On Friday, February 7, 2020 NISS gathered a number of experienced, leading statisticians that represented a variety of differing perspectives to talk about the challenges and issues that arise in research projects that involve a collaboration between academia and industry. During this conversation examples of best practices were also shared.
Moderated by Sumanta Basu from Cornell University, the panelists for this webinar topic included Rebecca Doerge, Dean of the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Sam Woolford, Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Bentley University, L.J. Wei, Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University and Victor Lo, Head of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments.
Rebecca Doerge’s remarks were based on her reflections on 21 years of experience at Purdue University where as Head of the Department of Statistics she negotiated consulting with industry and her 3.5 years as Dean of the College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University where as Dean she was involved in negotiations with industry on behalf of her college and university. Her understanding of the challenges involved in collaborative research became evident through her description of the expectations posed on both faculty and students. Who does the work? Who owns the work? And where is the work done? These simple questions raised sometimes thorny predicaments that need to be sorted out. She concluded with an example and a number of issues to think about as part of this process.
Sam Woolford addressed this topic from a very different perspective. Sam spent much of his academic career at Bentley University, an institution known for its programs in business analytics, and having served as Director of Bentley’s Center for Business Analytics which provides consulting services to support business and non-profit organizations. Sam’s remarks targeted the intriguing advantages and challenges that result from consulting efforts generated by this service.
Sam was followed by L.J. Wei, Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University. L.J. prefaced his by reminding the audience that his experience has been primarily in the field of biostatistics, however, his overall understanding of the issues based on his long experience in collaborative projects involving work with industry were direct and clear based on his years of work. He demonstrated how times have changed and along with this change the issues and approaches that one needs to consider have changed as well. L.J. highlighted three examples of this work.
Finally, Victor Lo, Head of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments, was able to provide an industry perspective on the topics that had been discussed. After providing an insightful overview of the opportunities and knowledge in the business sector, Victor presented suggestions for developing a symbiotic relationship highlighting ways in which industry could advise academia and others where academia can partner with industry. He also featured the opportunities for students in collaborative research with industry and provided plenty of resources that follow up with details and further food for thought.
Before the session concluded Sumanta presented the panelists with a number of intriguing questions that were asked by participants. This gave the panelists a chance to actively join in conversation that further explored the issues that these questions had provoked.
Below, please find a recording of this session as well as links to the speaker’s slides. Please share with colleagues!
NISS continues to work to identify topics of interest to statisticians from all different sectors and then gather experts to contribute to a conversation that helps to not only inform and but also provoke further thinking on these topics. Keep your eye on the NISS website for future events that might be of interest to you or your colleagues!
Rebecca Doerge, Dean of the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University
Sam Woolford, Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Bentley University
L.J. Wei, Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University
Victor Lo, Head of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments