School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics


Current Projects


Academics from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics have many years of experience of delivering mathematical and statistical solutions to business and industry, working in a variety of different sectors including manufacturing, service, IT and healthcare. Some examples are provided below.

Current Projects

Demand forecasting at Northern Gas Networks

Our statistical researchers are collaborating with Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the regional gas distributor who deliver gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across Northern England.

The focus of one project is to improve high-frequency, short-term forecasting of gas demand at a number of sites (offtakes) where gas is removed from the National Grid for local use.

Every hour of the day at every offtake, hourly forecasts for the day ahead are required to balance supply and demand at a local level. More accurate predictions will reduce wasteful transportation of gas around the network; and automation of forecasting processes will improve efficiency. 

Northern Gas Networks logo

Innovative modelling for guiding Government policy

Our researchers are collaborating with the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to provide modelling capability on the spread of plant and tree disease.

The spread of contagious tree diseases threatens woodlands and urban trees in the UK and globally; recent epidemics affecting ash and chestnut trees have been covered extensively in the news.

The decimation of entire tree populations leads to dramatic ecological changes and can also pose profound socio-economic challenges.  

Applied mathematicians are working with Defra to provide innovative models to predict disease spread, develop strategies to mitigate epidemics, and guide national policy for protecting our tree species. 

Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs

Development and application of software for identifying traffic accident hotspots and evaluating road safety interventions.

Statistical algorithms by our researchers have been integrated within Newcastle University’s RAPTOR (Reactive Analytic Prediction Tool for Road safety) software, enabling for the first time robust methodologies for:

  • predicting collision hotspots on roads
  • evaluating site-based road safety interventions. 

To date, no such software exists for road safety practitioners, and RAPTOR implements cutting-edge methods which have been shown to be superior to more traditional methods for road safety hotspot prediction and road safety scheme evaluation.

The software was officially launched in March 2017 and is attracting global attention

Gary Perkin/

Completed Projects



Since 2001, we have regularly collaborated with Draeger Safety UK, an international leader in the fields of medical and safety technology. A series of consulting and training programmes have allowed Draeger to:

  • improve manufacturing efficiency
  • adopt more robust methodologies within research and development activities.
Training and coaching frameworks have been applied to:
  • address organisational change and workforce deployment issues
  • deliver technical tools and methodologies

Staff members, such as the board of directors, manufacturing managers, quality managers, senior and junior engineers, and the research and development team across various departments, have undertaken programmes of work. One programme implemented into the organisation was a statistical approach to testing new products that provided greater confidence in releasing product to the customer, and produced a guide for subsequent reliability testing across current and future products.

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Our Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Cloud Computing for Big Data was approached by AkzoNobel to explore how the huge data mountains generated by the company could be exploited to support its activities in the ship building sector. The aim was to assess the feasibility of extracting value from the data on the position of every ship worldwide. A team of four CDT students undertook the project, analysing the data in the 'cloud' over an eight-week period. This produced valuable findings that the company could harness to inform its commercial strategies using a combination of computing and statistical methods.

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Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is committed to a year on year reduction in infections such as MRSA bacteraemia. The trust approached the School for support in analysing monthly MRSA data, so that it had an independent forecast of the number of cases expected in the future.

consulting solution allowed NHS staff to:

  • analyse MRSA data through time using statistical software to identify significant statistical improvements in the number of cases of MRSA
  • create a mechanism based on Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts to monitor performance and forecast the numbers of MRSA cases expected in the future
  • have a better understanding of statistical analysis techniques relevant in the NHS environment.

Further work involved:

  • the development of a bespoke automated tool for analysing and reporting infection rate and infection control performance
  • a data collation system was developed that gathered data from clinical areas across the NHS trust and automatically imported the data into a data repository
  • the analysis component of the tool provided an objective measurement of infection rates and infection control performance, automatically analysing data and producing reports via time periods and clinical area.
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School staff delivered an improvement programme to Aviva, the global insurance company, at their corporate headquarters in London. The headquarters provides global IT & telecommunications support to the group’s 800 top executives. Key corporate staff were trained in statistical improvement tools and techniques and subsequently applied them within their work environment for business benefit.

Four major improvement projects were undertaken during the 6 month programme. These projects addressed key problems such as:

  • right first time delivery
  • configuration of IT devices
  • helpdesk service efficiency
  • IT procurement

Aviva identified the requirement for improved process efficiencies as a result of fierce competitive markets where cost efficiencies and operational effectiveness are fundamental to long-term success.

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