NCSE was set up in October 2005 as a joint venture between the Universities of Kent, Cambridge and St Andrews, with funding from the EPSRC. Its original objectives were:
• To be a Centre of international repute for the development and application of novel statistical methods in population ecology, integrating the partner Universities’ research programmes and activities in statistical ecology.
• To develop novel statistical methodology for the analysis of complex data sets arising in ecology and to apply these methods to a broad collection of topical and important data sets.
•To train PhD and postdoctoral researchers to work as statistical ecologists.
•To develop a computer software system to enable ecologists to use cutting edge statistical methodology on their own data.
•To train end-users in the use of methodology and accompanying software developed by NCSE.
•To build upon and create new collaborations with relevant stakeholders.
•To develop and deliver a programme of workshops and conferences.
In 2010, NCSE was expanded to include the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Glasgow and Sheffield, together with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and the University of Cambridge dropped out, following departure of staff. This expansion was achieved with the aid of a new five-year joint EPSRC/NERC grant. Four further organisations are Project Partners: Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland; the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; and Marine Scotland.