Research Network Honored

ILR hosts node of network receiving American Statistical Association award
Lars Vilhuber
Monday, July 31, 2017

The National Science Foundation-Census Research Network, a node of which has been hosted at the ILR School for the past six years, has been awarded the American Statistical Association’s Statistical Partnerships Among Academe, Industry, and Government Award.

The award recognizes excellence in collaboration between academia, industry and government that results in significant contributions to statistics with applications to real-world problems. The award was announced Sunday at the association’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, Md.

The research network is composed of nodes at eight universities: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Colorado with the University of Tennessee, Cornell University, Duke University with the National Institute of Statistical Science, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska and Northwestern University, as well as the U.S. Census Bureau.

The network was established in 2011 to provide support for a set of research nodes staffed by teams of researchers conducting interdisciplinary research and educational activities on methodological questions of interest and significance to the broader research community and to the federal statistical system, particularly the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Cornell node teaches about understanding social and economic data to a broad audience through videoconference, with 10 sites having participated in the 2016 edition. The 2017 edition starts Aug. 24.

The node also trains graduate students and involves undergraduate researchers in its activities, publishes scientific articles and has created online codebooks for a variety of datasets.
The Cornell node conducts research into metadata standards and tools and their application in the context of confidential data and metadata, high-dimensional computational statistics and their applications in various contexts, and on the confidentiality and privacy of data releases by private and public entities.
Lars Vilhuber, executive director of ILR’s Labor Dynamics Institute, is the node’s principal investigator. John Abowd, Cornell’s Edmund Ezra Day Professor and currently associate director for research and methodology and chief scientist at the U.S. Census Bureau, previously served as the node’s principal investigator.

The network’s coordinating office, created in 2012 and managed by Cornell and by Duke with the National Institute of Statistical Science, has organized conferences and workshops, compiles the network newsletter and serves as the primary marketing mechanism for network public forums and work products. Vilhuber is also the principal investigator of the coordinating office.

The network tackled “challenging issues that could not have been addressed so productively by either academic or government researchers acting on their own,” said Professor Sarah Nusser, vice president for research at Iowa State University.

U.S. Chief Statistician Nancy Potok said, “the collaboration has been highly successful.”