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I joined the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh in September 2015 as the Thomas Bayes' Chair of Statistics. I was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales; in 2017 and a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2018. I am an active member of the wider statistical community with current positions of responsibility including President of the International Biometric Society (IBS), British and Irish Region (2019-20) (and vice-president in 2018 and 2021); Deputy Director of the National Centre for Statistical Ecology (NCSE) (2019+) and an elected member of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Council (2018-22). I am also a Turing Fellow (2016-20) at the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for Data Science and AI, headquartered at the British Library. Currently I act as an Associate Editor for Journal of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Statistics (JABES; 2012+), Biometrics (2017-19) and Royal Society's Open Science (2016-19). In 2017 I was one of the founding team that launched the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Statistics: Unlocking the World of Data. I am also a co-founder of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Statistics; launched in 2017, uniting statisticians and quantitative researchers across the three colleges of the University.


Research interests include (but not exhaustively):

  • Bayesian inference;
  • Analysis of capture-recapture data (including analysis of multi-state data; individual heterogeneity and random effects models; spatially explicit capture-recapture; incorporating memory; applications in ecology and epidemiology);
  • Multiple systems estimation and their application to hidden population, including modern slavery and problem drug users;
  • Integrated data analyses;
  • Missing data;
  • Hidden (semi-)Markov models/state-space models and their applications to ecology and healthcare data;
  • Efficient model-fitting tools.

See my publications for a list of my published papers and additional papers in submission. Many of these research areas are described in, or related to, the book "Bayesian Analysis for Population Ecology" by King, Morgan, Gimenez and Brooks.

To date I have successfully (co-)supervised eight PhD students (Nicolo Margaritella, Serveh Sharifi Fah, Hannah Worthington, Colin Millar, Toby Reynolds, Vanessa Cave, Glenna Nightingale and Ben Swallow).

Brief Academic Biography

I went to Bristol University in 1995 to study for a BSc in Mathematics with Statistics. I graduated with a First Class Honours degree and was awarded the Henry Ronald Hasse Prize in 1998. I returned to the University of Bristol to study for a PhD in Bayesian Model Discrimination in the Analysis of Capture-Recapture and Related Data, under the supervision of Steve Brooks and developed novel methodology for analysing both open and closed capture-recapture data for ecological and epidemiological data, respectively. Following completion of my PhD in 2001, I continued to collaborate with Steve Brooks, and began a research associateship in September 2001, at the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. This work primarily focused upon the analysis of wildlife populations in both the classical and Bayesian frameworks. From 2003-2005 I held an EPSRC postdoctoral research fellowship in Mathematics. I was appointed as a lecturer in Statistics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St. Andrews in 2003, and became a reader in 2010. I subsequently left the University of St Andrews to join the University of Edinburgh in 2015.

I have been an active contributor to the statistics community in a number of ways. During my reseach associateship at the Statistical Laboratory, I organised the Young Statistician's Meeting 2003 (YSM2003), which was held in Cambridge, jointly between the Statistical Laboratory and MRC Biostatistics Unit. The YSM2003 was jointly organised with Angela Wood, Richard Nixon and Ken Rice at the Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge. I was a member of the organising committee for the International Statistical Ecology Conference 2008 (St Andrews); a member of the Conference Programme Committee for the Royal Statistical Society Conference 2009 (Edinburgh) and a member of the scientific committee of the 3rd Channel Network Meeting of the International Biometric Society in 2011 (Bordeaux). The 4th Channel Network Meeting took place in St Andrews from 3-5th July, 2013, where I was the chair of the local organising committee and a member of the scientific committee. I was a member of the local organising committee of The International Environmetrics Society (TIES) conference at Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh) from 18th-22nd July, 2016. I was a Committee Member of the International Biometric Society (IBS), British and Irish Region (BIR; 2004-7; 2011-15); and Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Environmental Statistics Section (2005-9); and elected member of the IBS Council (2010-13; 2013-17), representing the British and Irish region. In addition, from 2005-2010 I was the British and Irish Biometric Bulletin Correspondent, contributing to the quarterly Biometric Bulletin detailing recent activity within the British and Irish region of the International Biometric Society. I was a Turing Fellow (2016-20) and member of the Programme Committee (2016-18) of the Alan Turing Institute. Within the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) I was a member of the Honours Committee (2016-19); and Research Section Committee (2016-19).

I have been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics (JABES) (2005-10; 2012-15) and Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics) (2007-10); and an Applications Editor for Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MEE; 2014-16). I regularly review papers for a range of statistical and ecological journals. From 2008-10 I was a member of the project management committee of the National Centre for Statistical Ecology (NCSE), which represents a focus of UK research within statistical ecology and at this time was a joint venture between the Universities of St. Andrews, Kent and Cambridge. The NCSE has now expanded to include the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow and Sheffield and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. From 2010-2019 I was a member of the executive committee of the NCSE before becoming the Deputy Deirector in 2019.

In addition to the EPSRC post-doctoral fellowship from 2003-5, I have been a Principal Investigator (PI) on the EPSRC grants "Demography and Heterogeneous Data: New Approaches to Ecological Process Models" (2007-09), working with Research Fellow Sophie Smout and Senior Research Scientist Paddy Pomeroy to develop new advanced methods for analysing complex ecological processes; and "The Way They Move: Towards a General Framework for Understanding Animal Movement in Changing Environments", working with Research Fellows Brett McClintock (from 2009-11), Roland Langrock (from 2011-12) and Lorenzo Milazzo (from 2011-2012) with co-investigators Len Thomas and Jason Matthiopoulos, and Visiting Researcher Juan Morales, in the development of statistical tools for analysing telemetry data. I was a co-investigator of the cross-institutional MRC grant NIQUAD (Nationally Integrated Quantitative Understanding of Addiction Harms) led by Tim Millar at the Uniersity of Manchester (2011-2014). This grant involved working with Research Fellow Antony Overstall (now lecturer at the University of Glasgow+ ) based at the University of St Andrews (2011-2012). In addition I have been PI on a successful application to the EPSRC Strategic Partnership Fund (at University of St Andrew) for "A Workshop on Statistical Advances in Modelling Animal Movement Data" (2012) and consultancy undertaken for National Records Scotland for "Capture-Recapture Models for Population Estimates" (2012) and Publich Health Wales for "Estimation of the Number of Problem Drug Users in Wales using Capture-Recapture Methods" (with Antony Overstall; 2014, 2015). I am a co-investigator on the Chief Scientist Office Catalytic Research Grant "Validating and improving serum biomarkers for liver cancer surveillance" (2018) with Tom Bird and Vanda Inacio de Carvalho. I was also awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2020 on "Statistical ecology: Modern Challenges of Quantity and Quality".

Brief Personal Biography

I am originally from Pontypridd, South Wales, which is situated 12 miles north of Cardiff, the country's capital. I married, in 1999, to Stuart King, with my previous surname being Langham. My husband is a Reader in Applied Mathematics and current Director of Teaching in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. We have two sons.

Prof. Ruth King FLSW, FRSE

School of Mathematics
University of Edinburgh
James Clerk Maxwell Building
The King's Buildings
Peter Guthrie Tait Road

Email: Ruth.King-AT-ed.ac.uk