School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath
1993–2003    Professor of Statistics, University of Bristol
1999–2003     Henry Overton Wills Professor of Mathematics, University of Bristol
2000–03         Provost of the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol
2003–09         Master of St Peter’s College, Oxford 
2010–17         Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office
2018–             Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics, University of Nottingham [1]



I have also held senior/professorial fellowships at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford; and honorary/visiting appointments at the London School of Economics, Lancaster University, Green Templeton College and the University of Nottingham.  I now have the status of Emeritus Professor at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol


 Degrees and qualifications [2]


1973    Bachelor of Arts, Cambridge (Wrangler)
1974   Master of Mathematics [3], Cambridge (with Distinction)
1977   Doctor of Philosophy, Cambridge
1989   Doctor of Science, Cambridge
1993   Chartered Statistician, Royal Statistical Society
2000   Bachelor of Theology, Southampton [4] (First Class Honours)
2014–17         Honorary degrees listed below  


Awards and honours


1970      First Prize, International Mathematical Olympiad
1974      Mayhew Prize for Mathematical Tripos Part III, Cambridge
1976      Smith’s Prize, Cambridge University
1984      Royal Statistical Society Guy Medal in Bronze
1985      Special Invited Paper [5], Institute of Mathematical Statistics
1988      Technometrics Special Discussion Paper, American Statistical Association
1991      Presidents’ Award of American Statistical Association,  Institute of
         Mathematical Statistics, Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR) and
         Statistical Society of Canada for ‘the outstanding statistician under forty’
          (the COPSS award)
1993      Fulkerson Lecturer, Cornell University
1995      Royal Statistical Society Guy Medal in Silver
1997      Fellow of the Royal Society
1999      Special Invited Paper [5], Institute of Mathematical Statistics
2000      Corcoran Lecturer, Oxford University
2001      Member of Academia Europæa
2002      Original Member, Highly Cited Researchers database, ISI® [6]
2003      Honorary Fellow, Jesus College, Cambridge
2010      Honorary Fellow, St Chad’s College, Durham
2014      Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
2014–    Honorary DSc, St Andrews (2014), Lancaster (2016), Bath (2017), Bristol (2017)
2018      Knighthood for Public Service and services to Science


Past visiting appointments outside UK [7]


1978/9    Department of Statistics, Princeton University
1979        University of Paris VI
1980        Sonderforschungsbereich 123, University of Heidelberg
1981        Mathematics Research Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
1981        Department of Statistics, Johns Hopkins University
1984        Depts of Statistics and Biostatistics, University of Washington
1984        University of Frankfurt
1985        University of California, San Diego
1985        CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth
1987–2005        Department of Statistics, Stanford University [8]
1991        Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley
1997–98   Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California 




Major Professional Activities and Service 

Private and Public Sector and Government

UK Government prior to/in addition to/subsequent to appointment as Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser:  GM Science Review Panel, 2002–3.  Owner’s Advisory Board member (non-executive director) Defence Analytical Services Agency (1998–2009).    Consultant to the Statistics Commission, 2003.  Consultant to UK Government Inquiry (the ‘Lessons Learned’ Inquiry) into Foot and Mouth Epidemic, 2002.    Chair, Peer Review Panel on the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow, 2005–06. Prime Minister’s Task Force on Modern Slavery (2016– ). Chair, Technology Advisory Panel, Investigatory Powers Commission (2018– ).  Chair, Methodological Assurance Panel for Modernising the Census, Office for National Statistics (2018– ).

External consultancy and related work:   Industrial consultancies in statistics, micro-electronics and mathematics for companies concerned with stockbroking, calculator and computer design, aerospace, oil exploration, advertising, railway signalling.  A method designed for oil-well log interpretation was patented by the company involved. Consultancy on statistical aspects of legal cases (especially financial and forensic). Statistical advice to the press.  Advice to police in criminal cases. Substantial long-term consultancies with Nuclear Electric, National Audit Office, Ministry of Defence, Agilent Technologies, Mass Spec Analytical Ltd.  Radio and television programmes on statistics.  Interviews with press and radio.   Chief Scientific Adviser, PUBLIC.IO (2018– ). 

Learned Societies and Scientific Organisations

Royal Society:   FRS (1997).  Council Member (2009–10).  Working Group on the State of the Nation in the teaching of Science and Mathematics (2007–10; Chair 2008–10). Wolfson Merit Awards Committee (2006–09). Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships Committee A (1999–2004; chair 2003). Sectional Committee 1 (1998–2001; Chair 2001). Conference Grants Committee (1998–2001).  Research Grants Committee A (1997–2000, Chair 1999–2000).   Working Group on eligibility for Fellowship (2016-17).  Exhibitor, Summer Science Exhibition, 1999.   Organizer, Discussion Meetings, 1988 and 1999.  Diversity Committee (2016– ).

Institute of Mathematical Statistics:  President, 2000–01.   Fellow (1987).   Council (1991–94; 1997–2000; 2007–10.).   Special Invited Papers Committee (1986–88).   COPSS award nominating committee (Member 1995–97, Chair 1997).   Editor, Annals of Statistics (2007–09).   Many committees and working parties.  

Royal Statistical Society:  President, 2010.  Honorary Secretary (1984–90).  Council Member (1982–90).   Research Section Committee (1979–82), and numerous other committees and working parties, in particular the 1990 Working Party on Official Statistics.  Chair of Research Section (1991–93).  Chair of 1995 Publications review and 2011 Honours review. 

Other bodies:  Founding organizer of European Young Statisticians’ meeting, 1979.   Fellow of International Statistical Institute (1986).  Bernoulli Society European Regional Committee (member 1986–92, chair 1988–90).  Bernoulli Society Council (1999–2003).    Patron, Royal Institution Wessex Mathematics Master Classes.   Chair, Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom (2003–06).  Chair, United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (2004–10). British Academy Policy Centre Advisory Group (2010–13). Chair of Trustees, United Kingdom Research Integrity Office. (2014– ).  Board Member, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (2017– ). 

Research Advisory  

Editorial:  Editor, Oxford University Press Statistical Science Series (1983–87).  Associate Editor, Annals of Statistics (1982–85), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B (1980–84).  Editor of International Statistical Review (1991–96).  Editor, Chapman and Hall Monographs on Statistics and Applied Probability (1985–97) and Interdisciplinary Statistics Series (1993–97).  Editor, Wiley Statistics Series (1997–2001). Editorial Board, Inverse Problems (1998–2000).  Editor, IMS Bulletin (2002–06).  Editor, Cambridge University Press Statistics series (2003–09).   Editor, Annals of Statistics (2007–09). Founding Editorial Committee, Annual Reviews of Statistics and Its Application (2012–17).  

UK Research and Funding Councils: SERC Statistics Panel (1990–94).  EPSRC Mathematics College (1994–97 & 2000–03).  Frequent member and chair of grant awarding panels for EPSRC. Statistics Research Assessment Panel, HEFCE 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. Steering Group, International Review of UK Mathematics, 2003–4.  Chair, Subpanel 22 (Statistics) and Member, Panel F (Mathematics), HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise 2008.  Emerging Technologies and Industries Steering Group, Technology Strategy Board/Innovate UK (2012–16). Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council (2012–17).

Other national and international bodies: Frequent reviewer for (US) National Science Foundation, NSERC (Canada), Australian Research Council, etc.    Scientific Committee, EURANDOM, Netherlands (1997–2003).    Scientific Steering Committee, Isaac Newton Institute, 2003–6.   Advisory Board, Statistics Department, Carnegie Mellon University (member 2002, academic chair 2006) and National University of Singapore (2010).  Convenor, Physical Sciences Panel, Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise 2014. 

Oxford University

Oxford University Committees:   Council (2007–10).   Educational Policy and Standards Committee (2007–8).   Planning and Resource Allocation Committee (2008–10), and member of Budget Subcommittee.    Joint Resource Allocation Advisory Board (representing Chair of Conference of Colleges) 2008–09.    Supervisory Committee for Permanent Private Halls (2007–10).   Chair of Continuing Education Board (2008–10).  Nominating committee for external members of Council (2008–10).  Frequent review panels (eg Department of Mathematics, Oxford Internet Institute) and appointment panels (for both professorial and senior administrative appointments).   ICT strategy steering group (representing Conference of Colleges), 2005–06.   Distinctions Committee (merit awards for established professors) 2006–08.


About 150 published books, research articles and other outputs.  For details click here.


[1] 20% time

[2] I also hold the Cambridge MA degree and, by incorporation, the Oxford degrees of MA, DPhil and DSc. 

[3] Degree conferred 2011.  Formerly Part III of Mathematical Tripos. 

[4] Awarded through Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme, Salisbury.

[5] These are now termed ‘Institute Medallion Lectures’.

[6] According to a survey published in the Higher Education Guardian, I was the third most cited British mathematician in the period 1981 to 2000.  In the field of mathematics, I had the largest number of ‘highly-cited’ papers (defined as those in the top 1% of cited papers in the field).

[7] Almost all of these appointments were with some pay and were for periods of 1–3 months in each year shown.
[8] Frequent visitor (on average for two months every alternate year).