St Andrews statistics 'trailblazer' to receive Barnett Award

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A University of St Andrews professor is to be presented with the RSS Barnett Award for 2024 by the Royal Statistics Society (RSS).

The Barnett Award, established in memory of environmental statistician, Professor Vic Barnett, recognises outstanding contributions to the field of environmental statistics.

And this year the award will be presented to Professor David Borchers from the University of St Andrews’ School of Mathematics and Statistics.

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Dr Andrew Garrett, RSS President, said: “David has been a trailblazer in environmental statistics in his development of new methodologies and spatial capture-recapture. He has also made sustained efforts to make his work accessible to the wider ecological community which has only furthered its impact. Congratulations to him.”

Professor David Borchers will receive the RSS Barnett Award later this year.  (Pic: University of St Andrews)Professor David Borchers will receive the RSS Barnett Award later this year.  (Pic: University of St Andrews)
Professor David Borchers will receive the RSS Barnett Award later this year. (Pic: University of St Andrews)

In a citation, the Society’s Council said Professor Borchers was being recognised for his numerous contributions to the development of methodology in statistical ecology as well as making it accessible to the ecological community and non-academics. It also recognises Professor Borchers’ commitment to training a significant number of potential future leaders in the field, from undergraduate through to senior research staff.

Praising Professor Borchers’ work, it said: “Focusing on developing novel statistical methods to address time-critical ecological data challenges, he has been instrumental in the development of the sound theoretical basis for spatial capture-recapture as well as its application, distribution and impact. He founded the field of mark-recapture distance sampling, which has been used by thousands of practitioners in wildlife monitoring and conservation and unified many observation models for detecting and counting animals.”

Commenting on the award, Professor Borchers said: “I am greatly honoured to receive this award and feel that a good deal of the credit for it belongs to my former and current colleagues at the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Research, who generated the stimulating and supportive research environment that I have had the pleasure of working in for more than two decades.”

Professor Borchers will receive his award and deliver the Barnett Lecture at the RSS annual conference due to be held in Brighton in September.

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