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Professor William Browne

Professor William Browne

Professor William Browne
M.Sc., Ph.D.(Bath)

Professor of Statistics

Area of research

Statistics - Computation, Methodology and Application to the veterinary, biological and social sciences

Office Room 3.14
Helen Wodehouse Building,
35 Berkeley Square, Clifton BS8 1JA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4350
+44 (0) 117 954 6891


Statistics - Computation, Methodology and Application to the social,  veterinary and biological sciences

My research spans the area of statistical modelling, from the development of statistical methods to fit realistically complex statistical models to describe real-life problems, through the implementation of those models in statistical software to the application of the methods in several application areas.

Further details of my work are available at

Much of my computational work has been in the development of statistical software within the Centre for Multilevel Modelling that I  now direct (ably supported by Professor Kelvyn Jones as deputy director) and in particular in the development of the MLwiN and StatJR packages.I have also developed the software package MLPowSim for performing power calculations for multilevel models.

My methodological work has been with regard MCMC methods for fitting these multilevel models and also for tailoring MCMC algorithms for specific other models.

With regard applications I have worked on applying multilevel and other statistical models to problems as diverse as assessing welfare in chickens, modelling herd breakdowns with TB in cattle, investigating nesting behaviour of great tits and the impact of class sizes on primary school children. Much of this work is in collaboration with discipline experts and I firmly believe that statistics and in particular statistical modelling is the glue that binds together interdisciplinary research

My research has been funded by various sources - my major funder has been the ESRC who have repeatedly funded my work over a 13 year period however I have also had my work or collaborative work funded by BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC, Wellcome, DEFRA, John Oldacre Foundation, RSPCA, DairyCo, UFAW and FAO.

Research keywords

  • Multilevel Modelling
  • MCMC
  • Bayesian Statistics
  • Random Effect Modelling
  • Applied Statistics
  • Computational Statistics

Research findings

My current ESRC research grant follows on work from my node in the Digital Social Research programme, that developed the statistical software package STAT-JR and in particular it's eBook interface. More details are available at the multilevel modelling centre website:


Further information about Professor William Browne can be found here.


I completed a PhD in the mathematics department in Bath in 1998 in which I compared the properties of several alternative methods for fitting multilevel models. A side product of the PhD was the incorporation of MCMC methods into the statistics package MLwiN that was developed at the Centre for Multilevel Modelling (CMM) at the Institute of Education, London and following my PhD I spent 4.5 years postdocing at CMM. I then moved back to a maths department when I took up a lectureship in statistics at the University of Nottingham. I spent 4 years at Nottingham gaining promotion to Associate Professor and developed an interest in applying my modelling to veterinary science problems through collaborations with Henrik Stryhn at University of PEI and Martin Green at Nottingham when Martin chose to do a Wellcome Senior Fellowship with me there. So when a Chair in Biostatistics came up in 2007 at the vet school in Bristol I applied and was successful. I then split my time between the Animal Behaviour and Welfare group at Langford and the Centre for Multilevel Modelling which I have been codirecting since 2010. In August 2014 I moved full time into Bristol itself to take over as sole director of the Multilevel centre and to take up a chair in Statistics within the Graduate School of Education.


  • Multilevel Modelling
  • MCMC
  • Bayesian Statistics
  • Random Effect Modelling
  • Applied Statistics
  • Computational Statistics


  • Royal Statistical Society



School of Education

Other sites

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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