Our 'Statistics Are Vital' campaign

‘Statistics Are Vital’ is a joint campaign by the Royal Statistical Society and Significance magazine, celebrating the work of statisticians. For this series, we highlight the crucial contributions statisticians have made during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

We are looking to capture the achievements, experiences and struggles of those who were – and still are – central to our pandemic response, and through our interviews we learn how they coped with the pressures of having their work thrust into the national spotlight.  

Read our interviews with the following individuals:

Thomas Jaki, programme leader at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge and professor of statistics at the University of Lancaster

'Statistics as a whole has been phenomenal in doing what it does best – trying to interpret information in a meaningful way.'


Sarah Caul MBE, head of mortality analysis at the Office for National Statistics

‘With statistics, so much goes into one number – the amount of coders, the data managers, the analysts, the people who write the bulletins – so much goes into the process.’


Clare Griffiths, head of the UK Covid-19 dashboard at the UK Health Security Agency

‘Alongside the London Stock Exchange, the value of the pound and the weather forecast, the Covid dashboard is among the most important and high profile daily statistical publications in the UK right now.

Deborah Lyness, senior principal statistician at the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)

‘I think my team and I were all driven by the enormity of what was unfolding across the world and the need to help in the best way that we could…’

Steve MacFeely, director of data and analytics at the World Health Organization.

‘Covid has reminded us that independent science is really important. And statistics is part of that.’

Alison Pritchard, deputy national statistician and director general for data capability at the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

‘I want to be ready to answer questions we don't yet know we need to know. That's really what our data capability drive is

Manira Ahmad, former Head of local intelligence support (LIST) at Public Health Scotland (now Chief Officer at PHS).

‘Together we can make a difference, supported by data and insights’