Lindsay Paterson’s undergraduate education was in Aberdeen University (where he studied mainly mathematics and English literature), and he then did a PhD in statistics at Edinburgh University. He gained postdoctoral experience working as a statistician for the Agricultural Research Council, after which he was a lecturer in the Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics at Heriot-Watt University. While there, his research was mainly in epidemiological work in medicine.
Since the late 1980s he has worked on topics in educational sociology, education policy and Scottish politics. He has served on the Research Resources Board of the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and has been an adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee, and to several government departments since the early 1990s.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2004 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2013.