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Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication


Chairman: Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

David SpiegelhalterDavid Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk and Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University. He works to improve the way in which risk and statistical evidence are taught and discussed in society: he gives many presentations to schools and others, advises organisations on risk communication, and is a regular commentator on risk issues. He presented the BBC4 documentaries Tails you Win: the Science of Chance and the award-winning Climate Change by Numbers. He was elected FRS in 2005, awarded an OBE in 2006, and was knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics. In 2011 he came 7th in an episode of Winter Wipeout.


Executive Director: Dr Alexandra Freeman

Alex FreemanDuring a 16 year career at the BBC, Alex Freeman worked on series such as Walking with Beasts, Life in the Undergrowth, Bang Goes the Theory, Climate Change by Numbers and, most recently, was the series producer of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. Her work has won a number of awards, from a BAFTA to a AAAS Kavli gold award for science journalism. In addition to developing and making television series, Alex has worked with associated content across a whole range of other media – designing websites, games, formal learning resources and social media content – to bring science to the widest possible audience. Now back in academia, she has a particular interest in helping professionals such as doctors, journalists or legal professionals communicate numbers and uncertainty better, and is an advocate of Open Research practices.


Psychologist: Dr William J. Skylark

William J. SkylarkWill is a senior lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, having previously worked at the universities of Essex, Warwick, and Leicester. His research concerns the processes by which people form judgments and make choices. This involves identifying the factors that influence people’s beliefs and decisions, and developing theoretical models that explain these effects in terms of basic mental operations. He uses a wide-variety of techniques – including eye-tracking, lab studies, and large-scale surveys – to try to understand how people form and communicate beliefs about the world, and how these beliefs influence their behaviour.


Psychologist: Dr Sander van der Linden

Sander van der LindenSander van der Linden is a University Lecturer in the  Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, where he directs the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. He is also a Fellow in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Churchill College and a research affiliate with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication at Yale University. Prior to Cambridge, van der Linden was based in the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. He has won various awards for his research on the psychology of social judgment, risk communication, and decision-making and received the 2017 Frank Prize in Public Interest Communications.


Psychologist: Dr Cameron Brick

Cameron BrickCameron received his PhD in social psychology in 2015 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was faculty at Hamilton College from 2015-17. Cameron researches how people think about and react to society-level problems such as financial policies or climate change, and he conducts quantitative laboratory, survey, and field studies on effective risk communication. In the Winton Centre, Cameron leads the primary science on communicating policy options, for example in our recent paper: Winners and Losers. Twitter: @CameronBrick


Psychologist: Dr Anne Marthe van der Bles

Anne Marthe van der BlesAnne Marthe van der Bles received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Groningen in 2017. Now, she studies how people react to uncertainty about evidence and what the most effective way is to communicate uncertainty. She is also interested in societal discontent and societal trust in facts, and conducts mostly quantitative laboratory, survey, and field studies to investigate these topics.


Psychologist: Dr Gabriel Recchia

Gabriel RecchiaGabriel Recchia received his PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Indiana in 2012. His current research concerns the communication of information about risks and benefits in ways that support comprehension and informed decision-making, and which take into account recipients' information needs and preferences. He also conducts research on distributional models and their applications in the cognitive and social sciences, and has studied at Stanford and the University of Memphis Institute for Intelligent Systems.


Research Assistant: Leila Finikarides

Leila FinikaridesLeila joined the Winton Centre from television where she spent 10 years making factual television programmes, from The Hairy Bikers to Countryfile, Watchdog to Children’s TV. She became specialised in running research studies for science programmes, including over 20 research studies for the BBC2 health series “Trust Me, I’m A Doctor”. Prior to television, Leila ran restaurants in London, Cape Town and Tel Aviv. She has a Masters from UMIST and BSc in Information Management and most recently studied for a BA in Nutrition. She is a keen communicator and passionate about health science.


Research Assistant: Dr Sarah Dryhurst

Sarah DryhurstSarah Dryhurst received her PhD in Climate Change Ecology from Imperial College London in 2014. After working for several years in Open Access publishing, Sarah moved back into research with a redirected focus on psychology, receiving an MSc in Psychology from University of East London in 2018. Her current research focuses on how people understand and respond to uncertainty about evidence, and on improving the communication of this uncertainty in ways that increase comprehension and facilitate informed decision making. She uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches in her research. Sarah also has an interest in understanding public perceptions of climate change and in how misinformation may influence how people think about climate change and other societal problems.


Technical Lead: Mike Pearson

Mike PearsonMike has extensive experience of software design and development. Since 1998 he has supported a number projects within the mathematics and education faculties with web, graphics, animations and data visualisations.



Web Developer: Jin Park

Jin ParkJin is a full stack developer with experiences in Python and Javascript. He has worked with framework such as Django, Django REST, Flask, ReactJS, React Native, Bootstrap as well as various javascript visualisation libraries. He is also familiar with data science modules on Python such as Pandas, Matplotlib and Scikit-Learn.




Management Board

The day-to-day running of the Centre is overseen by a management board that meets monthly. The Chairman of the Board is Professor David Spiegelhalter, and the Executive Director, Alexandra Freeman, attends each Board meeting.

The other members of the board are:

Dr William Skylark (see above)

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau Theresa Marteau is Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, and Fellow and Director of Studies in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Christ’s College, Cambridge. Her research interests include: development and evaluation of interventions to change behaviour (principally diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption) to improve population health and reduce health inequalities, with a particular focus on targeting non conscious processes; risk perception and communication, particular of biomarker-derived risks, and their weak links with behaviour change; acceptability to publics and policy-makers of population-level intervention to change behavior.


Mr Michael Blastland

Michael Blastland Michael Blastland is a freelance writer and broadcaster. Programmes he has devised and presented or produced include More or Less (about numbers in the news, with Andrew Dilnot); The Human Zoo (about behavioural science); The History of Britain in Numbers (also with Andrew), and Whodunnit (about the causes of social change). He is also an occasional presenter of Analysison Radio 4 and The inquiry. His writing includes The Tiger That Isn’t (with Andrew Dilnot, about numbers in public debate); The Norm Chronicles (with David Spiegelhalter, about risk), and Joe (about his son’s autism). He talks and presents widely to public and private sector, and trains senior BBC and other journalists to interpret data. He is currently working on a book so foolhardy it might never see daylight, aiming at a popular treatment of causality and evidence. 



Prof Talya Miron-Shatz

Talya Miron-ShatzrTalya Miron-Shatz is an Associate Professor at the Ono Academic College. She has a PhD. in social psychology, did her post-doctoral work at Princeton University with Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, and was a lecturer at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. Her academic publications deal with the ways people evaluate their experiences – regarding happiness and as consumers. Her research focus is medical decision making and digital health.


Past team members

Psychologist: Dr George Farmer

George FarmerGeorge Farmer obtained a PhD in psychology from the University of Manchester in 2015, and now conducts research into human judgement and decision-making. He has published work on how people understand chance, and how context affects decision-making. He is also interested in user interface design and has previously studied at University College London and the University of Sussex. He gained a research fellowship at the University of Manchester in 2018 and returned there, but retains Visting status with the Winton Centre.


Research Assistant: Zsofia Szlamka

Zsofia SzlamkaZsofia received an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Before joining the Winton Centre, she was interning at the World Health Organisations's Headquarters, working mainly in the field of addictions, alcohol and substance use. She has previously investigated prevention strategies of depression using online methods and conducted research on the experiences of women living with autism spectrum disorder. She is also interested in mHealth, eHealth and global mental health. She left the Winton Centre in 2018 to start her PhD at King's College London.


Software Engineer: Gustavo Zomer

Gustavo Zomer Gustavo Zomer is a Software Engineer passionate for transforming things into reality. He has vast experience working with many different technologies (NodeJS, PHP, Java, iOS, Android) and industries (E-commerce, Fitness, Mobility, Social Networking). Having launched more than ten digital products, including web and mobile apps, he is constantly looking for new opportunities for learning and creating useful products for users. He left the Winton Centre in 2018 to join a start-up company in London.