The 40th research students’ conference (RSC) in probability and statistics took place from April 18th to April 21st 2017 in the Calman Learning Centre, Durham University. The RSC is a large annual conference that is organised by PhD students for PhD students in any field relating to probability or statistics. Being a student conference, the RSC provides delegates with a friendly and relaxed environment to discuss research and exchange ideas.
This year was the second time RSC has been in Durham (with the first time being back in 2007), and it was a triumphant success. 68 delegates attended the conference from a large number of universities across the UK and Ireland. Almost every delegate gave a talk or poster presentation at the conference, with a wide range of topics covering many aspects of probability as well as both frequentist and Bayesian methods being covered, for example medical statistics, statistical modelling, non-parametric inference and stochastic processes to name but a few. We had four distinguished guest speakers giving plenary talks: Professor Denise Lievesley (Principal of Green Templeton college, University of Oxford), Professor Nicholas Bingham (Imperial College, London), Professor Michael Goldstein (Durham University) and Dr. Peter Avery (Newcastle University). These talks were very inspiring, covering both the speakers’ fascinating careers as wells fundamental research areas of probability and statistics.
In addition to the academic aspect of the conference, a number of social events were organised to bring the postgraduate community together to establish friendships and showcase the beauty of the historic city of Durham. A combined posters and sponsors event allowed delegates to present their posters and sponsors, from both research and industrial backgrounds local and national without whom the conference would not have be possible, to advertise their companies. Other events included a trip to the cathedral, a tour of Durham castle and a fun-filled mathematically themed quiz, with the whole week culminating in a conference dinner and ceilidh in the great hall of Durham castle – a truly magical experience that the delegates will be unlikely to forget!
RSC 2017 was a great success, with feedback from delegates being very positive and indicated their appreciation of such a smooth flowing, informative and fun conference. RSC 2017 has hopefully left all those present with newly established research ideas and newly established friendships, along with fantastic memories. Focus now already turns towards next year’s gathering in Sheffield which promises to be equally entertaining and informative.