ERA, RAE, PBRF – anyone for acronym bingo? As some readers may recognize, they all relate to research assessment schemes. Success in such activities is becoming increasingly important to secure research funding (and in some cases to maintain employment!). A variety of dimensions of research output, impact and recognition are taken into account for these types of evaluation. For those aiming high, receipt of research awards are pure gold. However, until recently, statisticians in New Zealand were at a distinct disadvantage in gaining such recognition in comparison to researchers in other scientific disciplines. There was only one national award targeted exclusively at statisticians, the New Zealand Statistical Association’s Campbell Award. Moreover, that was not awarded every year, and was not specifically a research award, being available also for prolonged achievement in areas like statistics education and promotion of statistics.
Things changed from 2013, with the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) establishing two new research awards. The Littlejohn Research Award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years. It is named in commemoration of Roger Littlejohn, who worked as a biometrician for nearly 30 years, and who was a stalwart of the NZSA. The Worsley Early Career Research Award recognizes outstanding recent published research from a New Zealand statistician in the early stages of their career. It commemorates Keith Worsley, a world leader in the statistical analysis of functional and structural brain imaging data.
The inaugural research awards were presented at the conference dinner for the joint NZSA-ORSNZ (Operations Research Society of New Zealand) meeting in November 2013, in Hamilton. The Littlejohn Research Award was won by Professor Richard Barker (University of Otago), for his outstanding work in ecological statistics (in particular, with capture-recapture models) and the Worsley Early Career Research Award by Dr Ting Wang (University of Otago) for her excellent research in statistical geophysics. John Harraway received the Campbell Award for his a remarkable and ongoing contribution to statistics teaching and learning. John is also from the University of Otago – it’s obviously something in the air down there!
Lastly, for anyone who did try their hand at deciphering the acronyms, ERA is Excellence in Research for Australia; RAE is the British Research Assessment Exercise; and PBRF is the New Zealand Performance Based Research Funding.
Martin Hazelton, NZSA Awards Convenor
For more information of the NZSA honours visit: http://stats.org.nz/honours
The Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) and the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) held a joint conference at the University of Waikato (November 2013). This well attended and very successful conference covered practical and theoretical aspects of operations research and statistics. A gallery of photos (kindly snapped by Harold Henderson) is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/111101747@N06/.
The NZSA’s 2013 AGM was held on Tuesday November 26 at the University of Waikato during the joint NZSA+ORSNZ conference. Reports from the various NZSA officeholders and committees are available at http://stats.org.nz/archive/agm-reports.
Victoria University of Wellington
Dates have tentatively been set for this year’s NZSA conference, which again will be joint with ORSNZ. A reception is planned for the evening of Sunday 23 November, followed by 2 1/2 days of talks.
More information to come!
It is with sadness that we report Ken Jury passed away on July 8. Ken was a well known and respected statistician who began his career at Ruakura (Hamilton) in 1958. He was responsible for biometrics and computing at Ruakura from 1969 until 1979, when he became Director of Animal Research, and was also appointed to the Council of the University of Waikato.
Ken was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the Dairy Industry in 1998.
A full appreciation of Ken’s involvement with statistical and mathematical science in New Zealand appears as the lead article of the June 1996 newsletter of the NZSA.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 18th September 2013