Raymond Currie, Lise Manchester Award 2010

Professor Raymond F. Currie
Lise Manchester Award

Professor Raymond F. Currie is the 2010 recipient of the Lise Manchester Award. This biennial award is given by the Statistical Society of Canada in commemoration of the late Dr Lise Manchester’s abiding interest in using statistical methods to study matters of relevance to society. The award recognizes excellence in statistical research which considers problems of public interest and which is potentially useful for formation of Canadian public policy.

This year’s award is given to Professor Currie, in his capacity as Executive Director of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN), “for his leadership role and vision in bringing the network to a high level of excellence in the promotion and use of a broad range of microdata for research work that has influenced the formation of social and health policies in Canada.”

The CRDCN comprises 24 research data centres located in universities across Canada. These centers provide researchers with confidential microdata from various sources, as well as computer resources and technical support needed for their analysis. At least one Statistics Canada analyst is present in each centre to assist researchers and to ensure data confidentiality. The centres also offer training and dissemination activities including seminars, workshops, summer schools, and fellowships.

Recently retired from his position, Professor Currie was the Executive Director for CRDCN almost since its foundation in 2001. With his characteristically high level of energy, he stimulated the development of the network, from an initial 9 to now 24 centres, and he developed policies that helped it become truly national in character. He also spearheaded three large grant applications, all of which were successful.
In 2005, the network received a joint 5-year grant of \$1.6 million per annum from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Since 2008, a four-year award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation has led to the development of an intranet lightpath between the centres and to improvements in the documentation of Statistics Canada survey data through the creation of DDI 3.0 compatible metadata on over 60 data sets. Finally, the CRDCN is about to renew a three-year research contract with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for up to \$1 million for social policy contract research. In this decade, the CRDCN supported over 1200 projects and 2600 researchers, including 1000 graduate students. This has led to over 1000 publications and many significant developments for the social sciences in Canada.
Professor Currie was born and brought up in Winnipeg. He entered the Franciscan Order in the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 19. He studied theology in Québec, was ordained a priest in 1960 and conducted ministry all across Western Canada until 1967. He then went to New York to pursue graduate studies in sociology at Fordham University, where he earned an M.A. (1969) and a Ph.D. (1973). He joined the University of Manitoba as Professor of Sociology in 1972 and resigned from the priesthood in 1973. He was later Head of the Department of Sociology (1979-84) and Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1991-9).
In addition to being an active scholar and an outstanding administrator, Professor Currie served on a number of national socio-economic committees and local volunteer organizations. He received many awards, including an “Outstanding Contribution” award from the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (1994), an “Innovation in Management” award from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (1994), the Peter D. Curry Chancellor’s Award for Distinct Contributions to University Governance and/or Development at the University of Manitoba (1999), the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for public service (2002), and the Outstanding Achievement Award (2007) from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Arts. He was named Dean Emeritus in 2000.

Professor Currie and his wife Charlene live in Winnipeg, near their daughter Katie, their son Vincent and his partner Sherri, as well as two grandchildren. For additional information about Raymond F. Currie’s life and career, readers may refer to his autobiography entitled “Secure and Uncertain: A Father’s Story” published in 2008 by Anderson House Press.