Professor Paul G. Blackwell — home page

Welcome to the home page of Professor Paul Blackwell, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield.


I am a statistician and modeller, with a background in mathematics. My main research is currently in Bayesian statistics, particularly in ecology and environmental science. Much of that work involves developing methods to enable inference for stochastic processes. I have worked on ecological and environmental applications throughout my career, as well as on general methodology and on some other applications. I am particularly interested in Bayesian inference for spatio-temporal or other complex models - often requiring computer-intensive simulation-based techniques such as Markov chain Monte Carlo - and in modelling and simulation in ecology generally. Specific examples include continuous-time modelling of wildlife movement, spatial patterns of biodiversity, inference for individual-based population models, automated counting and uncertainty analysis for annual layers in ice cores, and using ecological models to incorporate prior information in analysis of remote sensing data. I have collaborative links with the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab (Queensland), British Antarctic Survey, the Animal and Plant Health Agency as well as the Department of Animal & Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. I am involved in the EPSRC/NERC-funded National Centre for Statistical Ecology and the NERC/Defra-funded Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, as well as the doctoral training partnership ACCE funded by NERC and the Leverhulme Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling (CABM).

Research group

My current research group is

Jordan Milner, EPSRC-funded PhD student, Movement modelling and inference for interacting individuals

Fay Frost, Leverhulme CABM PhD student, Modelling of collective movement in herd animals (co-supervisor Anna Skarin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)

Adam Gothorp, Sheffield-funded PhD student, Statistical problems in additive manufacturing (lead supervisor Eleanor Stillman, SoMaS; co-supervisor Candice Majewski, Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing)

Heidi Rautiainen, Formas (Swedish Research Council) funded PhD student, Feeding reindeer for future free-range functionality (lead supervisor Anna Skarin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)

Recently graduated PhD students (2018-2019)

Alison Poulston (née Parton), University of Sheffield-funded PhD student, Bayesian inference for continuous-time step-and-turn movement models

Chris Griffiths, ACCE NERC DTP PhD student, Linking movement and population dynamics for marine fish (co-supervisor Julia Blanchard, Institute of Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)

Alun Jones, ACCE NERC DTP PhD student, Global trends in marine biodiversity from unstructured data (lead supervisor Tom Webb, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Hajar Alkhezi, Kuwait University-funded PhD student, Bayesian inference for heterogeneous continuous-time movement models

Hayley Bannister, University of Sheffield-Cefas PhD student Making ecosystem models work for marine environmental policy (lead supervisor Tom Webb, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)

Théo Michelot, Leverhulme CABM PhD student, Bayesian inference for continuous-time movement models (co-supervisor Dylan Childs, Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences)


Recent publication list


Email: p.blackwell (at)

Telephone: +44 114 2223719

Office: Room I7, Hicks Building

For fax, postal address and directions/maps, please see SoMaS contact details