Award Winners in 2011

Honorary Member

SSC Honorary Membership awarded to Constance van Eeden

Constance van Eeden


Constance van Eeden, Emeritus Professor at Université de Montréal, Professeure associée at Université du Québec à Montréal and Honorary Professor at University of British Columbia, has been awarded Honorary Membership in the Statistical Society of Canada. The distinction, which was announced at the June 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society held in Wolfville, NS, recognizes Professor van Eeden’s exceptional contributions to the development of statistical sciences in Canada.
Constance van Eeden was born on April 6, 1927 in Delft, The Netherlands. Her father was a high school teacher. In 1934 her family moved to Bergen-op-Zoom where Constance did grades 2 through 6, and then high school, finishing in 1944. Afterwards she moved to Amsterdam, the capital city, where she started her university studies, obtaining a B.Sc. (1949), an M.Sc. (1954) and a Ph.D. (1958, cum laude) degrees from the University of Amsterdam. Her Ph.D. thesis was written under the supervision of the legendary David van Dantzig.
Her academic career spans over 50 years. It began in The Netherlands, continued on in the United States and then in Canada where she has done most of her work. She started off as a Research Associate at the Mathematical Centre (1954-60) in Amsterdam. At the invitation of Herman Rubin, she joined Michigan State University as a Visiting Associate Professor (1960-61). She then moved to University of Minnesota where she was Research Associate (1961-64) and Associate Professor (1964-65).
In 1965, van Eeden and her late husband, Charles H. Kraft, with whom she shared a passion for mathematics and statistics that led to numerous fruitful collaborations, decided to move to Canada, settling in Montréal. The move was, in no small measure, in response to warm invitations from Jacques Saint-Pierre, Maurice L’Abbé and Anatole Joffe. Her long association with Université de Montréal began in 1965, holding the positions of Professeure agrégée (1965-68), Professeure titulaire (1968-88) and Professeure émérite (1988-present). After Kraft and van Eeden’s arrival, the city started to be visited by world famous statisticians, including Jerzy Neyman, Lucien Le Cam, Jaroslav Hájek, Herbert Robbins and Hermann Chernoff, and bustled with scientific statistical events. After her retirement from the Université de Montréal, she has kept an active academic career, holding the positions of Chercheure associée (1989-91) and Professeure associée (1991-present) at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and Adjunct Professor (1989-95) and Honorary Professor (1995-present) at the University of British Columbia.
Professor van Eeden is a world-renowned researcher, recognized for her influential contributions in the areas of estimation in restricted parameter spaces, decision theory, nonparametrics and selection procedures. Her work reveals great intellectual courage, mathematical skill and originality. She is often credited with establishing the foundations for the area of inference for restricted parameter spaces ahead of its time, before the area gained attention as an important area of research. Its main impact stems from the fact that statistical procedures that exploit parameter restrictions can achieve important improvements in performance, for example significant reductions in the mean square error of estimators, when compared with unrestricted estimation.
In collaboration with her late husband, Charles H. Kraft, Constance made another great contribution through their pioneering work on nonparametric statistical inference. For many years “Kraft and van Eeden” were household names in that discipline. Their visibility was enhanced by their publication of a highly innovative book on the subject: A Nonparametric Introduction to Statistics by C.H. Kraft and C. van Eeden, Macmillan Co., 1968.
Teaching and supervision of graduate students figured very high in her list of academic duties. To date, van Eeden has supervised 14 Ph.D. and 19 Masters students. Many have become seasoned researchers, scattered around the country from St. John’s, NL to Vancouver, BC. She would spare no time in generously advising younger researchers on whatever concerns they had, from specific research questions to planning their careers.
With a keen eye for detail, van Eeden’s editorial contributions are well-known. For Statistical Theory and Methods Abstracts, she served as Editor in Chief (1990- 2004) and Regional Editor for Canada and US (1994-2004). She was an Associate Editor for the Annals of Statistics (1974-77), The Canadian Journal of Statistics (1980-94) and the Annales des Sciences Mathématiques du Québec (1986-98). Since 2006, Constance has been a Reviewer for Mathematical Reviews. Throughout the years, van Eeden has served on numerous scientific and professional committees, including NSERC’s Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee (1978-81) and International Fellowships Selection Committee (1990), IMS’s Committee on Fellows (1973-76) and Council (1977-80), Board of Directors of the Canadian Mathematical Society (1981-83), Noether Award Committee (2001-03, 2004-06), and the SSC’s Special Awards Committee (1990-91) and the Scientific Committee for the Society’s annual meeting held at Université Laval in 1987.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Constance has received numerous awards. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1972), Fellow of the American Statistical Association (1972) and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute (1978). In 1990 van Eeden received the Gold Medal from the Statistical Society of Canada, the highest distinction bestowed by the Society. In 1999, the International Statistical Institute awarded van Eeden the Henri Willem Methorst Medal in recognition of outstanding and significant services rendered. The ISI also recognized van Eeden with the ISI Service Certificate in 2003. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the Université de Montréal created, in 1998, the Prix Constance van Eeden in recognition of her contributions to the development of statistics at the Université de Montréal.
In an interview for Liaison in 2003, van Eeden shared some of her experience with World War II while living in Bergen-op-Zoom, The Netherlands, when she was in her teen years. When liberation day (October 27, 1944) for Bergen-op-Zoom came, Constance was writing her final high school exams. Bertrand Clarke, the interviewer, asked her what that day was like for her. She replied, “The day that the Canadians pulled in, I will never forget that. Two o’clock in the morning. All this noise in the street and there they were. But we knew already that the Allies were on their way. We followed them, by illegally listening to the BBC broadcasting from England. The recovery from the war was slower than people think. The retreating Germans destroyed things that could have been used against them. Rationing and currency restrictions went on well into the 50’s.”
Every year, Constance typically spends the Fall at UBC. The rest of the year she is in The Netherlands, in her house in the picturesque Broek in Waterland, a five-hundred year old village of about 2500 people, close to Amsterdam. There, Constance is close to her daughter Kari, her brothers and many nephews and nieces.
The citation for the award reads,
“To Constance van Eeden, for fundamental and pioneering work in nonparametric statistics and estimation in restricted parameter spaces; for her high standards in research, in particular numerous editorial contributions in Canada and elsewhere; for generously mentoring and inspiring many generations of statisticians.”


SSC Gold Medalist

SSC Gold Medal awarded to Christian Genest

Christian Genest

Christian Genest, a Professor at McGill University, is the winner of the 2011 Gold Medal of the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC). This prestigious annual award is intended to honor a Canadian probabilist or statistician who has made substantial contributions to the development of his/her area of research through methodological achievements and applications.
A native of Chicoutimi (Québec), Christian studied mathematics and statistics at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (BSpSc, 1977), the Université de Montréal (MSc, 1978), and the University of British Columbia (PhD, 1983). His thesis, written under the supervision of Jim Zidek, won the Pierre Robillard Award. Christian was then a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie-Mellon University (1983-4) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo (1984-7) before joining Université Laval, where he was successively Assistant (1987-9), Associate (1989-93), and Full Professor (1993-2010). He was hired at McGill last year as the prospective holder of a Canada Research Chair in Stochastic Dependence Modeling. Since 1983, he also held visiting positions in Brussels, Louvain-la-Neuve, Paris, Pau, Toulouse, and Zürich, in addition to being an Adjunct for a few years at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (Québec, secteur eau, terre et environnement).
Over the past 28 years, Christian has made substantial contributions to the development of multivariate analysis, nonparametric statistics, group decision-making, and multi-criteria analysis. Questioned about his publication record, he says with a touch of humor that it took him an inordinate amount of work to become a “100 papiers” (which in French sounds the same as “sans-papiers,” i.e., a refugee!). He has indeed authored just over “100 papers” in refereed journals but his curriculum vitae comprises more than 180 publications if you include articles in books, conference proceedings, and professional magazines such as Liaison. Many of his contributions have appeared in leading journals such as Biometrika, Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Journal of the American Statistical Association, The Annals of Statistics, and The Canadian Journal of Statistics (CJS). To date, he has supervised or co-supervised 38 MSc students, five PhD students (including Pierre Robillard Award winner Jean-François Quessy), as well as five postdoctoral fellows.
Christian is widely regarded as an expert in dependence modeling through copulas and several of his contributions to the field have had a significant impact on its development. His seminal work in the area has helped to raise the awareness of statisticians to the importance of copulas as a tool for understanding and modeling stochastic dependence between continuous variables. An ardent defender of rank-based inference, which plays a key role in this context, he developed—with his close collaborators—a host of estimators, tests, selection and validation procedures for copula models that are now widely used, notably in finance, insurance, and hydrology. In recent years, Christian has also promoted the use of nonparametric techniques in extreme-value theory and he is currently busy extending the copula approach to problems involving discrete or censored data that may depend on time or covariates.
While Christian is best known for his work in the area of dependence modeling, his achievements extend well beyond this field. For example, he has long been interested in issues surrounding the reconciliation of expert judgments. In addition to providing Bayesian and axiomatic justifications for various pooling operators, he co-authored with Jim Zidek an influential paper on expert use that has been very frequently cited and remains of current interest 25 years after its publication in Statistical Science. Christian also contributed significantly to the study of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, a structured technique for complex decision making. His work provided a sound statistical foundation for this popular decision tool and showed its connection with the theory of paired comparisons.
Over the years, Christian’s excellence in research was recognized through various awards and honours. He is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI, in 1992) as well as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (1996) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1997). In 1999, he was the first CRM-SSC Prize winner and received a Summa Research Award from Université Laval, where his teaching abilities also earned him four “professeur étoile” awards.
To members of the SSC, Christian is equally known for his sustained and distinguished service in many roles. Since 1980, he has served in or chaired a dozen committees, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors (1988-92) and on the Executive Committee (2006-9). He was President of the Society in 2007-8, as well as translator (1981-6, 1998-2008) and Webmaster (1998-2010) for the CJS. For his involvement in SSC activities, he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1997. However, his dedication to the profession extends well beyond our organization. He was, among others, Undergraduate Chair for Statistics at Université Laval (2002-6) and President of the Association des statisticiennes et des statisticiens du Québec (2005-8). At the international level, he served for ten years on the ISI Jan Tinbergen Award Committee and for eight years on the Marie-Jeanne Laurent-Duhamel Award Committee of the Société française de statistique (SFdS). He was also Chair of the Selection Committee for the COPSS Fisher Lectureship.
Christian’s contribution to conference organization provides further evidence of his service record and influence in the field. Throughout his career, he was a member of the Program Committee for six SSC Annual Meetings, five SFdS Journées de statistique, seven Symposiums on Distributions with Given Marginals and Statistical Modeling, and two Symposiums on the Analytic Hierarchy Process, among others. Furthermore, he was Program Chair for the 28e Journées de statistique (Québec, 1996), the DeMoSTAFI Meeting (Québec, 2004), the 32nd SSC Annual Meeting (Montréal, 2004), and a workshop on copula modeling at the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM, Montréal) earlier this year.
Christian has also a very strong record of editorial service. In particular, he was Editor-in-Chief for the CJS (1998-2000) and was Guest Editor for special issues, both for Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (2005, 2009) and the CJS (2005). He was also an Associate Editor for various journals, including the CJS (1988-97, 2001–3), the Journal de la Société française de statistique (1999-2008), the Journal of Multivariate Analysis (2003- ), the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics (2005-8), and TEST (2002-4). Since 2000, he has been a Consulting Editor for the Statistics and Applied Probability Series of Springer-France.
Finally, Christian has worked as a consultant and in other professional capacities for all kinds of organizations. Among others, he was a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Statistical Methods (1994-9), NSERC’s Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee (1991-4, Chair in 1993-4), and similar selection committees for two Québec granting agencies (FQRNT, FRSQ). A popular speaker, he has given over 225 invited talks in some 15 countries and often goes to high schools and colleges to promote careers in statistics.
Christian credits much of his success to his parents, family and colleagues, who always supported him unconditionally. His long-term collaborations with Philippe Capéraà, Michel Gendron, Johanna Nešlehová, Bruno Rémillard, Louis-Paul Rivest and many others forged lasting friendships and, in one case, turned into love. In their spare time, Christian and Johanna like to read, go to the theatre or watch movies, travel, hike or attend cultural and sports events. Christian also has a passion for history and even wrote a few papers about it with another friend, David Bellhouse. Furthermore, Christian was actively involved for many years in his parish and as a minor-league baseball coach and umpire. He is the proud father of three dynamic and independent young adults: Marianne, Arnaud, and Vincent Genest.
Christian received his Gold Medal at the 39th SSC Annual Meeting held in Wolfville, NS, June 12-15, 2011. The citation that accompanied the award reads:
“To Christian Genest, in recognition of his remarkable contributions to multivariate analysis and nonparametric statistics, notably through the development of models and methods of inference for studying stochastic dependence, synthesizing expert judgments and multi-criteria decision making, as well as for his applications thereof in various fields such as insurance, finance, and hydrology.”
Christian will deliver the Gold Medal Address at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society to be held June 3-6, 2012, in Guelph, ON. 

Distinguished Service Award

Distinguished Service Award: David A. Binder

David A. Binder

The 2011 SSC Distinguished Service Award is conferred to David A. Binder, retired Director General of the Methodology Branch at Statistics Canada. The announcement was made at the Society’s Annual Meeting held in Wolfville, NS on June 12-15. The distinction is awarded to an SSC member who has made substantial contributions to the running or welfare of the SSC, over a period of several years. The award is intended to reward devotion and service to statistics in Canada, as shown by exceptional service to the SSC.
Born in the United Kingdom to war refugees from Austria and Czechoslovakia, David and his family immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto when he was two years old. David remained in Toronto until he graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc, specializing in mathematics, statistics and economics. After taking some graduate courses in mathematical statistics as a part-time student at Carleton University, David moved to London, England where he earned a Ph.D. in statistics from Imperial College of Science & Technology in 1977. His Ph.D. research was supervised by David R. Cox and Ann F. S. Mitchell.
David’s affiliation with Statistics Canada began in 1971 as a Survey Methodologist. Over the years, David moved up the ranks at Statistics Canada, culminating his career as the Director General of the Methodology Branch. This Branch had responsibility for providing statistical services to programs throughout the bureau, and for conducting research into state-of-the-art survey methods. He interrupted his career for three years (1973-6) to pursue post-graduate studies at the University of London in the United Kingdom, and later for two years (1979-81) to hold a teaching and research position at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Administration. During the four months prior to his retirement in 2004, David was a Senior Advisor to an Assistant Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada.
In spite of his demanding responsibilities at Statistics Canada, David found time to contribute generously to professional work, particularly for the Statistical Society of Canada. Over the years, David has served on a host of SSC committees and chaired many of the key ones, including the Elections, Awards, Membership, and Regional and Society Co-operation Committees. He also represented Ontario for four years on the Society’s Board of Directors. In 2004, David was elected president of the SSC, serving as President-Elect (2004-05), President (2005-06) and Past-President (2006-07). He was then appointed as the first Executive Director of the Society for the period 2007-10.
David’s cumulative rich experience, his wide network of contacts, his farsightedness and ability to negotiate have all served the Society well over the years. He is a devoted member of the SSC who works hard either at the front lines, or in the background, to achieve the Society’s mission and to advance its influence beyond traditional boundaries. For many years, David was the voice of the SSC before the American Statistical Association. As SSC Representative in the ASA Committee on Meetings, David was very effective in speaking for the SSC during the drafting of the new contract among the sponsoring societies of the Joint Statistical Meetings. In the ASA, he also served as Chair of the Survey Research Methods Section, and member of the Joint Statistical Meetings Advisory Committee, Council of Sections, ASA Census Advisory Committee of the US Bureau of the Census, and ASA Expert Panel to Review the Current Employment Statistics Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has also served on panels to review statistical frameworks for the European Commission.
Tangible examples of David’s deeds in the SSC abound. He led the SSC in challenging discussions on accreditation, on management of the SSC office and initiated discussions on how to engage young statisticians in the functioning of the Society. He was passionate about such engagement and viewed it as critical that the Society held the needs of young statisticians as prime concern. During his presidency, he implemented the AStat program and the accreditation of university courses, after much debate on the Board of Directors. David supervised the creation of the Probability Section and played a major role in the introduction of new awards, most notably the Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work, developing the award’s terms of reference and chairing its first selection committee. David worked closely with the Program Secretary and the Program Chair to regularize the SSC protocols for running Annual Meetings. He strongly supported collaborative research initiatives undertaken by NPCDS.
Also during David’s presidency, an office transition took place, with the SSC contracting the services of the Canadian Mathematical Society’s office. David was key in helping the staff understand the particulars of SSC operations, the philosophy of our Society, the management of our meetings, and the role of committees and the Executive. He was absolutely instrumental in streamlining the Society’s day-to-day management and in providing needed stability at a time of major change. It then became apparent that David was going to be the most effective person in the SSC to assume the Executive Director’s job. Those who have observed David’s work in the SSC know that he is undaunted by difficult or challenging tasks and always rises to the occasion.
David A. Binder is an accomplished researcher who has made significant contributions in survey methodology and applications. He has published over 35 refereed research articles, over 40 publications in conference proceedings and over 15 reports and other publications. His articles have appeared in top journals, including Biometrika, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics. He served as Associate Editor for Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics, and has edited several conference proceedings. David served in NSERC’s Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee. His statistical leadership and research contributions have been recognized with Elected Membership in the International Statistical Institute and Fellowship in the American Statistical Association.
David lives in Ottawa with Marilyn, his wife of nearly forty years. They have a daughter working in Vancouver in the technology sector, whose passions include spoken-word poetry and the ukulele. David’s hobbies include playing competitive bridge, reading recently published award-winning novels, and even continuing to read the statistical journals.
David first joined the SSC in the early 80’s. He said, “I joined the SSC because at that time there were not enough non-academic statisticians in the Society who could influence its direction and goals”. He found his work as a volunteer in the Society very rewarding. “I was continuously energized in my work with the SSC because I got to work closely with so many highly motivated and competent professionals.”
The award citation reads:
To David A. Binder, for exceptionally devoted and highly effective service to the SSC, as representative internationally, as President and member of the Executive Committee, and Executive Director of the Society for the period 2004-2010; for career-long leadership in support of research and learning in statistical science in Canada.” 

Pierre-Robillard Award

Pierre-Robillard Award: Gun Ho Jang

Gun Ho Jang

Gun Ho Jang is the winner of the 2010 Pierre Robillard Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. This prize recognizes the best Ph.D. thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year.
Gun Ho’s thesis is entitled “Invariant Procedures for Model Checking, Checking for Prior-Data Conflict and Bayesian Inference.” It was written at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Michael Evans. In his work, Gun Ho focused on invariant procedures in Statistics, that is, the results of two statisticians’ independent data analyses, based upon the same statistical theory and using effectively the same statistical ingredients, are the same. He proposed assessments of single null hypotheses without any specific alternative hypothesis which are applicable for both model checking and checking for prior-data conflict. Then he explored properties of relative surprise inferences, an invariant Bayesian inference methodology which compares the belief changes from a priori to a posteriori, such as consistency and asymptotic normality.
Gun Ho was born in Boryoung, a small municipality in South Korea, Republic of Korea. He did his undergraduate and master studies in mathematics at Seoul National University in Seoul. He started his Ph.D. in the statistics program at the University of Toronto in September 2006 and defended his thesis in April 2010. He now holds a postdoctoral position in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
Speaking about his life as student and husband, Gun Ho said that when he struggled to make a firm decision about studying abroad, his wife, Jae Young Yu, held him steady by saying, “if you have an earnest dream, follow it in order not to regret at the end of your life.” Then, with a good degree of emotion, he added, “without her strong support, I couldn’t have earned my degree. I would like to dedicate my thesis and the Pierre Robillard Award to her.”

The criteria used in selecting the winner of the Pierre Robillard Award include the originality of ideas and techniques, the possible applications and their treatment, and the potential impact of the work. The award is named in memory of Professor Pierre Robillard, an outstanding dynamic young statistician at the Université de Montréal, whose untimely death in 1975 cut short what promised to be a highly distinguished career. 

CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics

CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics awarded to Edward Susko

Edward Susko

Edward Andrew Susko, Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University, is the 2011 winner of the CRM-SSC Prize. Ed has been at the forefront of the development of probabilistic and statistical methods across the field of genetics and computational biology, and is recognized as an international leader. Alongside work published in the mainstream statistics literature, his papers have appeared in some of the most influential journals in the field (PNAS, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Journal of Theoretical Biology). His important contributions, highly cited and recognized as foundational by world-leading experts, include work on statistical phylogenetics, comparative genomics and molecular evolution. His recent results concerning the application of the bootstrap to phylogenetics, where it is perhaps the most widely used computational tool, and the development of theoretical results related to likelihood estimation, have been described as having the potential to completely change the way that molecular phylogenetics is practised and interpreted worldwide.

A native of the Windsor area in Ontario, Ed earned a B.A. in mathematics from University of Windsor in 1990. He then moved to University of British Columbia where he earned a M.Sc. in statistics in 1992. His Ph.D. in statistics was completed in 1996 at University of Waterloo. His Ph.D. thesis won the Pierre Robillard Award of the SSC in 1996. Ed has continually produced research work of the highest quality. In 2001 he received the CJS Best Paper Award from the SSC. More recently, Ed was Fellow of the CIAR Program in Evolutionary Biology (2005-2007).
Ed credits much of his success to fruitful and enjoyable collaborations with Andrew Roger and other members of the vibrant evolutionary bioinformatics community at Dalhousie. A caring family and a number of thoughtful SSC members played important roles in formative years. He and his wife, Tammy, enjoy reading, walks, kayaking and an occasional game of golf. They live in Bedford, Nova Scotia with their two children, Mark and Melissa, who enjoy camping, cross-country, swimming, The Amazing Race and Mabinogi, not necessarily in that order.
Edward Susko is the thirteenth recipient of the CRM-SSC Prize. Previous winners of the award were Christian Genest (Laval), Robert J. Tibshirani (Stanford), Colleen D. Cutler (Waterloo), Larry A. Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon), Charmaine B. Dean (Simon Fraser), Randy R. Sitter (Simon Fraser), Jiahua Chen (Waterloo), Jeffrey S. Rosenthal (Toronto), Richard J. Cook (Waterloo), Paul Gustafson (UBC), Hugh A. Chipman (Acadia), and Grace Y. Yi (Waterloo).

The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award

The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award: Isabel Molina and J.N.K. Rao

Isabel Molina J.N.K. Rao 

The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award is presented each year by the Statistical Society of Canada to the author(s) of an article published in the journal, in recognition of the outstanding quality of the paper’s methodological innovation and presentation.
This year’s winner is the article entitled “Small area estimation of poverty indicators” (vol. 38, no 3, pp. 369-385), by Isabel Molina and J.N.K. Rao.
The authors propose to estimate nonlinear small area population parameters by using the empirical Bayes (best) method, based on a nested error model. They focus on poverty indicators as particular nonlinear parameters of interest, but the proposed methodology is applicable to general nonlinear parameters. They use a parametric bootstrap method to estimate the mean squared error of the empirical best estimators. They also establish small sample properties of these estimators by model-based and design-based simulation studies. Results show large reductions in mean squared error relative to direct area-specific estimators and other estimators obtained by simulated censuses. The authors also apply the proposed method to estimate poverty incidences and poverty gaps in Spanish provinces by gender with mean squared errors estimated by the mentioned parametric bootstrap method. For the Spanish data, results show a significant reduction in coefficient of variation of the proposed empirical best estimators over direct estimators for practically all domains. The paper develops a methodology that can provide more accurate results in small area estimation of poverty indicators and poverty gaps. The application and presentation of the results were also outstanding.
Isabel Molina joined the Department of Statistics at Carlos III University-Madrid as an Assistant Professor in 2003, currently she is a Tenured Associate Professor in the same department. Prior to joining Carlos III University-Madrid, Molina earned B.Sc. (statistics, 1999) and PhD (statistics and operations research, 2003) degrees, both from Miguel Hernández University-Elche in the Alicante Province, Spain. On the research front, her interests include small area estimation, linear mixed models, generalised linear mixed models and resampling techniques, in particular the bootstrap. A recipient of the Ramiro Melendreras Prize from the Statistics and Operations Research Society of Spain (2001), Molina also received the Doctoral Prize for Excellence from Miguel Hernández University (2005). Molina is an active member of the Statistics and Operations Research Society of Spain where she currently serves on the Liaison Committee with Companies.
J.N.K. Rao is Distinguished Research Professor at Carleton University. Rao consults regularly for Statistics Canada; he is also a Member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Methodology. He received an Honorary Doctor of Mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo in 2008. Rao’s research interests in survey sampling include small area estimation, missing data and imputation, empirical likelihood methods, re-sampling methods for variance estimation, analysis of survey data, multiple frame surveys and inferential issues. In addition to his prolific and distinguished research record, Rao is the author of the 2003 Wiley book Small Area Estimation. A recipient of the Waksberg Award (2004) for survey methodology, he also was awarded the Gold Medal of the Statistical Society of Canada (1993). Rao is listed as ISI Highly Cited Researcher in Mathematical Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Royal Society of Canada. 

SSC Impact Award

SSC Impact Award: Francis Zwiers

Francis Zwiers

At its Annual Meeting held in Wolfville, NS, June 12-15, the Statistical Society of Canada announced that Francis Zwiers is the 2011 recipient of the Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by SSC members in collaborative research and applied work, the importance of which derives primarily from its relatively recent impact on a subject area outside of the statistical sciences, on an area of application, or on an organization.
This year the award is presented to Francis Zwiers
“in recognition of his pioneering research at the intersection of climate science and statistics; for his fundamental contributions to the development of statistical methods for climate studies; for his national and international achievements in climate science; and for his outstanding record of public service.”
Born on April 21, 1951 in Steenwijk in the Dutch province of Overijssel, The Netherlands, Francis emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1956. He obtained a B.Math. in statistics and computer science from University of Waterloo in 1974. He then moved east for graduate studies, earning a M.Sc. in sampling theory from Acadia University in 1976 and a Ph.D. in time series analysis from Dalhousie University in 1980.
Environment Canada, the main home for his professional life, provided great opportunities for research, administrative and mentoring work. From 1984 to 2006 he worked as a research scientist in its Climate Research Division, climbing the ranks from level RES-02 to RES-05. Francis was Acting Chief (2000-01) and Chief (2001-06) of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis of the Climate Research Division. He also served as Director (2006-10) of the Climate Research Division. His academic posts include Assistant Professor at University of Saskatchewan (1981-84), and Adjunct Professor at University of Victoria (1995-2008, 2010-present), University of Toronto (2010-present) and Simon Fraser University (2010-present). Since 2010, Zwiers is Professor and Director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Conssortium at University of Victoria.
Zwiers has authored or co-authored over 100 research papers and book-chapters covering a wide range of topics in climate science and statistics. His work is highly cited, averaging over 33 citations per item. Francis is co-author (with Hans von Storch) of the monograph Statistical Analysis in Climate Research (Cambridge University Press, 1999). The monograph has become the standard reference on statistical methodologies in the field of climate science. Keenly interested in mentoring, Francis has supervised or participated in supervisory committees of over 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Francis Zwiers is acknowledged internationally as a world leader in the use of innovative statistical techniques for investigating a variety of challenging problems in climate change: the detection and attribution of change in the climate system, the analysis of temperature and precipitation extremes in present and future climates, climate predictability and variability, seasonal prediction, and the quantification of uncertainties associated with global climate models’ predictions. Fundamental understanding has emerged from his investigations. For instance, his recent work on detection and attribution has established a clear human influence in the observed changes in a variety of climate-related variables on global and regional scales: temperature and precipitation, and their extremes, atmospheric storminess and northern ocean wave heights, Canadian forest fires, high-latitude precipitation and most recently, precipitation extremes. Perhaps the most enduring impact of Francis’ work is that statistical science approaches have become an integral part of many facets of climate science.
An important element of his professional career is his effectiveness as a communicator of climate science and its application to societal changes. He is able to convey the important role that statistical science plays in establishing the validity of new research findings. The scientific areas in which he works are complex and difficult for non-specialists to understand. He is able to convey the essence of new research findings and their complexity in an understandable manner to both scientific colleagues and a broad range of audiences, including students, government officials and policy makers, and other non-specialists. One of his many accomplishments has been to raise the profile and credibility of Canadian climate science at home and abroad as a result of his ability to communicate his science. His publications that combine climate science and statistics, in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Climate, Climate Dynamics, Nature and Science, are frequently cited to have altered the way climate science is approached.
Zwiers typically works in a collaborative mode with colleagues in climate science as well as across disciplines. He is an unflagging advocate for the application of credible statistical approaches in climate science and, in turn, encourages colleagues in mathematics and statistics to tackle difficult climate problems with innovative approaches to data analysis and the detection of attribution of climate change. He has been a key player in multiple collaborative scientific activities in Canada, for example, the Canadian Climate Variability Network, supported by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
His approaches have been adopted in the scientific activities and organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the World Climate Research Program (WCRP). In the WCRP Francis has been a strong advocate for the establishment and application of sound statistical approaches in climate model intercomparisons for the evaluation of models and results. In the IPCC he was co-leader on the Chapter of the Fourth Assessment Report that presented the evidence supporting the key IPCC assessment that most of the warming during the past 50 years is very likely due to human influences on the climate system. As co-chair of the Joint WMO CCI/CLIVAR/JCOMM Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI), Francis brought to the committee statistical approaches for developing climate indices that were based on Canadian research in statistical climatology. The technology developed by ETCCDI has been transferred to users in hydro-meteorological services throughout the world.
Zwiers has been an effective and motivating mentor to students, postdoctoral fellows and young researchers, both in government laboratories and in his role as an Adjunct Professor at Universities of Victoria and Toronto, and Simon Fraser University.
Francis’ work has received numerous awards, including thePresident Prize from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, The Patterson Distinguished Service Medal from the Meteorological Service of Canada, the International Meetings on Statistical Climatology Achievement Award, and the WMO Award for Exceptionally Long Term Service to the Commission for Climatology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Meteorological Society.
Francis lives in Victoria with his wife Donna. He has three adult children who have earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science and applied mathematics. In his spare time, he does photography of birds and other subjects. When asked about how he got interested in statistics, he swiftly responded: “It was Jack Robinson’s introductory 2nd year level stats course at Waterloo that did the trick.”
Francis Zwiers will deliver the SSC Impact Award Address at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society to be held June 3-6 in Guelph, ON.