Jake Ansell is our Professor of Risk Management, having started at the university as a Lecturer in 1990. During his time at The University of Edinburgh, Jake has held responsibilities within University Court as Dean for Undergraduates, Associate Dean for Quality, and also as Associate Dean for Admissions.
Headshot of Jake Ansall

Can you give a brief summary of your career to date?

My career started back in 1976 and has certainly evolved over time! My BSc was in Pure Mathematics and Statistics at University of Leicester, my MSc was in Statistics, and finally my PhD was in Reliability. Within the field of reliability I focused on mechanical systems, and I was an Associate Editor of Reliability Engineer & Safety Systems and Applied Statistics.

Fundamentally I am a Statistician so have worked on quantitative models and analysis, but through my many PhD students over the years I have been involved in qualitative research. I have written and have been published talking to subjects spanning engineering, finance, small and medium sized enterprises, tourism, marketing, credit scoring, probability and pure mathematics. In consulting and through grant funding I have been involved with working with the UK Cabinet Office, Scottish Water, NHS Scotland, Standard Life, British Gas, and Lloyds Bank – to name but a few!

How would you best describe your research and teaching duties?

Besides dodging feelings of impostor syndrome, my role at the School is one which stresses the importance of leadership and in helping other colleagues, whether within the Business School, across the University, or the wider community. I am happiest when teaching students whether they are Undergraduate, Postgraduate or Research students. It is important to pass on ones subject to the next generation.

Yet, at the same time, I think it is hugely important to continue to develop ones skills, knowledge and innovate within ones subject base. My view of this is one should tackle problems that would assist the wider community. Hence, most of my research focuses on social issues as well as issues arises within the industrial and commercial sectors.

What do you enjoy most about your teaching and research? What challenges and excites you across both?

I feel that there is a direct link between the skills and experience I gain from both teaching and research, and that they both mutually benefit my overall understanding of the other. My research actively feeds into my teaching, by providing me with real-world applications that can bring the subject alive for the students. I feel fortunate that the diversity of my research and experience means that I can tailor my teaching to catch the imagination across a range of students and subjects offered by the School.

My greatest experience in teaching comes when I get students who clearly don’t like mathematics, and I am able to teach them to use and enjoy statistics and to also see their value. In my research I get this same buzz from bringing new insights into problems, which aids clients to resolve their issues.

What advice would you give to your younger self, about to leave home and embark upon further education?

Don’t be worried - there are so many ways you can assist and help others through your skills and experience. There may be troubles, but be happy.

What one book, piece of music and beloved item would you take with you to a Desert Island?

  • Book: A compendium of Jane Austin
  • Music: Folk music especially the songs of Roy Bailey and Martin Simpson
  • Beloved Item: Drawing and painting materials

UEBS Research - Jake Ansell

Jake Ansell and Tina Harrison have pioneered groundbreaking work in financial education, focusing on transitions from childhood to adulthood. Their research has influenced government policy, improved student performance, and increased financial confidence. Their impact reaches schools and communities, empowering students to spread financial knowledge among families.

Jake Ansell

Jake Ansell

Professor of Risk Management