BioSS specialises in the development and application of the quantitative methods needed to enhance scientific knowledge and impact.

Our Vision is: "to improve science & society through an understanding of variation, uncertainty and risk"

We are recognised internationally for our work at the interface between the mathematically-based sciences and a wide span of applied sciences covering agriculture and the rural economy, the environment, food and health.

Our principal funder is the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).

We are one of the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), working collectively to deliver a portfolio of strategic research and translational activities commissioned by RESAS.

Mark Brewer named BioSS Director

Mark Brewer

Congratulations to Mark Brewer, who became the Director of BioSS on 1 April 2018 when he took over from outgoing Director David Elston who said: "I think this is an excellent appointment and I am sure BioSS will continue to flourish under Mark's leadership".

With research interests covering Bayesian statistics, species distribution modelling, compositional analyses and structural equation modelling, Mark has brought statistical insight to projects in ecology, hydrology, soil science, analytical chemistry, product authenticity, socio-economics and forensic science.

Mark's national and international collaborations include work with Scottish Natural Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee on topics such as herbivore grazing and marine protected areas, and on statistical methodology with the University of Valencia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He also recently worked with New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries on a project to create a scientific definition for Manuka honey. He was elected to the Board of the International Biometric Society for the term 2017-2020.

Commenting on his appointment, Mark said:

"The scientific world is increasingly data-rich, so the data analysis and modelling skills at the heart of BioSS will continue to grow in importance, whether for scientific discovery, for informing policy or for improving profitability in the private sector."

"I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead BioSS in its work with SEFARI, the Scottish Government and its agencies in order to help deliver science-led policy."

"It is my ambition that by exploiting our growing expertise in emerging areas such as antimicrobial resistance and food product authenticity, and by building new relationships with organisations at home and abroad, BioSS will have increasing impact - from Scotland and the rest of the UK, through Europe to the other side of the world."

Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute which hosts BioSS on behalf the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI), commented: "I am delighted Mark is taking up this important leadership position and the James Hutton Institute will do everything it can to support him and BioSS staff in growing their reputation and being even more successful."

Research Consult Knowledge Exchange
Research Consult Knowledge Exchange


BioSS has an international reputation for its research in biomathematics and statistics and can draw on a wide range of expertise and experience... More »

BioSS is unique in the UK for combining in a single organisation a wide breadth both of methodological expertise and of experience in the application... More »

BioSS BioSS works closely with its collaborators and end-users to ensure the relevance of its activities, placing particular emphasis on understanding... More »


Where We Are

where we are

BioSS is located in five research centres in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Ayr. This reflects the geographical distribution of the institutes we collaborate most closely with. Our headquarters are at the Kings Buildings, Edinburgh which is the science campus of the University of Edinburgh. More »

Training for Scientists

trainingsessionBioSS has a well established suite of training courses. These courses allowing participants to improve their understanding of quantitative methods, to extend their ability to implement these methods using computer packages, and to develop their knowledge of non-standard situations which require expert intervention. More »

Postgraduate Research & Training

trainingsessionBioSS’s PhD programme plays an important role in training future generations of quantitative scientists. The research environment we provide in partnership with our co-supervisors allows students to develop their statistical, mathematical and computational skills in the face of challenging applications. More »