Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Dr Nira Chamberlain

Senior Data Scientist: Holland & Barrett

Dr Nira Chamberlain graduated with a master's degree in Industrial Mathematical Modelling in 1993. With 25 years' experience in mathematical modelling, Nira is listed by the Science Council as one of the UK's 'Top 100 Scientists', in the Financial Times as one of the 'Top 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in UK Tech', and named one of the Top 100 most influential black people in Britain for three years running.

Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University?

I was a mathematics graduate and I wanted to specialise as a mathematical modeller. Loughborough offered a master’s course in Industrial Mathematical Modelling, where you spend some of the time on industrial placement. I wanted both the practical and theoretical experience Loughborough offered. 

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

In 1993, I obtained my master’s degree in Industrial Mathematical Modelling. I have been a professional mathematical modeller since then.

Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?

If you want to be a mathematician working on real-world mathematics, this is the course to do.

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?

Yes, I played football for the African-Caribbean Society. It was good to be part of Loughborough’s sporting tradition as well mixing with my team-mates and opposition.

Can you tell us more about your previous role at Babcock International?

Babcock International Group plc is a British multinational corporation headquartered in the United Kingdom, which specialises in support services managing complex assets and infrastructure in safety and mission-critical environments.

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

I have almost 25 years’ experience writing mathematical models/simulation algorithms that solve complex industrial problems. I have developed mathematical solutions within industries such as defence, aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. This has included periods in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel.

What do you love the most about your job?

In a video interview with the Cambridge University outreach project, Plus magazine, I tell how solving difficult mathematical problems can be like fighting an invisible boxer. I love the feeling of having succeeded because “the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory!” 

What does the future hold for you?

More mathematical modelling as well as sharing my passion for it on a larger stage.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Undoubtedly, being the highest new entrant in the 2018 PowerList at number 5. Hence, I hold the title as the 5th Most Influential Black Person in the UK. This is the first time a mathematician has made it into the Top 100 most influential people of African and African-Caribbean Heritage in Britain.

Also, being listed by the Science Council as one of the UK’s ‘Top 100 Scientists’. Finally, in 2015, becoming the first Black mathematician to join the exclusive list of distinguished living British mathematicians who feature in the biographical reference book 'Who’s Who'.

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