Former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office joins world-leading team of modern slavery experts

 Slavery MA
08 Jan 2018 16:54:41.723

Professor Sir Bernard Silverman FRS, a pioneer of computational statistics, has joined a world-leading group of modern slavery experts at the University of Nottingham.

Sir Bernard has joined the Rights Lab and the University’s School of Politics and International Relations as Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics. The Rights Lab is a University Beacon of Excellence with over 100 team members and delivers research to help to end global slavery by 2030.

From 2010 to 2017, Sir Bernard was the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Home Office where he provided scientific advice to three Home Secretaries and their ministers across the full range of Home Office policy areas.

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Prior to joining the Home Office, he undertook work for a number of other government departments and public bodies, as well as having a distinguished career in academia as a statistician. He is currently Chair of the Technology Advisory Panel and Chair of the UK Research Integrity Office.

His research has ranged widely across theoretical and practical aspects of statistics, and he is widely recognised as a pioneer of computational statistics, researching the ways that computing power has changed our ability to collect, analyse, understand and use data.

After studying mathematics and then statistics at the University of Cambridge, he went on to hold senior academic and leadership posts at the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Oxford.

One of Britain’s most cited mathematicians for several decades, he is the recipient of the premier award of the American statistical societies and two Guy Medals of the Royal Statistical Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Academy of Social Sciences, and former President of the Royal Statistical Society.

His main research area is now in modern slavery, building on his work for the Home Office in producing the first scientific estimate of the prevalence of modern slavery in the UK.

His estimate of 10,000 to 13,000 victims played a pivotal role in the launch of the strategy leading to the Modern Slavery Act 2015. He is involved in developing the methodology further and applying it worldwide.

He is also a member of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel and the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Modern Slavery.

Professor Todd Landman, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “'I am delighted to welcome Professor Silverman to the Faculty and our School of Politics and International Relations. It is a great development for us to welcome such a distinguished academic to Nottingham at a time when its new research strategy includes a direct focus on combating modern slavery. Professor Silverman's work on the statistics of modern slavery will help add to our methodological prowess in this important policy area and his presence will help our researchers maximise the impact of their work.'”

Professor Sir Bernard Silverman said: “The fight against modern slavery is one of the major challenges facing us today. It needs to supported by the best possible research and evidence. I am delighted to be joining Nottingham’s world class multidisciplinary centre whose work will, I hope, make a real difference to the lives of some of the most unfortunate people in the world.”

Sir Bernard was knighted in the New Year Honours List 2018 for public service and services to science.

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


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More information is available from Professor Zoe Trodd, Director of the
University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab on

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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