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Statistical Convergence

3 June 2016

Blog Post Author: Dr Mark Kelson, Research Fellow in Statistics

There is a comforting nature to randomness. It is one of those things in life on which you can rely, whether it be examining knife crime in London or exploring the distribution of the lottery numbers. It turns out that randomness is pretty predictable.

How reassuring it is then to discover that through the myriad influences that shape university life, the statistical areas that require attention in both the University of Namibia and Cardiff University are remarkably similar. Common problems include: a general shortage of statisticians, problems where statisticians are not included in the design stage, a need for power calculations, and training in writing statistics for publication. These are all things that are familiar to me in my current roles in Cardiff University and I am sure are shared across the UK and beyond.

It has been an extraordinary experience working with staff in UNAM over the past few days. Everyone we have met has been extremely generous with their time and expertise and it is difficult to keep track of how many exciting collaborations are being formed. Most meetings include significant areas of overlap being identified.

It has been eye-opening in many ways, not just for the similarities but for the differences. There are genuine hardships faced by UNAM students regarding shelter and food that are really not replicated in Cardiff. The challenges faced by UNAM staff in delivering cutting edge teaching and research are therefore that much greater. The levels of engagement have been extraordinary however, with every member of staff that I have met demonstrating an eagerness to do things better and improve standards. It has been incredibly inspiring to get to work alongside these colleagues and see how passionate they are about improving the educational opportunities for their students and increasing the quality of their research. It is something I will definitely be taking away with me.