Importance of Statistics Highlighted by ASA White Papers and International Year of Statistics Workshop Report

The American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, has released three white papers detailing how statistics can contribute to the Administration’s research initiatives and priorities, particularly those of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  The white papers focus on the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, and climate change.  In an overview of the white papers, ASA Director of Science Policy Steve Pierson observed that the papers share several common themes:

  1.  “Statistics/statisticians can help to make important advances on OSTP priorities;
  2. The most productive approach will involve multidisciplinary teams of statisticians, domain scientists, and others (e.g., computer scientists);
  3. There is a need to attract, train, and retain the next generation of statisticians so as to contribute to all interdisciplinary research challenges.”

The white papers are available on the website of ASA’s magazine Amstat News:

In addition, the report from a 2013 workshop conducted as part of the International Year of Statistics was recently released. The paper, Statistics and Science: A Report of the London Workshop on the Future of the Statistical Sciences, covers how statistics is used in the modern world as well as current trends and future challenges in statistics (with a special focus on big data). The report concludes that “the view of statistics that emerged from the London workshop was one of a field that, after three centuries, is as healthy as it ever has been, with robust growth in student enrollment, abundant new sources of data, and challenging problems to solve over the next century.”

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