A Day in the Life of a Statistician

Tristan Curteis is a Statistician in our Manchester office and joined the company in 2018.


What did you do before joining Costello Medical?

I graduated from the University of York in 2016 with a BSc in Mathematics. As part of this, I spent a year at Université Paul Sabatier in France as part of the Erasmus Exchange Programme.

Following the completion of my undergraduate degree, I completed a two-year Master’s degree in Modelling and Data Analysis at the University of Oslo in Norway. The topic of my thesis was Focussed Model Selection for Longitudinal Data.

While undertaking my master’s, it was the exposure to medical data which inspired me to begin a career in the field of medical statistics.

I joined Costello Medical in September 2018 and was based in the Cambridge office, before relocating to the Manchester office in late 2019.

What do you like best about your role as Statistician?

It is the variety of project work and the application of mathematical and statistical understanding to health-related data that I enjoy the most. The combination of technical work and the communication of this to clients and colleagues is also something I love.

In reality, my work is just problem solving and, within that, decision making; decisions have to be made all day every day, from the very small to the large, such as “is a meta-analysis possible for this dataset?”. The work keeps you sharp and on your toes!

Collaborating cross-divisionally is also great to experience; combining clinical insight from other project team members and statistics is very stimulating.

How would you describe a typical day in the life of a Statistician at Costello Medical?

A typical day varies according to the projects we are working on at the time. Some stages of projects may involve programming for 80% of the day.

Some projects, such as feasibility assessments for network meta-analysis, may not involve any programming – the project is purely investigation and application of statistical methods. A lot of time is therefore spent working within Microsoft Excel, checking data, producing plots, etc.

On a daily basis, I will have catch-up meetings with other Statisticians and my project managers. We’ll work out the plan for the week and decide on what needs to happen in order to meet the needs of our clients. We’ll then keep in touch regularly throughout the week via email or Microsoft Teams, in order to keep each other updated on progress, as well as any roadblocks or difficulties we may have faced.

Often, I will be given ad-hoc tasks where I am asked to review coding; there may be R code completed by another Statistician which needs a quality control check. Doing this requires me to learn sufficient information about the task, which is often relayed by the Statistician via email or provided in additional materials like technical support documents, and then carry out the review to ensure the quality of our work is always high. This involves checking each line of code, input, output and the interpretation.

I also interact with our clients via email or teleconferencing. This can be in the form of a kick-off meeting at the start of a project, a general catch-up to update them on our progress or a wrap-up meeting at the end of the project to summarise our work and present this to the client.

Other components of my project work can involve writing up technical reports or statistical analysis plans and responding to ad-hoc statistics requests or providing support.