The National Program
for Complex Data Structures


News about the NICDS Re-Application

National Institute for Complex Data Structures (NICDS)





The National Program on Complex Data Structures ended an extraordinarily successful 5 years on April 30, 2008. We established eight projects, engaged 60 statistical scientists from across Canada, worked with over 30 collaborators, trained 70 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and partnered with 20 organizations, including government agencies, research laboratories, industry, research hospitals, and foundations. This uniquely successful effort was a joint initiative between the Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee (GSC 14) and the three mathematical sciences institutes. We were awarded $172,000 per year in the 2003 reallocations exercise, and the mathematical sciences institutes committed $50,000 per year in matching funds. We were successful in leveraging funds from research, industry and other granting agencies at a ratio of 2 to 1.

NPCDS is now in the process of being transformed into the National Institute for Complex Data Structures (NICDS), with primary funding from NSERC's Major Resource Support Grants (MRS) program.

To this end an MRS proposal will be submitted in October, 2008. Major features of this proposal for the new Institute are a continuation and expansion of the collaborative research projects of NPCDS, an increase in support for postdoctoral fellows associated with the projects, a program of intensive training events, a new administrative structure, and international initiatives with Statistical Sciences Institutes in the US and Europe. We have formed a partnership with Accelerate Canada to enhance our internship program, have held a consensus meeting with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to outline research areas of mutual interest and strategies for raising the level of collaborative quantitative research and training in the health sciences, and have established sponsorship agreements with several Departments of Statistics across Canada.

In the meantime, our projects continue their research and training efforts. The project on Statistical Innovation for the Analysis of Complex Data in Medical and Health Science started in September, 2007, and held a short course and a workshop at PIMS in April, 2008. This workshop on Methodological Needs and Desires in Public and Population Health Research emphasized workshop participation of both health researchers and statisticians to foster technology transfer of innovative statistical methodology into health research applications. The project on Climate Statistics in Agriculture held their inaugural workshop in June, 2007, in Regina, and have begun work in earnest on their research objectives of developing methods for localized weather forecasting, predicting extreme events, and spatial interpolation. The project on Forests, Fires, and Stochastic Modelling held a workshop at the University of Western Ontario in November, 2007 on the mathematical and statistical modelling of the spread of biological and physical processes in forests. The project on Statistical Methods for Complex Survey Data, continues its enormously successful internship program by welcoming three new interns to Statistics Canada in September, 2007. These and other activities strengthen our conviction that model of NICDS and the vision it has created for statistics in Canada is innovative and exciting, and is the way the discipline will move forward.