Richard L. Smith Named as Director of SAMSI

March 17, 2010

RichardSmithRichard L. Smith is joining the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) as its new director starting in July 2010. The announcement was made by Dan Solomon, chair of the Governing Board for SAMSI. Smith is the second director of the Institute, replacing Jim Berger.

Richard L. Smith is also professor of Statistics for at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has held this position since 1991. He became Mark L. Reed III Distinguished Professor in July, 2004. Since 2008, he also holds the position of Professor of Biostatistics in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Smith obtained his PhD from Cornell University in 1979 and has previously held academic positions at Imperial College (London), the University of Surrey (Guildford, England) and Cambridge University. His principal areas of research are spatial statistics, time series analysis, extreme value theory and Bayesian statistics. Specific areas of expertise include spatial and time series modeling of environmental pollutants, the health effects of atmospheric pollution, the statistics of global climate change, and extreme values in insurance and finance.

He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and has won the Guy Medal in Silver of the Royal Statistical Society, and the Distinguished Achievement Medal of the Section on Statistics and the Environment, American Statistical Association. In 2004 he was the J. Stuart Hunter Lecturer of The International Environmetrics Society (TIES). He is also a Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society.

“Richard brings a wealth of experience to the role of the director of SAMSI. We are eager to have him in this new capacity at SAMSI. He has some excellent ideas for education and outreach efforts and will bring a great amount of technical expertise to the table,” notes Dan Solomon, chair of the SAMSI Governing Board and Dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Smith will develop innovative program ideas for future SAMSI programs. He will effectively coordinate with SAMSI’s partner universities and departments and with the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and with other statistics and mathematical sciences institutes. He will work with the staff to prepare a new grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. The current grant will expire in 2012.

“I am looking forward very much to taking over as Director of SAMSI. The position is a huge responsibility but also gives me many opportunities to develop new ideas for the Institute. I am extremely grateful to Jim Berger and everyone else responsible for bringing SAMSI to where it is now. I already have a number of ideas for new programs as well as new ways to interact with the broader community, and am very hopeful for the future.”
Smith, his wife, Amy, and his children, Jacob and Daniel, reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) is a national institute that is forging a new synthesis of the statistical and applied mathematical sciences with disciplinary science to confront important data- and model-driven scientific chal¬lenges. It is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

SAMSI is a partnership of the National Science Foundation with the consortium of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.

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