Dec 19, 2012

US National Science Foundation support for research in the statistical sciences

Last year the Director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Sastry Pantula, proposed changing the division’s name to the Division of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. This led to an intense discussion in the community. IMS also collected opinions of members which then were summarized in a report and forwarded to the NSF’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee (MPSAC). This report can be viewed here.

This summer NSF decided to keep the name of the Division, but MPSAC was asked to form a subcommittee to examine the current structure of support for the statistical sciences within the NSF and to provide recommendations for NSF to consider. You can view the decision letter and the charge to the subcommittee.

The subcommittee is co-chaired by Iain Johnstone and Fred Roberts, and it has asked IMS and other societies as well as individuals to provide input. Iain Johnstone wrote, “The committee welcomes such input on any topic relevant to its charge. We ask that your society collect and summarize comments from members in any manner you deem appropriate and send in the summary of comments, including individual comments as you deem appropriate.”

The IMS Presidents (current, past and elect) have decided to use a similar procedure to the one used a year ago when we collected opinions about the name-change proposal. An email soliciting input will be sent soon to all our US-based membership which will also be available here. If members outside the US would also like to contribute comments, they are welcome to do so.

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