NHS: Dr Dan Schofield - from string theory to NHSX
As an academic researching string theory, Dan’s early career involved exploring some of the farthest reaches of theoretical physics. Nowadays he’s part of the Analytics Unit at NHSX, and using his expertise as a data scientist to find practical solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the health service.
Excellent qualifications meant that he had a range of career options, including continuing in academia, or even a shift into finance and banking. However, he got the greatest satisfaction from tackling real-world problems and the tougher the better. Joining NHSX, the specialist organisation driving forward the digital transformation of England’s health and social care services, in the midst of the Covid pandemic has certainly allowed him to fulfil that ambition.
Projects he has been involved with have included the development of the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) which is providing better ways to understand the virus and develop better care for patients with severe infections. Other work has been focused on supporting the wider Covid response programme.
For Dan some of the most exciting aspects of working with NHSX include the chance to support NHS Trusts with the tools they need to demonstrate the value of specific ideas for improving healthcare. Another is that he is helping provide the high-quality datasets that are essential for the work of present and future NHS programmes across the country.
And while he has joined NHSX at a moment where it’s facing huge challenges, Dan believes this is a highly rewarding time to be in health data science as it’s a fast-moving field that is playing a vital role in responding to the pandemic crisis.
Dan’s career path:
- MMath in Mathematics, University of Durham
- MASt (Part III) in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge
- PhD in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, University of Swansea
- Postdoctoral researcher in Theoretical Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
- Student mentor, Outwood Grange Academy
- Graduate Data Scientist NHS Digital
- Data Scientist, NHS Digital
- Data Scientist, NHSX