Oct 3, 2012

Open call for CRiSM Collaborative Workshops

Gareth Roberts writes:

In 2005, the Engineering and Physical Research Council of the UK and the University of Warwick jointly funded the establishment of the Centre for Research in Statistical Methodology (CRiSM) to be housed within the Department of Statistics at Warwick. External funding for the grant was approximately £4.1M. This activity has been strongly supported by the University of Warwick, including housing CRiSM in a new purpose-built wing of the Zeeman building.

CRiSM has recently been awarded continuation funding of £600,000, which will ensure the continuation and expansion of its activities until 2016. The continued initiative is again strongly supported by matching funds from within the university.

The CRiSM aims are:
* to provide a sustainable increase in capacity in Statistics within the UK;
* to provide leadership in research and training;
* to enhance the visibility and profile of UK Statistics, providing a magnet for world-leading researchers to visit the UK;
* to integrate this activity into a vibrant Warwick Statistics research environment.

The original CRiSM grant has already funded three academic positions for four years; nine years of Research Fellow positions; 10 fully-funded PhD positions; funding to support new build to house the expansion; a visitor programme; and a workshop budget that has supported 25 research workshops to date. However, CRiSM is also embedded within a broader Statistics Department strategy to maintain a balance of strength across Probability, Statistics and important interfaces with other disciplines.

In order to achieve the aims set out above, CRiSM adopts a distinctive strategy to maximise the impact of the initiative in research, training and sustainable capacity building for Warwick and the UK. In particular, there has been a strong emphasis on the funding of young researchers for its activities.

Specific areas where CRiSM has made a substantial impact include inference for stochastic processes, Bayesian computation, MCMC, sequential Monte Carlo methods, exact Monte Carlo methods, statistics of neuroimaging, statistical ecology, statistical genetics, Bayesian nonparametric statistics, risk assessment for epidemics of infectious diseases, algebraic statistics, composite likelihood statistics, Bayesian methods in econometrics and statistical phonetics.

Details of the past present and future activities of CRiSM can be obtained through its website, http://go.warwick.ac.uk/crism

A major success for CRiSM is the Research Fellow programme. Of the seven excellent research fellows to have completed their contract within CRiSM, all have moved on to academic posts (at Harvard, Oxford, Montreal, University College London, and Warwick). This programme is ongoing and a further Research Fellow position will be advertised shortly.

The 25 CRiSM workshops to date have brought over 1000 visitors to Warwick. However the programme is set to expand with an opportunity for researchers from outside Warwick to become more directly involved. CRiSM is now issuing an open call for CRiSM Collaborative Workshops.

Funding, administrative support and scientific input from within the Department of Statistics at Warwick is available to support workshops in any area of statistical methodology. Successful applicants will work with a member of academic staff within the department. Nomination of this local organiser is possible, but not necessary on application.

All CRiSM workshops to date have been between one and five days in duration, and had between 20 and 150 participants. It is anticipated that most CRiSM Collaborative workshops will fit into these ranges. Relatively small workshop applications in emerging topical areas of statistical methodology will be particularly encouraged.

Initial workshop proposals should be no more than two pages long, and should contain:
1. the scientific rationale, scope and, if possible, an indicative list of some possible speakers;
2. an indication of the length of the workshop, a rough estimate of the anticipated number of participants, and any aspects of the workshop format of particular interest;
3. any information regarding workshop timing. This does not need to be precise, but ranges of possible dates and constraints would be very helpful;
4. any relevant information regarding other sources of funding available to support the activity proposed.

Detailed financial information regarding the workshop is NOT required at this stage.

Initial informal enquiries to the Director of CRiSM, Gareth Roberts (e gareth.o.roberts@warwick.ac.uk) are strongly encouraged. It is expected that some very strong workshop applications will emerge iteratively via a constructive dialogue. We emphasise that CRiSM has a very broad remit to promote statistical methodology, so that no particular areas of statistics will be excluded.

Proposals need to be submitted for consideration by 1st December 2012 to Gareth Roberts (e gareth.o.roberts@warwick.ac.uk). Further calls will be issued with deadlines approximately at six-month intervals.

Assessment of proposals will be by a committee consisting of the CRiSM Management team and the CRiSM Council (its external advisory board). Criteria for selection will include the scientific importance and timeliness of the area, the perceived ability of the application team to attract high-quality participants and to organise a successful event, as well as logistical issues and constraints.

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