Imperial Centre for Inference and Cosmology (ICIC)

The Imperial Centre for Inference and Cosmology (ICIC) was formed in 2012 and aims to address the statistical challenges posed by massive and complex data streams in astrophysics, astroparticle physics, and cosmology.  It is a collaborative effort between the Astrophysics Group and the Statistics Section at Imperial College London. 

ICIC tutorials on astrostatistics and R

We are pleased to announce that Prof Eric Feigelson, sabbatical visitor to ICIC, will give a two-day course on Astrostatistics and R, at The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, on November 28th and 29th, 2016.  It is open to PhD students and researchers in astronomy.  Details and registration information are here.

ICIC DATA ANALYSIS WORKSHOPs 2013, 2014 and 2016

ICIC ran a 3-day and 4-day course/workshop in 2013 and 2014, the last two supported by STFC and Winton Capital, on statistical methods and tools for data analysis, aimed at PhD students, postdocs and any staff interested in understanding Bayesian statistics and numerical techniques of data analysis. 






Astrostatistics – the development and application of advanced statistical methods to cosmological and astrophysical problems – is a rapidly growing discipline. Advances in astrophysics and cosmology are driven by large and complex data sets, which can only be analyzed, interpreted and understood thanks to refined statistical methods. Statistics has become an essential part of the pipeline leading to the correct physical interpretation, rather than the last resort of a physicist who should have done a better experiment (paraphrasing Rutherford). Astrostatistics is pushing the boundaries of both statistics and astrophysics, and giving rise to new approaches for dealing with complex data sets and uncertainty. 


Imperial astrophysics is spearheading the establishment of astrostatistics as a discipline capable of providing accurate, robust and insightful answers to complex theoretical problems in astrophysics, cosmology and astroparticle physics.



The ICIC is located in a newly re-developed, modern office suite on Level 10 of Blackett Laboratory, South Kensington Campus. 


The ICIC space comprises faculty offices, a meeting room and an interaction area. 




Astrostatistics seminars are organized jointly with the Statistics Section. They take place either in the astro group or in the stats group - see listing for details of time and place; ICIC seminars are identified with the ICIC logo. Organizers: Prof David van Dyk (d.van-dyk AT imperial.ac.uk) and Prof Alan Heavens (a.heavens AT imperial.ac.uk) 

Inaugural workshop

The ICIC inaugural workshop was held in London on Aug 20-21st 2012. More details here

Research highlights

The ICIC concentrates on Bayesian methods in cosmology, and has pioneered Bayesian methods for searching for rare objects, such as the record high-redshift quasar (Mortlock et al 2011), Bayesian Hierarchical Models for supernova type 1A (Shariff et al 2015) and weak gravitational lensing (Alsing et al 2016).



Members of the ICIC:




Prof Alan Heavens (Director)

Prof Andrew Jaffe

Dr Daniel Mortlock

Dr Jonathan Pritchard

Dr Pat Scott

Dr Roberto Trotta


Prof David van Dyk



Dr Emma Chapman

Dr Suman Majumdar

Dr Malak Olamaie

Dr Elena Sellentin



Dan Jones

Claude Schmidt

Hikmatali Shariff 



Dr Boris Leistedt (NYU) periodically 2017-2020

Prof Eric Feigelson (Sept-Dec 2016)

Prof Nick Kaiser (Sept-Oct 2016)

Prof Jan Conrad (Stockholm) periodically 2013-2015

Prof Raul Jimenez (Barcelona) frequently 2014-2017

Prof Licia Verde (Barcelona) frequently 2014-2017

Dr Catherine Watkinson (UCL) periodically 2016-2019

Dr Justin Alsing (Flatiron Institute, New York) periodically 2017-2020