NEWS27 October 2020

Statistical partnership to support UK’s pandemic response

Covid-19 Data analytics Healthcare News Public Sector UK

UK – The Royal Statistical Society and The Alan Turing Institute have partnered to provide data analysis and support the government’s response to Covid-19.


The partnership will provide independent analysis of NHS Test and Trace data through a new statistical modelling and machine learning virtual laboratory, to understand more about how the virus spreads across the country.

The organisations will work with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, which works with Public Health England to provide the government and local authorities with analysis about infection outbreaks.

Work done in the virtual lab will formalise the Turing Institute’s existing work with the JBC, including helping to shape its estimates of the current rate of spread in different areas and forecasting the future rate of spread, as well as increasing the centre’s analysis of which factors have the largest effect on the number of Covid-19 cases.

Clare Gardiner, director general, JBC, said: “By formalising this partnership, we will better support NHS Test and Trace in breaking the chains of transmission of the virus.”

Analysis will also include further examination of the effects of the various Covid-19 interventions to date. 

Sylvia Richardson, RSS president-elect and co-chair of the organisation’s Covid-19 task force, said: “Statistical modelling has a key role to play in giving us an insight into the spread of the virus, so we as statisticians can assist decision-makers with the policy decisions that affect us all.”

Chris Holmes, The Alan Turing Institute’s programme director of health and medical science, said: “Through independent, open science, rigorous modelling and analysis we will provide further understanding of this issue to the public and wider scientific community.”