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Laurence Shaw

Laurence Shaw

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Physics and Mathematics


Laurence Shaw is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics in the School of Science and Technology. He specialises in probability and statistics but also teaches pure mathematics and professional skills modules. Most of his teaching is on the Mathematics cluster of courses and he is currently the module leader for Professional Mathematics Skills and Applied Statistics (Year 3), Problem-Solving (Year 2) and is also the Year 2 Tutor. Laurence also teaches on the Stochastic Processes module (Year 3) as well as teaching mathematics and statistics to first-year Forensic Science students within the Professional Skills for Forensic Science and Technical Skills for Forensic Science modules along with occasional guest lectures for 2nd/3rd year Forensics students.

Career overview

Laurence achieved a BA (Hons) in Mathematics from Homerton College, Cambridge in 2010, an MSc in Statistics and Applied Probability from the University of Nottingham in 2012 and a PhD from the same institution in 2016.  Throughout 2016, Laurence also undertook a series of short-term research positions at the University of Nottingham, acting as a statistical partner in projects with the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Biosciences and Veterinary Science. He has been a lecturer at NTU since 2017, achieving SFHEA status in 2023 and winning the Vice Chancellor's Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award in 2019 for his work on making the lecture theatre a more active learning environment.

Research areas

Laurence's main research area is in epidemic modelling using probability theory, namely branching processes and Markov chains. This was the subject of his doctoral thesis. He is also active in multi-disciplinary research, most recently looking at using statistical modelling in the area of antimicrobial resistance and creating a hypothesis testing procedure for observing significant differences between different environments when only compositional data and a small number of samples are available.

In more recent times his research has moved towards the scholarship of teaching and learning mathematics in higher education, with a particular focus on embedding employability skills into the curriculum and creating a fair and inclusive teaching and assessment environment. Additionally, Laurence offers projects to BSc and MSc Mathematics students  allowing them to explore statistical methods and machine learning through applied areas such as sporting prediction, industrial logistics, and understanding voting patterns at the Eurovision Song Contest

External activity

Laurence is the external examiner for the MSc Data Science course at the University of Essex (2022-present) and has been an invited speaker on  teaching, learning, and assessment practice at the following events:

University of Nottingham Maths Teaching Ideas Forum  (March 2023);

University of Bath Centre for Learning & Teaching Lunchtime Hub (April 2022);

Sheffield Hallam University Department of Engineering and Mathematics invited talk (November 2020).


Journal article

SHAW, L.M., 2023. “It’s so unfair” – can we increase student perceptions of equity in the grading of group assessments by allowing them to declare a distribution of workload? MSOR Connections, 21 (1), pp. 52-57. ISSN 1473-4869

BRUINVELS, G., BLAGROVE, R.C., GOLDSMITH, E., SHAW, L., MARTIN, D. and PIASECKI, J., 2022. How lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 global pandemic affected the pattern and symptoms of the menstrual cycle. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (20): 13622. ISSN 1661-7827

SHAW, L.M. and TRANTER, M.R., 2021. Levelling the playing field in assessment: an analysis of attainment gaps for widening participation, black and minority ethnic mathematics undergraduates before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA. ISSN 0268-3679

BLANCHARD, A.M., STALEY, C.E., SHAW, L., WATTEGEDERA, S.R., BAUMBACH, C.-M., MICHLER, J.K., RUTLAND, C., BACK, C., NEWBOLD, N., ENTRICAN, G. and TÖTEMEYER, S., 2021. A trifecta of new insights into ovine footrot for infection drivers, immune response, and host-pathogen interactions. Infection and Immunity, 89 (10): e00270-21. ISSN 0019-9567

SHAW, L.M., BLANCHARD, A., CHEN, Q., AN, X., TOTEMEYER, S., ZHU, Y.-G. and STEKEL, D.J., 2019. DirtyGenes: testing for significant changes in gene or bacterial population compositions from a small number of samples. Scientific Reports, 9: 2373. ISSN 2045-2322

Conference contribution

SHAW, L. and HIND, J., 2023. The end game: using flexible online learning to create a fully personalised synoptic assessment. In: TILT Flexible and Online Learning Group Symposium 2023, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 27-28 February 2023.

SHAW, L., 2022. It's so unfair! - Can we help students to feel less resentful of group projects? In: CETL-MSOR 2022, Abertay University, Dundee, 1-2 September 2022.

SHAW, L., PLATT, R. and HIND, J., 2022. Who's a naughty cowboy? In: NTU Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Nottingham, 21 June 2022.

SHAW, L., 2019. The good, the bad and the sheep. In: CETL-MSOR Conference 2019: Bringing Together Mathematics Communities, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, 5-6 September 2019.

SHAW, L., 2019. Using oral assessments in a professional skills module. In: IMA Workshop - Moving Beyond the Examination - Alternative Approaches to Assessment in the Mathematical Sciences and Engineering, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, 3 May 2019.

Newspaper or popular journal contribution

SHAW, L., 2022. A brief history of statistics in football: why actual goals remain king in predicting who will win. The Conversation. ISSN 2044-5032

SHAW, L., 2021. Being good at maths might help you become great at sports – Emma Raducanu showed us why. The Conversation.

SHAW, L., 2019. Rugby World Cup: teams could progress by deliberately conceding points. The Conversation.

See all of Laurence Shaw's publications...

Press expertise

Laurence is an expert in mathematics and statistics. He has written articles for The Conversation (see above) and has appeared on BBC Radio Nottingham discussing the mathematics behind the national lottery in 2021, and finding a solution to the  "doors vs wheels" question that went viral in 2022.