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Edinburgh Local group
Archives: 2002-2003


Tuesday 15th October 2002 at 6pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

Statistics:  A Driving Force in the Funding of Further and Higher Edcation
David Wann, Scottish Further Education Funding Council (SFEFC) and Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC).

SFEFC and SHEFC are the Councils which are responsible for providing the core public funds to support the FE Colleges and the Higher Education Institutions in Scotland.  The Councils collect and publish statistics, and are also major users of statistics to inform their funding and other policies.   The talk will discuss the important role of statistics in the work of the Further and Higher Education Funding Councils, and will cover:  the distribution of funding;  monitoring service delivery;  measuring performance;  and more generally publishing statistical information about many aspects of further and higher education.

Download a PowerPoint presentation of this talk


Tuesday 5th November 2002 at 5.30pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

Small Area Estimates of Income
Jane Longhurst & Patrick Heady, Office for National Statistics (ONS)

There is a specific and increasing interest from government, local authorities and other bodies in obtaining income data at the smallest possible geographical level.  The need for this data comes principally for the effective distribution of resources and identification of areas of deprivation.  For a number of reasons a question on income was not included in the 2001 Census.  Alternative methods for obtaining data on income at the small area level were identified by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and one such option was the use of small area estimation methodologies.

As part of its Small Area Estimation Programme, the Methodology and Quality Division at the ONS has been developing a model-based approach for producing small area estimates of social survey variables using auxiliary data from administrative and census sources to enable the borrowing of strength between similar areas.  This research is now being published.

This presentation will describe the general small area estimation methodology developed by the ONS and discuss how this general methodology has been applied to the specific problem of estimating income at the ward level for Great Britain.



Tuesday 3rd December 2002 at 6.00pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh

Classification of Single Malt Whiskies
David Wishart, Department of Management, University of St. Andrews

A thousand tasting notes were reviewed for 86 single malt whiskies, from which a vocabulary of 500 aromatic and taste descriptors was compiled and a standardised flavour profile of 12 sensory features developed.  The principal malt whiskies of all the Scottish distilleries were then profiled and clustered into ten groups according to flavour, and 3 industry surveys were conducted to test the new classification which is now fully endorsed by the producers.

The results have been published in "Whisky Classified: Choosing Single Malts by Flavour", the first book to classify single malt whiskies by flavour.  It is a consumer-friendly guide that takes the confusion and guesswork out of whisky-buying, and aims to help the novice or present-buyer make the right purchase of Scotland's national drink.  It is also an interesting application of statistical methodology for a non-statistical readership. The talk covers the history of whisky in Scotland and how the production and maturation processes influence the flavour.  It concludes with a taste of Ardbeg, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Macallan, Highland Park and Scapa.



Tuesday 14th January 2003 at 6.00pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

The application of statistics to marketing at the Royal Bank of Scotland
Dougy Watt and Lynne Young (RBS)

For a statistician working within the retail-banking environment of the Royal Bank of Scotland the wealth of data available on our customers is one of our main resources. The main skill required of our analysts is not in the design of experiments or collection of data, but rather in developing innovative approaches to extract knowledge and understanding from the data that we hold. This talk is aimed at giving an insight into the variety of areas in which statistical methodology is currently being applied within RBS Retail Marketing.


Tuesday 18th March 2003 at 6.00pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

Projecting the Prison Population

Katy Barratt and Venetia Radmore (Scottish Executive)



Wednesday 9th April 2003  4-6pm, Paterson's Land, 1.26, Old Moray House, Holyrood Campus, Edinburgh.

This is an Edinburgh Local Group Joint meeting with The Social Research Association Scotland

Ethics in research: a question of perspective
Stephen Senn (University College London)

Highlights some provocative issues around The misunderstood placebo in relation to the recent revision of the Declaration of Helsinki on clinical trials.
Carol Horne (Multi-centre Research Ethics Committee)

Reflects on ethics in practice in relation to her experience as a lay member of the Ethics Committee.
There will also be a surprise speaker presenting a perspective on ethics in the social sciences.

Tuesday 13th May 2003 at 6.00pm, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

Do we need statisticians in the 21st century?
Derek Pike (Royal Statistical Society)

This talk will explore, through anecdote and example, the changing role of the statistician over the last 40 years - and will debate the view that the professional statistician has no relevance to today's scientific and industrial needs.

Followed by the AGM.



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