Center of Statistics and Development


To some we are statistical analysts, to others we are data scientists or statistical consultants. Whatever terminology you prefer, what characterises and drives us is identifying and using the best statistical tools to achieve greater understanding, improve decision making and solve practical problems for our clients.

A statistical consultant provides a range of services to clients including statistical advice, analysis and training. Clients can come from a wide variety of subject areas including business, medicine, environment and government, but they all have one thing in common; they wish to collect and analyse data to make evidence-based decisions.

There are three possible ways in which you can be employed as a statistical consultant. You can work in a commercial statistical consultancy company, as part of a university statistical unit or as a freelancer. The key difference for a freelance consultant is that they are self-employed.

The role of a statistical consultant can be varied. Consultants are responsible for liaising with clients, delivering statistical analysis and research, and for providing statistical training, advice and support.

The start of a typical project will often involve liaising with a client to define its scope. For example, does the client require advice so that they can carry out analysis themselves or would they like you to analyse their data for them? At this stage it is common to write up a detailed proposal of the work including what data will be required, the methods that will be used, the deliverables and the timeline for completion. Once the project has started the consultant will carry out the analysis, advice or training in the agreed time frame. Effective communication is an essential part of the role and a consultant must ensure that any client reports or presentations are clear, concise and intelligible and do not contain any unnecessary technical detail. Overall, the length of a project can vary significantly from anything between 1-2 days to many months.

Statistical consultants often provide bespoke statistical analyses tailored specifically to the requirements of their clients. This means that the techniques used will often differ from one project to another (especially when working with clients from a variety of different sectors).