Statistics Advice Centre


For many years the Statistics Group, operating within the Department of Mathematics, has offered a statistical analysis and advice service to commercial organisations, as well as to internal researchers and postgraduate students at the University of Surrey.

The service is able to perform or advise on the statistical tasks associated with research projects. For full contact and personnel details please see our contact us page.

Statistical Advice Service

The statistical advice is provided on a one-to-one basis to postgraduates, researchers and staff members at the University of Surrey. 

In order for us to keep detailed timesheets, all applicants will need to fill in a brief form to be signed by their supervisor/line manager and a budget holder prior to arranging an appointment.

FEPS and FHMS applicants please click here to download the application form

FASS applicants please click here to download the application form.

Research Grant Application advice, in particular for Sample Size calculations      

The Statistical Advice Centre is able to offer guidance on the calculation of required sample sizes for proposed research. This is an essential feature of any grant application and is examined rigourously by ethics committees such as the Animal Welfare Ethics Review Board (AWERB) at the University of Surrey.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds the Research Design Service (RDS) to provide research design and methodological support to health and social care researchers across England to prepare applications in applied health research, for submission to the NIHR and other national peer reviewed funding programmes. Advice is confidential and free of charge. NIHR Research Design Service South East (RDS SE) covers the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex; the Surrey site is based in FHMS at the University of Surrey.

Statistical advice from the RDS SE is provided as part of a package of wider support. For further information, and to register for support visit

For informal enquiries, please contact Kay Stephenson

Please note that the RDS cannot provide support to students (undergraduates or postgraduates). Students in need of research support and advice should liaise with their supervisors.

Should a proposal (typically a non-clinical one) not be eligible for RDS SE input, more limited free advice (typically in relation to quantitative statistical issues such as required sample sizes) is available directly from the Statistics Advice Centre to University of Surrey staff and postgraduate students, dependent upon the Faculty/Department of the Lead Investigator.

Please email for further details.

Academic & external research

For full details of the academic research work of our Statistics personnel, please see the Statistics Research Group's web page.

In addition, collaborative research takes place with personnel from many other departments. A recent example involves nutrition personnel in the School of molecular and Biological Sciences, to whom we provided expert assistance on stepwise logistic regression. This enabled the identification, from a substantial data set on the feeding patterns of a large number of premature babies, of a model to predict the incidence of eczema within 12 months from birth. The appearance in this model of controllable items such as number of different solid foods led to the derivation of feeding recommendations for improved health in premature babies. Furthermore, publication was achieved in a high ranking academic journal.

Rewarding collaborations with external parties also take place frequently. For instance Cephalon, a local biopharmaceutical company, approached us for statistical assistance in analysing the results of an extensive clinical trial. From their point of view, access to our Statistics personnel provided them with expert statistical analysis without the commitment of the long term employment of a professional medical statistician. From our point of view, exposure to current practices in drug safety trials expanded our knowledge of statistical procedures required in the commercial world.

Unfortunately owing to the recent high level of demand for statistics advice within the University, we are unable to provide help to external individuals and companies at the present time.

Further details

The service is able to perform a full range of tasks associated with all aspects of a research project. These include:

  • Quotes for statistical analysis for inclusion in project proposals
  • Statistical advice on required sample sizes
  • Assessment of study protocol and of the possible need for a pilot study
  • Statistical reviews of previous studies and of relevant literature
  • Advice on design of questionnaires/clinical report forms
  • Data collation
  • Construction of data coding schemes
  • Data entry : advice on the use of an appropriate spreadsheet/database
  • Data validation (checking data for errors)
  • Statistical analyses, including graphical output if required
  • Provision of bespoke statistical software, including documentation

Whilst the amount of help we can give on some items may be limited (for instance the important issue of sample size is often determined purely by logistical considerations), we are always available for short sessions to offer advice on any of the items above. In particular, a brief review of your questionnaire design may lead to enhancements which will enable a much more incisive statistical analysis after the data have been collected.

Finally, please be aware that all Statistics Advice Centre staff have other work commitments, ranging from teaching related duties to involvement in major research projects. Consequently, although an initial response to any statistical query should arrive within a few working days, it may occasionally be several weeks before the staff member who is most suited to the query is available for a face to face meeting. Consequently, planning ahead for the statistical element of any project is essential.

Consultancy charges for external clients

As of 1st December 2013, all statistical advice to external medical researchers is charged for at 60 pounds sterling per hour, or 450 pounds sterling per day, + VAT . Note that VAT is not chargeable if the work is being paid for from within the University, however VAT will be charged for all external consultancy.  

External companies are charged 600 pounds sterling per day + VAT (or 80 pounds sterling per hour + VAT), with substantial discounts (up to 20%) for projects requiring more than 5 days of work.

Additional charges are made for travelling time and expenses, should meetings be necessary outside of the University. At the first consultation the total number of hours will be estimated, according to the extent of the required data handling, statistical analyses and report format. An invoice is dispatched upon completion, with payment requested within 4 weeks.

Note however that assistance to external companies is subject to staff availability.

Articles for publication

When collaborating on research papers, co-authorship is not normally necessary, although an acknowledgement for statistical assistance is always appreciated. Co-authorship might be suggested, however, where statistical support is complex and/or substantial.

Statistical computing

In the field of statistical computing, a variety of tasks can be undertaken. These include data entry and validation, typically in connection with clinical trials or other medical studies. Also, we have considerable experience in advising on the usage of spreadsheet packages for data collection, and in accessing large computerised databases for data retrieval.

For full details click here.

Recommended statistics text books

Click here for some recommended statistics books for non-statisticians.

Directions - How to find us and what to bring

Click here for a map and suggestions for meeting agenda.

Past work for industry, commerce and the public sector


  • Analysis of fibre breaks in composites
  • Crack growth problems in airframes
  • Strengths of steel structures and welded joints
  • Extreme value theory methods for prediction of dispersion, threshold boundaries and field connectivity
  • Modelling high resolution X-ray diffraction data

Health and Safety

  • Co-investigator on feeding practices for low birth weight infants (funded by Cow and Gate) and a systematic review of weaning (funded by Nestle)
  • Identification of factors affecting back pain in the retail industry
  • Time to event methods (environmental toxicology)
  • Health study of respiratory disease in relation to area of residence (funded by BAA)
  • Collaboration on three NHS-funded systematic reviews
  • Analyses of pharmaceutical data
  • Analyses of infection prevalence levels
  • Retrieval/analysis of healthcare data from patient administration systems
  • Models and diagnostics for flow cytometric data
  • Co-investigator on BBSRC project on Bioprocess Design (1997-01)

Electronics, Computing & Mathematics

  • Application of extreme value theory to multi-channel communications systems
  • Rutherford backscattering
  • Defect detection in ceramic tiles
  • Implementation of reversible jump McMC for modelling mobile satellite communications channels
  • Extremes of solutions of complex turbulence models with applied mathematicians
  • Academic partner in a Teaching Company Scheme (1996-99) with IML Ltd of Liphook on artificial intelligence and application of computer-intensive methods
  • Small satellite reliability

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