Sam Clifford

I’m a statistician working as a postdoctoral fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on pneumococcal disease and vaccination under Dr Stefan Flasche. Our project involves quantifying the distribution of serotypes of pneumococcus around the world in order to determine the best way to vaccinate against pneumococcal diseases.

Previously, I worked at Queensland University of Technology on a range of environmental and environmental health problems such as jaguar conservation, reef conservation, and air pollution and its health impacts. In addition, I taught teach mathematics and statistics to first year science students in the unit SEB113 - Quantitative Methods in Science.

Methodologically, my research interests are

  • Generalised Additive Models
  • Bayesian spline regression
  • Spatial and spatio-temporal statistics
  • Bayesian hierarchical linear models
  • Exposure-response models
  • Machine learning algorithms for spatio-temporal and missing data

A list of key publications is available here, and a full list at Google Scholar and ORCID.


My undergrad was in applied and computational mathematics, focussing on fluid dynamics in my honours year under the supervision of Dr Glenn Fulford and Dr Tim Moroney.

Between 2009 and 2013 I was a PhD student at the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health under the supervision of Professors Lidia Morawska and Kerrie Mengersen and Dr Sama Low Choy, where I completed a thesis on spatio-temporal modelling of air pollution.

Postdoctoral employment in Aerosol Science

From 2013 to 2015 I was employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at ILAQH to support the research being done across a variety of topics in air quality. The bulk of my postdoctoral work at ILAQH was related to the Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children’s Health project. The project seeks to determine the effect of the exposure to airborne nano and ultrafine (UF) particles emitted from motor vehicles on the health of children in schools.

Research from my PhD and postdoctoral time with ILAQH has resulted in a number of papers looking at spatio-temporal modelling of urban air pollution with a view to estimating human exposure and modelling its health impact.


Occasionally I publish useful code, including a package for tidying MCMC output from coda or rjags entitled mmcc, and a package to bring some of the common linear model diagnostics like variance inflation factors and tables of confidence intervals to GAMs from mgcv in mgcv.helper.


From 2013 to mid 2018 I was been involved in the development and delivery of SEB113 - Quantitative Methods for Science as part of the ST01 Bachelor of Science course at Queensland University of Technology. The course covers a variety of mathematical and statistical topics taught through scientific case studies and makes use of the R language for all computation.

In 2015, the SEB113 teaching team was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Performance Award for innovation in redesiging the unit for student success through encouraging engagement with multiple technologies.