Nancy Reid, Distinguished Service Award 2013

Nancy Reid
Distinguished Service Award

The Recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award of the Statistical Society of Canada is Professor Nancy Reid. The Dis­tinguished Service Award is intended to honour a person who contributed substantially and over a period of several years to the operation or welfare of the SSC.

Nancy Reid is University Professor and Canada Research Chair in Statistical Methodology at the University of Toronto. She received her BMath degree from the University of Waterloo in 1974 with a major in Statistics, her MSc in Statistics from the University of British Columbia in 1976, and her PhD from Stanford University under the supervision of R.G. Miller. Nancy returned to Canada in 1980 as an Assistant Professor at UBC, moving to the University of Toronto in 1986, where she has been ever since. She has served on the scientific advisory panels of the National Program on Complex Data Structures, the Centre de recherches mathématiques, the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and the Banff International Research Station. She served as Chair of the Statistics Department at the University of Toronto. She has served the Statistical Society of Canada in many roles, as Society President, Chair of the Awards Committee, and Editor of The Canadian Journal of Statistics, as well as local organiser of the 1983 Annual Meeting. She has served the statistical sciences in many other capacities as well: as President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, Vice-President of the International Statistical Institute, Associate Editor of The Annals of Statistics, Statistical Science, Biometrika, and of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, among others. Her service to the scientific community through involvement in NSERC has been constant: on NSERC Council, Chair of the NSERC Liaison Committee for Statistical Sciences and most recently Chair of the Steering Committee for the Long Range Plan for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Research in Canada.
In 1992 Nancy became the first woman to receive the Presidents’ Award of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS), awarded annually to a young statistician in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. In 1995 she presented the first Canadian Mathematical Society Prize-Lectureship for distinguished research by women in mathematics, now known as the Krieger-Nelson Prize Lectureship. In 2000 she was invited to give the Wald lectures at the Annual Meeting of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. She received a 2003 Faculty of Mathematics Alumni Achievement Medal from the University of Waterloo “for her internationally recognized research accomplishments in the field of statistics, and for her outstanding contributions to university education and professional societies.” In 2008 she received the Emanuel and Carol Parzen Prize for Statistical Innovation from the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University. In 2009 she received the Statistical Society of Canada’s Gold Medal.
Nancy’s research has had a profound influence on statistical theory, likelihood inference, and design of studies. Along with her colleagues she has developed higher order asymptotic methods both for use in applications, and as a means to study theoretical aspects of the foundations of inference, including the interface between Bayesian and frequentist methods. She is interested in a number of substantive areas, including inference from large-scale surveys, environmental epidemiology, and high-energy physics. In 1987, her paper with Sir David Cox on orthogonal parameters and approximate conditional inference was read to the Royal Statistical Society. This very important contribution to the fabric of statistical theory introduced the “Cox–Reid likelihood”, still a standard method for correcting the likelihood in complex problems. This paper continues to be widely cited, and has led to considerable further research by Nancy and others. She has also developed new methods for obtaining highly accurate inference from the likelihood function, in a joint research program with Professor Emeritus D.A.S. Fraser, O.C. This extends and develops ideas first promoted by Fisher in the 1930s and has led to deeper understanding of the foundations of statistical inference. She has authored over 80 journal publications in statistics as well as four books, including The Theory of the Design of Experiments with Sir David R. Cox (2000) and Applied Asymptotics with Alessandra Brazzale and Anthony Davison (2007).
Through her extraordinary dedication, prodigious energy and wisdom, Nancy Reid has been relentless in her support of the statistical sciences in Canada and internationally.

The citation for the award reads: 

“To Nancy Reid, in recognition of her extraordinary service to the Statistical Society of Canada and to her many contributions to the community of statistical scientists in Canada and internationally at all levels.”