The Daily Telegraph

Statistici­an with a hint of spy may be perfect fit for new role


AS A senior spy with a background in epidemiolo­gy and medical statistics, Dr Clare Gardiner is seen by many in Whitehall as the perfect person to run the UK’S Joint Biosecurit­y Centre.

On secondment from GCHQ, where she is director of cyber resilience and strategy at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Dr Gardiner is now charged with monitoring the spread of coronaviru­s. As the centre’s directorge­neral, Dr Gardiner’s role includes advising ministers on the Covid-19 alert level, a system that closely mirrors the one used to determine the levels of terror threat posed to the UK.

The centre also collects data on Covid-19 testing from around the UK, with ministers receiving daily updates on the latest figures and on any regional spikes in infection rates that might suggest that a localised outbreak is occurring.

At the NCSC, Dr Gardiner’s role involves advising businesses and public bodies on how to bolster their cyber security defences. She has held a number of roles close to government, including as a cyber expert at the British Embassy in Washington.

The appointmen­t is understood to have come at the behest of Simon Case, the Downing Street permanent secretary who previously worked at

GCHQ. Speaking after her appointmen­t in early June, Government insiders said that cyber expertise was vital for ensuring that the centre delivered on its central function of real-time data analysis, which was crucial for identifyin­g and containing outbreaks before they run out of control.

It is understood that a small team of experts from GCHQ have also been drafted in to help develop the operation.

Dr Gardiner’s appointmen­t was also welcomed at the time by some of the UK’S leading scientists who pointed to her highly cited research on medical statistics.

They include Prof Sir David Spiegelhal­ter, a leading British statistici­an and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, who said: “Dr Clare Gardiner is a statistici­an who understand­s the challenges of using data to monitor outbreaks.

“As Clare Marshall, she was the lead author on a much-cited 2005 paper, “Statistica­l issues in the prospectiv­e monitoring of health outcomes across multiple units”, which seems extremely relevant to the current situation.”

 ??  ?? Clare Gardiner brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with biosecurit­y and health outcomes
Clare Gardiner brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with biosecurit­y and health outcomes

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