David Binder, SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work 2012

David Binder
SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work

At its Annual Meeting held in Guelph, Ontario, June 3-6, the Statistical Society of Canada announced that David A. Binder is the 2012 recipient of the Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by SSC members in collaborative research and applied work, the importance of which derives primarily from its relatively recent impact on a subject area outside of the statistical sciences, on an area of application, or on an organization.

The award is presented

"in recognition of his pioneering development of methodology for the analysis of complex survey data; his efforts to make these methods accessible to practitioners and researchers in all disciplines who use complex survey data; his leadership in the use of sound statistical methods in several positions at Statistics Canada, culminating in the position of Directory General of the Methodology Branch; and his impact on the practices of official statistics internationally."

David Binder immigrated to Canada at the age of two from London, England. His parents were European refugees without much formal education. David lived in Toronto until after graduating with a BSc in mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1971. He completed his PhD in 1977 at Imperial College, London, UK.

David's affiliation with Statistics Canada began in 1971 as a survey methodologist. Over the years, he moved up the ranks at Statistics Canada, culminating his career as the Director General of the Methodology Branch, before accepting a position for a few months as Senior Advisor to an Assistant Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada. After his retirement in 2004, David continued to work at Statistics Canada on a part-time basis, mostly to pursue his research interests that were also of interest to Statistics Canada, and to provide technical advice on various statistical issues.

David interrupted his career for three years (1973-1976) to pursue post-graduate studies at the University of London in the United Kingdom, and later for two years (1979-1981) to hold a teaching and research position at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Administration.

David devoted much of his career to developing methods to make valid statistical inferences where the data were obtained from surveys with complex sampling designs. His focus was on the situation where the target parameters of interest are parameters of a statistical model. The subtleties of the impact of the survey design on such inferences are generally not well understood by those without more advanced statistical expertise. However, with the incorporation of several methods into various commercial statistical analysis software packages, the methods have become more accessible to researchers from many disciplines. David's research contributions in this area have been incorporated in these packages.

David published over 35 refereed papers, over 40 publications in conference proceedings and over 15 reports and other publications. Most of his articles are related to the theory and methods for the analysis of complex survey data. His methods have been incorporated in a number of commercial software packages, including SAS, Stata, SUDAAN, and SPSS. His publications are widely cited in papers on applications of analysis of complex survey data. His articles have appeared in top journals, including Biometrika, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics.

David was very active in several statistical societies, including the Statistical Society of Canada, where he served as President and as Executive Director. He was an Associate Editor for Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics, and has edited several conference proceedings. He also served on NSERC's Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee.

David's statistical leadership and research contributions have been recognized with Elected Membership in the International Statistical Institute in 1985, and Fellowship in the American Statistical Association in 1991; he received the Distinguished Service Award of the SSC in 2011. David served on several international committees to study appropriate methods for estimation of finite population quantities, as well as for analysis of survey. These committees include the American Statistical Association Census Advisory Committee of the US Bureau of the Census, the ASA Expert Panel to Review the Current Employment Statistics Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and several panels to review the statistical framework at the European Commission. He was a joint editor of a monograph on business survey methods.

On June 3, 2012, Dr, Binder passed away peacefully in Ottawa. David is survived by Marilyn, his wife of over 40 years, and their daughter Jill. There will be a special session to honour the memory of Dr. Binder at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society, to be held May 26-29 in Edmonton, Alberta.