In the last few months, we’ve welcomed three new starters to the Bristol is Open (BiO) team. Elisa Covato, Kathryn Armitstead and Hilary Singleton joined during the summer, bringing a wealth of expertise, and have already made an impact on our work. Elisa and Kathryn are sharing a role as Analysts whilst Hilary takes up the Finance Director mantle.


Originally a Mathematician, Elisa obtained her Doctoral degree in Pure Mathematics from the University of Bristol. During the last year of her PhD, she realised she wanted to use her problem-solving skills to produce something that would help people. Bristol is Open has given Elisa, “the opportunity to share scientific knowledge and the mathematical rigour in the development of everyday applications for the well-being of citizens.”

As an Analyst, Elisa’s job mainly focuses on data analysis and modelling. In her words, she “creates solutions to complex problems involving data”. For example, Elisa is currently working on a predictive model for one of the innovative projects Bristol is Open is involved in, which includes the creation of an algorithm that, by analysing data and the use of a bit of probability, can forecast outcomes. Furthermore, Elisa’s role also includes collaboration with the international partners of the projects.


Kathryn started her career with a degree and doctorate in Physics, followed by working as a consulting pensions actuary at a global consulting firm. Her strong analytical background in dealing with a wide variety of data sources and making predictions about the long-term future means she is bringing her skills as strong assets to her role here as an Analyst.

Kathryn’s primary role at BiO is to be the ‘go to’ person for any matters relating to data – an intentionally broad brief. In practice, it means that Kathryn needs to understand how data comes onto our platform, what happens to it within the platform and how it is stored. In addition, she needs to consider how we use the data to gain insights into the past and to build models for the future. On a day-to-day basis, Kathryn prepares documents for Bristol is Open’s platform’s users, discusses how to visualise existing data and looks at how models can be created to make predictions, as well as examining any new software tools that may prove useful in BiO projects.


Hilary has over 30 years of experience as a Financial Director working in engineering and manufacturing for 20 years before moving to a website hosting company where she worked for seven years. Five years ago, Hilary decided to freelance, supplying Financial Director services to smaller companies who needed a director on a part-time basis.

As our Financial Director, Hilary looks after the financial side of the company and ensures that the information provided to shareholders and Board Members is timely, meaningful and accurate. Furthermore, Hilary is responsible for making sure costs are under control and income is maximised.


Welcoming these appointments, Julie Snell, our CEO said:

“I am delighted to have Elisa, Kathryn and Hilary in our team. They’ve got to work straight away, with our analysts acting on our live projects and Hilary getting stuck into the all-important financial management of an R&D outfit. It was fantastic to work with the Women in Tech hub who helped us with our recruitment process.”