For many years, there has been a national shortage of statisticians and some other non-clinical research disciplines relevant to our work. We have developed a model for recruiting excellent non-clinical researchers by engaging in postgraduate tuition at Masters level. Members of the MRC LEU staff run the modules on epidemiological methods (Dr Sarah Crozier, Ms Georgia Ntani and Professor Hazel Inskip) and statistical genetics (Dr Sheila Barton) that are part of the MSc Statistics with Applications in Medicine at the University of Southampton, and, annually, unit statisticians supervise students for their MSc dissertations.

Contributing modules to MSc courses in this way has enabled us to recruit high calibre statisticians; currently, six statisticians in the unit have been appointed through this route. Five of these have completed or are undertaking PhDs, and one is about to commence. Members of the unit staff also contribute to the MSc in Public Health (formerly an MSc in Public Health Nutrition), and supervise student dissertations. Similarly, this has proved to be a route to recruiting excellent staff, with four unit nutritionists having joined us following that MSc, two of whom have completed their PhDs and been appointed as post-doctoral scientists.