Ben Gardner

Sheffield Methods Institute

Doctoral Researcher

Full contact details

Ben Gardner
Sheffield Methods Institute
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Ben joined the SMI in 2018 as part of the CDT's Ph.D./Masters programme. Having originally graduated with a BA in Economics and Politics in 2003, he pursued a career in the civil service and local government before becoming a HR Systems/Business Analyst for multinational tech company in 2010. He returned to academia in 2017 to complete a Masters in Social Research at the University of York. His dissertation analysed UK voting patterns at local elections using regression techniques and socioeconomic indicators. The CDT programme Ben joined in 2018 focused on training social science students in Advanced Quantitative Methods and cooperative research with external partner organisations. Working with the UK Home Office, Ben's topic involved the operational choices and cost-benefit analysis of border control systems at airports. This was a multidisciplinary issue, covering Border Control, Migration, Air Transport Mananage and Valuation of Travel Time literatures. The AQM used included simulation modelling and data analysis/visualisation in R/Python, logistic regression analysis and stated preference surveys/choice modelling.


BA Economics and Politics (York)

MA Social Research (York)

Ph.D./Masters Data Analytics and Society (pending - Sheffield)

Research interests

Border Control. Migration. Air Travel. International Development. Advance Methods. UK Politics.

Modelling of Passenger Clearance at the UK Border (with Border Force)

More than 140 million passengers per year enter the UK by air, sea and rail. Border Force play a vital role in protecting security and preventing crime, including high harm activity such as human trafficking. This they must do while minimising the impediment to lawful travellers – in particular, minimising the queues at passport control. This research builds upon an advanced toolkit using bespoke optimisation algorithms which match resource to expected arrival workload. Aspects of the problem investigated include: Understanding the risks that flight delays create for border authorities; Demonstrating the cost of border mobility inequalities; and Improving methodologies for accurately allocating automated gate capacity.

Research group

PhD Supervisors:

Professor Gwilym Pryce

Dr Aneta Piekut

Mauricio A Alvarez



Teaching activities

Ben worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the Data Visualisation in R Module (Winter 2020/21 & 2021/22). This included developing class material, teaching classes online and in-person and assessment marking. He also assisted with Advanced Quantitative Methods teaching as part of the MIGREC project in Serbia.

Professional activities and memberships

BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis. 10 years work experience in data and systems analysis, primarily in the field of HR.