Fellow of the American Statistical Association

Aurore Delaigle was named American Statistical Association Fellow for 2018.

Aurore Delaigle
  • The University of Melbourne

Building Tools

Professor Aurore Delaigle is a statistician who likes a challenge.

"What excites me most is being able to see a real-life problem, often related to the health sector, and find a way to analyse data so as to provide useful tools for people working on the problem," she says.

"I really need to see that what I do is going to be useful for something as otherwise I am not very interested in working on it."

I focus on providing the tools to people working in health sciences, biology, engineering and other fields. I look at their data and the type of questions they have and provide general tools that can then be applied to various sorts of concrete problems.

In high school, maths and foreign languages were Aurore's favourite subjects: she speaks English and French fluently, a little Dutch and is learning Spanish. And while she considered studying language or piano — another source of enjoyment, which she could have pursued professionally — maths won out.

"I found it very interesting and luckily, I didn't find it a chore to have to study for it," she says.

Aurore enrolled in a Bachelors degree in Maths and Statistics, then a Masters and PhD, both in Statistics, before starting work at the University of California in 2003. She then worked for Bristol University before joining the University of Melbourne in 2007.

Aurore says that receiving two ARC fellowships (QEII and Future Fellowship) has helped to expand her work with students and postdocs and inspired new areas of research.

"It really gave me a lot of time to think about new research ideas," she says.

"These fellowships are really one of the great things about Australia. They provide amazing opportunities for boosting a career and we're very lucky to have them."

Aurore is no stranger to success. In 2013, she was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and was awarded the Moran Medal from the Australian Academy of Science. She joined ACEMS in 2014 as a Chief Investigator, the youngest in the group and in 2017 Aurore received the George W. Snedecor Award, for which she is especially proud. The award was given for her, “fundamental and ground-breaking contributions to the statistical theory of group testing of pooled laboratory samples, and for contributions to measurement error methods and density estimation".

"I got the idea for this method because I saw the connection between the problem studied there and my earlier work on measurement errors," says Aurore.

"I found the connection very intriguing and getting the award suggested that other people in the field found it intriguing too."