The Early Years of the Medical Research Council's Biostatistics Unit: Science and People


  • 04 February 2013
  • The Statistical Laboratory, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge
  • Organiser: The Cambridge Statistics Discussion Group
  • Contact: Peter Watson
  • E-mail:
  • Event Details

Abstract: The Medical Research Council's (MRC) Biostatistics Unit is approaching its centenary, having been established in 1914. In the UK, the development of medical statistics as a discipline has been closely linked to the Unit's development. In this talk, I will consider the scientific and political contexts which contributed to the establishment of the Unit. In addition, the lives and work of the first two Directors of the Unit, John Brownlee and Major Greenwood, will be discussed. Their scientific contributions and leadership roles will be highlighted. The roles of two other members of the Unit during these early years will also be examined, one individual well known, Austin Bradford Hill, and one less well known, Hilda Mary Woods.

Speaker: Prior to moving to the MRC Biostatistics Unit in 2001, Vern Farewell held professorial positions at the University of Washington, the University of Waterloo and University College London. He has published widely in the statistical and medical literature and is co-author of the four editions of the book "Using and Understanding Medical Statistics". Since 2007, he has been Editor of "Statistics in Medicine". His current research has a primary focus on the analysis of observational longitudinal data

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