- Position: Deputy Director- Education & Training
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 0113 3435893
- Location: LICAMM/LIDA
George Ellison is Deputy Director (Education & Training) at Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) – an interdisciplinary centre for research and innovation, education and training in data science and artificial intelligence. George’s role within LIDA is to develop opportunities for formal and informal (credit- and non-credit-bearing) courses and workshops focussing on the dissemination of advances in theoretical, methodological and applied data science techniques. These include:
- 10 LIDA-affiliated Masters-level programmes;
- 2 LIDA-hosted Centres for Doctoral Training (the ESRC-funded CDT for Data Analytics and Society; and the UKRI-funded CDT in Artificial Intelligence for Medical Diagnosis and Care)
- A programme of Capacity-building workshops in data science software and applications
- A Biannual Data Science Internship Scheme; and
- Weekly Data Science Seminars and Networking events featuring external and internal specialists.
George trained in Zoology (1982-86) and Ecophysiology (1986-1992) at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Pretoria’s Soogdier Navorsings instituut before completing: a Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1994; and a DSc in Epidemiology and Public Health in 2011. He has held academic research and teaching positions in both the natural and social sciences, in Pretoria, Windhoek, Alexandra, London, Cambridge and Leeds; and has held the academic post of Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Leeds Medical School since 2011. Specialising in research design, methodology, and social studies of knowledge, George’s research spans the epistemology of data science, the role of heuristics and cognitive bias in methodological and inferential error, and the social construction of deterministic categories (particularly as these relate to race, ethnicity and other dimensions of identity). His current work focuses on the emergence and (mis)application of established and novel data science techniques, and developing innovative postgraduate and continuing professional development training programmes for data science practitioners, commissioners and consumers.
Current research projects
2020-2021: WUN Data Science Network – together with partners from 8 WUN and WUN+ Universities (Auckland, CUHK, UCD, Johannesburg, Leeds, Maastricht, Rochester and Sydney), George has led the development of an innovative proposal to strengthen the role of data science within existing WUN-supported research networks and to facilitate collaborations between WUN-based data scientists and applied researchers tackling each of WUN’s Global Challenges and Priority Areas. The proposed project will generate empirical evidence on the key barriers and enablers to the uptake and application of data science techniques, together with a Directory of Data Science Experts/Expertise and associated training resources; a Code of Professional Practice for Data Science; and an international Impact Symposium hosted by LIDA at the Goodenough College in London on 16-19 December 2020 in partnership with the Society for the Study of Human Biology.
2019-2024: MRes in Data Science & Analytics for Health – together with Professors David Hogg (School of Computing), Mark Gilthorpe (LIDA) and Geoff Hall (School of Medicine), George recently secured in excess of £500,000 from Health Data Research UK and NHS Digital to develop an innovative Master of Research (MRes) programme in which students will spend 6-9 months gaining first-hand practical experience embedded within workplace-based research and development projects at NHS Digital and their health sector partners. Enrolment onto the new programme will begin in 2020, and the call for fully-funded studentships will be issued early in the New Year 2020.
2018-2020: Knowledge Exchange Project – working with Professor Daniel Ray and colleagues in the Data, Insights and Analytics Directorate at NHS Digital (Europe’s largest health and social care data processing agency), George is exploring the potential contribution that advances in software engineering and data analytics might play in enhancing the management, manipulation and interrogation of large and sensitive health/social care datasets to accelerate insight for patient benefit. The project has developed new proposals for postgraduate research training (comprising both a Centre for Doctoral Training application and the successful HDR UK-funded MRes scheme), and is currently exploring links between LIDA’s Data Science Internship scheme and opportunities for follow-on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (supported by InnovateUK).
2018-2019: Research Development Fund – together with an interdisciplinary team from across the University (Maria dos Santos Lonsdale – Design; Chris – Digital Media; Luke Burns – Human Geography; Thea de Wet – Anthropology), George undertook a professional and public engagement project focussing on data science academics with first-hand experience of developing postgraduate training and continuous professional development (CPD), to explore “Professional code(s) of practice and the social responsibilities of data scientists in the era of Big Data and Precision Medicine”
- CogX Festival 2018 Turing Stage – “Predict to prepare, but not (necessarily) to prescribe“
- BBC Radio 4 – “The Colour coded prescription“
- BBC2/Open University – “How can we be healthier?“
- Otley Science Café – “The epidemiology of firework injuries“
- BBC2/Open University – “Growing up with ideas of ‘race’“
- BBC Radio 4 – “Blood and fire“
- Royal Statistical Society – “Medicine in black and white: BiDil®: race and the limits of evidence-based medicine“
- Beggs L, Briscoe R, Griffiths C, Ellison GTH, Githorpe MS. Intervention differential effects and regression to the mean in studies where sample selection is based on the initial value of the outcome variable: an evaluation of methods illustrated in weight-management studies. Epidemiology and Biostatistics 2020; in press.
- De Wet T, Dzinotyiweyi T, Ellison GTH. How might bicycle ownership/access and cycling expertise influence the design of cycling promotion interventions at the University of Johannesburg? Journal of American College Health 2020; in press.
- Ellison GTH, De Wet T. Structural and attitudinal barriers to bicycle ownership and cycle-based transport in Gauteng, South Africa. MedRXiv 2020; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020/016501.
- Tennant PWG, Harrison WJ, Murray EJ, Arnold KF, Berrie L, Fox MP, Gadd SC, Keeble C, Ranker LR, Textor J, Tomova GD, Gilthorpe MS, Ellison GTH. Use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) in applied health research: review and recommendations. MedRXiv 2019; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2019.12.20.190155112.
- Tennant PWG, Arnold KF, Ellison GTH, Gilthorpe MS. Analyses of ‘change scores’ do not estimate causal effects in observational data. arXiv 2019; 1907.02764.
- Ellison GTH, De Wet T. The classification of South Africa’s mixed-heritage peoples 1910–2011: A century of conflation, contradiction, containment, and contention. Chapter 23 In: Rocha ZL, Aspinall PJ (Eds) The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification. Palgrave Macmillan: London. in press
- Arnold KF, Ellison GTH, Gadd SC, Textor J, Tennant PWG, Heppenstall A, Gilthorpe MS. Adjustment for time-invariant and time-varying confounders in ‘unexplained residuals’ models for longitudinal data within a causal framework and associated challenges. Statistical Methods in Medical Research 2019; 28:1347-64.
- Berrie L, Ellison GTH, Norman PD, Baxter PD, Feltbower RG, Tennant PW, Gilthorpe MS. The association between childhood leukemia and population mixing: An artefact of focusing on clusters? Epidemiology 2019; 30:75-82.
- Ellison GTH, Aspinall PJ, Smart A, Salway S. The ambiguities of “race” in UK science, social policy and political discourse. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 2017; 95:299-306.
- Textor J, van der Zander B, Gilthorpe MS, Liśkiewicz M, Ellison GT. Robust causal inference using directed acyclic graphs: The R package ‘dagitty’. International Journal of Epidemiology 2016; 45:1887-1894.
- Mumtaz Z, Ellison GTH, Ferguson A, Salway S. A call for transparency in the evaluation of global maternal health projects. Lancet 2016; 388:461.
- Ellison GTH, De Wet T. Poverty, disability and self-reported health amongst residents and migrants in Gauteng, South Africa. Annals of Human Biology 2016; 43: 131-143.
- Law GR, Ellison GTH, Secher AL, Damm P, Mathiesen ER, Temple R, Murphy HR, Scott EM. Analysis of continuous glucose monitoring in pregnant women with diabetes: distinct temporal patterns of glucose associated with large-for-gestational-age infants. Diabetes Care 2015: 1319-1325.
- Mumtaz Z, Salway S, Bhatti A, Shanner L, Zaman S, Laing L, Ellison GTH. Improving maternal health in Pakistan: toward a deeper understanding of the social determinants of poor women’s access to maternal health services. American Journal of Public Health 2014; 104: S17-S24.
- Fowler H, Ellison GTH, Scott EM, Law GR. The importance of household composition in epidemiological analyses of sleep: evidence from the Understanding Society longitudinal panel survey. Open Journal of Epidemiology 2014 ; 4 :46-55.
- Tu YK, Chien KL, Chiu YW, Ellison GT. Seasonal variation in blood pressure is modulated by gender and age but not by BMI in a large Taiwanese population, 1996–2006. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, 2013; 7: 216–228.
- Mir G, Salway S, Kai J, Karlsen S, Bhopal R, Ellison GT, Sheikh A. Principles for research on ethnicity and health: the Leeds Consensus Statement. European Journal of Public Health 2013; 23: 504-510.
- Law GR, Head RF, Ellison GTH. Confounding and causal path diagrams. Chapter 1, pp1-14 in: Tu YK, Greenwood D, Eds. Modern Methods for Epidemiology. Springer, London 2012.
- Tu Y-K, Law GR, Ellison GTH, Gilthorpe MS. Ratio index variables or ANCOVA? Fisher’s cats revisited. Pharmaceutical Statistics 2010; 9: 77-83.
- Head RF, Gilthorpe MS, Ellison GTH. Cholesterol levels in later life amongst UK Channel Islanders exposed to the 1940-45 German occupation as children, adolescents and young adults. Nutrition and Health 2009; 20: 91-105.
- Salway S, Allmark P, Barley R, Higginbottom G, Gerrish K, Ellison GTH. Social research for a multiethnic population: do the research ethics and standards of UK learned societies address this challenge? Twenty-First Century Society 2009; 4: 53-81.
- Ellison GTH, Kaufman J, Head RF, Martin P, Kahn J. Flaws in the US Food and Drug Administration’s rationale for supporting the development and approval of BiDil® as a treatment for heart failure in black patients. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2008; 36: 449-457.
- Head RF, Gilthorpe MS, Byrom A, Ellison GTH. Cardiovascular disease in a cohort exposed to the 1940-45 Channel Islands occupation. BMC Public Health 2008; 8: 303.
- Head RF, Byrom A, Ellison GTH. A qualitative exploration of the production Hospital Episode Statistics in a Guernsey hospital: implications for regional comparisons of UK health data. Health Services Management Research 2008; 21: 178-184.
- Tu Y-K, Manda SOM, Ellison GTH, Gilthorpe MS. Revisiting the interaction between birth weight and current body size in the foetal origins of adult disease. European Journal of Epidemiology 2007; 22: 565-575.
- Ellison GTH. Health, wealth and IQ in sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges facing the ‘Savanna Principle’ as an explanation for global inequalities in health. British Journal of Health Psychology 2007; 12: 191-227.
- Ellison GTH, Smart A, Tutton R, Outram SM, Ashcroft R, Martin P. Racial categories in medicine: a failure of evidence based practice? Public Library of Science Medicine 2007; 4: 1434-36.
- Fentiman IS, Allen DS, Ellison GTH. The impact of the Occupation of Guernsey 1940-45 on breast cancer risk factors and incidence. International Journal of Clinical Practice 2007; 61: 937-43.
- Ellison GTH, Goodman AH (eds). The Nature of Difference: Science, Society and Human Biology. CRC Press; Boca Raton, FL: 2006. ISBN-13: 9780849327209; ISBN-10: 0849327202. (Review: Chew FS. American Journal of Human Biology 2007; 19: 150–151).
- Tu Y-K, Gilthorpe MS, Ellison GTH. What is the effect of adjusting for more than one measure of current body size on the relation between birthweight and blood pressure. Journal of Human Hypertension 2006; 20: 646-657.
- Tu Y-K, Ellison GTH, Gilthorpe MS. Growth, current size and the role of the ‘reversal paradox’ in the foetal origins of adult disease: an illustration using vector geometry. Epidemiologic Perspectives and Innovations 2006; 3: 9.
- Ellison GTH. ‘Population profiling’ and public health risk: when and how should we use race/ethnicity? Critical Public Health 2005; 15: 65-74.
- Tu Y-K, West R, Ellison GTH, Gilthorpe MS. Why evidence for the fetal origins of adult disease might be a statistical artifact: the “reversal paradox” for the relation between birth weight and blood pressure in later life. American Journal of Epidemiology 2005; 161: 27-32.
- Mein GK, Shipley MJ, Hillsdon M, Ellison GTH, Marmot MG. Work, retirement and physical activity: cross sectional analyses from the Whitehall II study. European Journal of Public Health 2005; 15: 317-322.
- Ellison GTH. Letting the Gini out of the bottle? Challenges facing the ‘relative income hypothesis’. Social Science and Medicine 2002; 54: 561-576.
- Ellison GTH. Income inequality, social trust and self-reported health status in high-income countries? Proceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences 2000; 896: 325-329.
- Wills J; Ellison GTH. Integrating services for public health: challenges facing multidisciplinary partnership working. Public Health 2007; 121: 546-8.
- Stewart R, Wiggins M, Thomas J, Oliver S, Brunton G, Ellison GTH. Exploring the evidence-practice gap: a workshop report on mixed and participatory training for HIV prevention in southern Africa. Education for Health 2005; 18: 224-235.
- Ellison GTH. Between equity and prosperity: confronting social inequalities in health within South Africa. In: James W, Maharaj G eds. The National Question: South Africa Between Unity and Diversity. IDASA Publications: Cape Town, 1999: 60-71.
- Ellison GTH, De Wet T. Re-examining the content of the South African Medical Journal during the formalisation of ‘racial’ discrimination under apartheid. Chapter 5. Health and Human Rights Project Submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Cape Town: Health and Human Rights Project, 1997. (Book Chapter in Report – subsequently summarised on pages 134-136 of Baldwin-Ragaven L, de Gruchy J, London L (eds) An Ambulance of the Wrong Colour: Health Professionals, Human Rights and Ethics in South Africa, University of Cape Town Press, Cape Town: 1999).
- Erasmus Y, Ellison GTH. What can we learn about the meaning of race from the classification of population groups during apartheid? South African Journal of Science 2008; 104: 450-452.
|2011||DSc (Epidemiology and Public Health)||London|
|1994||MSc (Public Health)||London||Distinction|
|1992||PhD (Dierkunde)||Pretoria||FRD Special Merit Bursary|
|1986||BSc (Zoology)||Aberdeen||cum laude and Class Prize|
2011-present: University of Leeds, Leeds, UK – Deputy Director (Education & Training), Leeds Institute for Data Analytics; Academic Lead (Accelerating Education), Centre for Immersive Technologies; and Associate Professor (Epidemiology), Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
2008-2011: Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Director of the Research and Graduate School, London Metropolitan University, London, UK
2004-08: Professor of Health Sciences, Research Coordinator and Research Degrees Coordinator, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK
2002-04: Professor of Public Health, Head of the Department of Health and Social Care, Director of the Institute for Primary Care and Public Health, London South Bank University, London, UK
2000-02: Assistant Director, Postgraduate Tutor, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK
1998-00: Lecturer and Postgraduate Tutor, Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
1996-98: Research Manager and Medical Tutor, Institute of Urban Primary Health Care, Alexandra Health Centre and University Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa
1996: Senior Research Officer, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
1992-96: Lecturer, School of Chemical and Life Sciences, University of Greenwich, London, UK
1992: Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
1990-92: Lecturer, Department of Zoology and Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Research funding (since 1996)
|2019-24||Health Data Research UK/NHS Digital||£675,000||PGR||Co-I|
|2018-19||Research Development Fund (Wellcome/Leeds)||£500||Project||PI|
|2017-18||Carnegie Foundation Concept Award||ZAR250,000||Project||Co-I|
|2017-18||Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department||ZAR350,000||Project||Co-I|
|2017-18||Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department||ZAR350,000||Project||Co-I|
|2016-17||Alberta Center for Child, Family, & Community Research||CA$40,000||Project||Co-I|
|2016-17||City of Johannesburg||ZAR540,000||Project||Co-I|
|2015-16||University of Bergen||NOK100,000||Network||Co-I|
|2014-16||South African National Research Foundation||ZAR701,800||Project||Co-I|
|2010-13||National Institute for Health Research||£190,000||Project||Co-I|
|2008-10||Joseph Rowntree Foundation||£78,000||Project||Co-I|
|2006-08||British Council England-Africa Partnership||£98,000||Project||Co-I|
|2005-06||British Council England-Africa Partnership||£94,000||Project||PI|
|2003-07||Wellcome Trust Programme on Biomedical Ethics||£245,000||Project||Co-I|
|2003-06||Kent, Surrey and Sussex Postgraduate GP Deanery||£66,000||Project||PI|
|2002-05||Department for Education and Skills||£365,000||Project||Co-PI|
|2000-02||Department for International Development||£139,000||Project||PI|
|1999-06||Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands||£65,000||Project||PI|
|1999-02||Wellcome Trust Programme on Biomedical Ethics||£37,000||Project||PI|
|1996-99||South African Medical Research Council||ZAR150,000||Project||Co-I|
|1997-98||United Kingdom Overseas Development Agency||£39,000||Project||Co-I|
|1997-98||United States Agency for International Development||US$58,000||Project||PI|
Current Education & Training Responsibilities
2019-present: Course Manager: MRes Data Science & Analytics for Health
2017-present: Co-Lead: MSc Health Data Analytics programme
2011-present: Lead: Research Project Module, MSc Health Data Analytics
2012-2018: Co-Lead: MBChB Research, Research, Evaluation and Special Studies Strand
2011-2018: Co-Lead: Year 3 MBChB Research, Evaluation and Special Studies (RESS) module
Current Research Interests
Causal inference in data analytics; Data synthesis; Evidence-based decision-making; Multidisciplinary mixed-methods (process and outcome) evaluations; Public Health; Critical Data Studies; Science and Technology Studies/Social Studies of Knowledge; Public and Professional Engagement.