Professor Hand is the Head of the Statistics section at Imperial College London. He is also the President of the Royal Statistical Society, and regularly works as a consultant and expert witness through Imperial Consultants.
His consultancy work sees him giving statistics advice to diverse industries - from hedge funds to pharmaceuticals, advertising to government.
Models developed in an academic environment are tested in industry and then often adopted by banks, retail companies, and manufacturing and service organisations. Professor Hand worked as a key expert witness in a lawsuit involving US banks, studying the models the banks were using in detail. Some of these were found to be based on a theoretical premise that had never been completely evaluated, and Professor Hand discovered that some of the models were wrong.
Pharmaceutical companies are another source of large, real-world data sets. The amount of information generated by drug development, testing and trials is enormous.
One of the pharmaceutical projects Professor Hand worked on was looking at the data from a production process. The company in question suspected a rival of copying their patented process and called in Professor Hand to study the trace impurities of the end products and compare them. He was then able to assess the probability that they were coming from the same production process.