Mathematics and Statistics Consultancy

The department engages widely with organizations outside academia, including agencies such as FERA and CEFAS, professional bodies such as the IFA, and industrial partners such as Barclays Investment Bank, BAE Systems and BT.

Our staff are always interested in collaboration and consultancy. If your organization has a mathematical or statistical problem and would like to explore the possibility of solving it together with us, please contact our Impact and Engagement Coordinator Marina Knight, Head of Department Niall MacKay, or Head of Statistics Wenyang Zhang.


Examples of recent work include:

Chemometric methods for metabolomics:

York mathematicians developed data processing algorithms in response to problems identified by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). Our algorithms are used routinely at FERA in food safety and authentication studies, and include two-stage genetic programming for feature selection and an adaptive binning routine for 1H NMR data, now incorporated into a Matlab-based toolbox used by FERA for metabolomic analyses. Other methods developed at the University in collaboration with FERA include t1 noise removal in HSQC spectra and a peak modelling algorithm that allows 2D NMR spectra to be used in metabolomic studies. A joint University-Fera informatics group has been set up to facilitate further collaborative projects.

Drop-finding in dynamic light scattering (DLS):

Molecular Dimensions has developed instrumentation for identifying the existence of crystals in multiple-well plates using a laser method: the laser must find the well, and hit the drop of liquid in which the crystal is found. York mathematicians developed software to automatically identify the centre and minimum radius of the drop in real time.

Photographic analysis:

Langleys Solicitors approached the Department for assistance with a dispute between their client, a local farmer, and the insurers of a hot air balloon company. The livestock had stampeded when a balloon approached too close; we used a photograph taken by one of the witnesses to give a good estimate of the range and altitude of the balloon. This resulted in a four-fold increase in the compensation award, and the story was featured widely in national media, including ITV Calendar News, Radio5 Live, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Farmers' Weekly and as far afield as the New Zealand Herald.


Note that for research staff within the University of York, we run a Statistics Helpdesk.