The Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) is launched!

The Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) is pleased to announce that, with the formation of the initial Board of Directors and seed funding of $50K from the SSC development fund, the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI, pronounced "can-see") is now launched.

CANSSI will be a national virtual institute offering the leadership and infrastructure necessary to increase and further develop statistical sciences research in Canada and promote the discipline. Building on the international stature of the Canadian statistical community, CANSSI will seek to develop all areas of the statistical sciences, including interdisciplinary research where statistical innovation is essential to the development of other disciplines. Through national networks of researchers, CANSSI will tackle the big research questions in statistics of importance to science and the public interest, and will establish links with other disciplines and organizations that are heavy users and producers of data.

The SSC is particularly pleased that Mary Thompson, FRSC, Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Waterloo, has agreed to be the initial Scientific Director of CANSSI. She will also serve on the Board of Directors. With her distinguished career as a researcher and as an administrator, Mary will do an excellent job of steering CANSSI during this important developmental stage.

The initial Board of Directors of CANSSI, containing a wealth of experience in leadership and including recipients of numerous national and international research awards, is well equipped to launch this new institute in the statistical sciences. It consists of: a) five (regional) Associate Directors—Hugh Chipman (Atlantic Provinces), Christian Genest (Québec), Nancy Reid (Ontario), Alexandre Leblanc (Manitoba/Saskatchewan) and Will Welch (Alberta/B.C.); b) five representatives of statistical sciences organizations in other countries or representatives of disciplines or sectors where statistics is applied —Rosemary Bender (Assistant Chief Statistician, Informatics and Methodology Field, Statistics Canada), Arvind Gupta (Scientific Director, MITACS), Michael Kramer (Professor of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill; former Scientific Director, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, CIHR ), Richard Smith (Director, SAMSI: Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute) and Francis Zwiers (Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium); and c) the Directors of the three Canadian mathematical sciences institutes — Alejandro Adem (PIMS: Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences), Edward Bierstone (Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences) and François Lalonde (CRM: Centre de recherches mathématiques).

CANSSI is the result of a large-scale process of reflection within the Canadian statistical sciences community, conducted in tandem with the Long Range Planning Exercise for the Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, initiated by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). As an outcome of the Long Range Planning discussions, the Directors of the three mathematical sciences institutes are committed to working with the statistical sciences community on the CANSSI initiative, with the inclusion of funding for CANSSI projects and activities in the next cycle of NSERC proposals. CANSSI will be part of the Canadian network of thematic and collaborative resources envisaged in the Long Range Plan, and will seek to increase the recognition of the importance of the statistical sciences in Canada. Having a national institute will allow the statistical sciences community to pursue its own directions and seek additional funding opportunities.

In October, the Board of Directors of the SSC decided to allocate seed money to CANSSI from its development fund, in recognition of the importance of this initiative to the Canadian statistical sciences community. This will allow CANSSI to function until it obtains anticipated funding for infrastructure from institutional memberships (beginning in May 2013).

Stay tuned for further announcements on initial activities of CANSSI!

John Brewster and Christian Léger
Past President and President of the Statistical Society of Canada