Pierre Robillard Award Committee

Continuing committee


Gordon Fick - (Chair)
Andy Leung
Juli Atherton
Mahmoud Torabi
Lang Wu
Paul Y. Peng

Terms of Reference


The Pierre Robillard Award Committee was established as a continuing committee at a meeting of the Board of Directors on 13 June 1977.


Chair: Appointed by the incoming President.
Membership: Five additional members in good standing, appointed by the incoming President. In practice, the previous year winner of the Pierre Robillard Award has been invited to serve in the committee for one year as one of the five members.

Terms and Duties:

The Pierre Robillard Award Committee shall:

  • arrange to have an announcement of the award placed in the November issue of Liaison;
  • send multiple copies of information sheets to contact persons at all possibly relevant university departments in Canada in October;
  • judge entries on the basis of originality of ideas and techniques, possible applications and their treatment, and potential for impact on the statistical sciences;
  • review all entries and determine a winner by March 31; inform the winner, the winner's supervisor, and the President and Secretary of the Society of the committee's decision; invite the winner to deliver a talk on the winning thesis at the Annual Meeting; inform the Program Chairperson as to whether the winner will be presenting a talk; ask the Treasurer to prepare a cheque to be presented to the winner; arrange with the Secretary for a certificate to be lettered appropriately; invite the winner to submit a paper based on the winning thesis to The Canadian Journal of Statistics and inform the Editor;
  • submit an article for publication in Liaison, announcing the winner of the award.


  • The year of the award is the year in which the thesis is defended.
  • A motion passed by the Board of Directors on 5 June 1997 states that, in any given year, there shall be at most one winner of the award.
  • A motion passed by the Board of Directors on 17 October 1998 states that the monetary prize of the Pierre Robillard Award is increased to $400.
  • A motion passed by the Board of Directors on 23 October 2004 states that the monetary prize of the Pierre Robillard Award is increased to $1000.
  • Please see the SSC guidelines on implicit bias (pdf). 


Pierre Robillard began his university studies in mathematics at the Université de Montréal in September, 1961. Because he had already obtained a baccalauréat ès arts, he was admitted to the second year of the bachelor's program which he completed in three years. He distinguished himself as a brilliant and hard-working student. Teaching a class with Pierre in it was demanding for a professor. Not only did he not let pass anything incorrect or incomplete, but he even dared to ask questions like “could you please give us an example of an application?” Such questions sometimes caused consternation, because the emphasis at the time was very much on pure mathematics. His interest in applications and a course in probability and statistics (the only one offered at the undergraduate level) taught by Professor Jacques St-Pierre (named an Honourary Member of the SSC in 1986), led him to enter the master's program under the latter's direction. Already at that time one saw in Pierre his leadership qualities; he knew how to encourage and stimulate people around him.

In the summer of 1965 Pierre married Lise, a classmate, and in September they left for Chapel Hill where Pierre began his doctoral studies. In doing so he followed in the footsteps of Jacques St-Pierre. Three years later he obtained the doctoral degree with a thesis on the design of experiments.

Pierre began his academic career in 1969 as an assistant professor in the Département d'informatique of the Université de Montréal and quickly established himself as an excellent teacher and researcher. Very soon Pierre took on important responsibilities in several scientific associations and organizations (Canadian Transportation Research Forum, Highway Research Board, Biometric Society). At first he was interested in biomedical questions, but quickly he became very involved in transportation research. Within the University he participated actively in a group of professors interested in the problems of university administration; in his department he helped to develop new programs. The University recognized the excellence of his scientific work and his dynamic qualities as an individual by promoting him to associate professor in 1972.

In the early 1970's Pierre Robillard was a member of several associations in the field of statistics (ASA, Biometric Society). However, he was not entirely satisfied; he wanted a Canadian association in the statistical sciences. His dynamic nature and his talents as a communicator brought him in contact with other like-minded individuals. The Statistical Science Association of Canada was created in 1972. He became Vice-President for 1973-74 and was elected President in June of 1974.

Unfortunately, in January 1975 near Trois-Rivières he and three companions lost their lives in a violent traffic accident. Pierre left behind his wife, three young children, his parents and many friends.

In this short career of five years, Pierre Robillard published many articles, supervised ten students at the master's and four at the doctoral level, and was also very active in university and scientific affairs. One can only imagine what he might have achieved...