ACEMS Researcher Garners Science Academy Honour

The Australian Academy of Science awards QUT Professor Christopher Drovandi the 2021 Moran Medal for his work and research in statistics and data science.

The Moran Medal recognises an early to mid-career researcher's contributions in the fields of applied probability, biometrics, psychometrics, or statistics.

“I feel incredibly privileged to receive this award, especially given that the past recipients are people I greatly admire and respect, so it is really humbling to be amongst them,” says Chris.

Chris is an Associate Investigator with ACEMS. He uses statistics and data science to improve the design of experiments and create more cost-effective data collection and computation.

“It's really about fitting complex mathematical models to data. Think about how complex processes in the real world are.  We would really like a statistical model to capture all the details of these processes and fit them to data so that we can use the model to gain a deeper understanding of real processes and make predictions. But the more realistic the model is, the more time-intensive this fitting process becomes. My research develops new statistical algorithms to make this fitting process feasible,” says Chris.

Chris says choosing a career in scientific research has been one of the best decisions of his life. As a statistician, he gets to work with a wide range of collaborators in different disciplines, including biology, ecology, sports, and finance.

“It turns out that advanced statistical methods are super useful for gaining insights in many areas. As a research statistician, I have the freedom to pursue work that truly matters to me, and then I get to see how it changes the world,” says Chris.

More than ever, nearly field of science requires sophisticated data analysis. Chris says there has never been a better time to be in statistics and data science.

“There are literally jobs everywhere in statistics and data science, as these fields teach you how to extract insights from data.  These fields will only become increasingly more important as sources for data, and organisations’ appetite for taking advantage of them, are growing rapidly,” says Chris.

Chris is a Professor of Statistics in the School of Mathematical Sciences at QUT and a Program Director for the QUT Centre for Data Science.

In 2020, the Australian Research Council (ARC) awarded Chris a Discovery Project grant for his research on novel sequential Monte Carlo methods. From 2016 to 2019, he was an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow.

Congratulations, Chris, on this latest honour!