Three professors receive Collaborative Research Team Grants

April 14, 2021 by Eran Vijayakumar

Three professors in the Department of Statistical Sciences have been awarded Collaborative Research Team Project (CRT) grants from the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) to further fundamental research in their fields. Congratulations to Assistant Professor Silvana Pesenti, Assistant Professor Gwendolyn Eadie, and Professor and Department Chair Radu Craiu.

The grant is especially noteworthy for its collaborative and interdisciplinary support. The CRT grant aims to promote fundamental research in statistics and data science with interdisciplinary collaboration. This year marks a record in applications for the CRT, which included an especially diverse pool of research areas.

Silvana Pesenti: are Canadians ready for the “Big One”?

Assistant Professor Pesenti's project is titled Natural Catastrophes: Are Canadian Insurers Ready for “The Big One”? Pesenti and her collaborators will investigate how the Canadian insurance market can support insured losses that arise from natural disasters and catastrophic events. In doing so she aims to better understand the insurance market’s resiliency to these insurance losses. Her project is highly relevant, as Canada sees natural disasters each year that have a significant impact on the insurance market.  

She will collaborate with other academic institutions and regulatory bodies, including Associate Professor Mélina Mailhot from Concordia University, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

Pesenti is most looking forward to the unique opportunity to collaborate with regulatory bodies to better understand the challenge of natural disasters to the Canadian insurance market.

Although the project lasts for three years, she and her project team “hope that this research project is a beginning of a long-lasting collaboration.”

Gwen Eadie and Radu Craiu: understanding mysterious cosmic radio flashes  

As part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers, Assistant Professor Eadie and Professor Craiu will conduct research in the area of astrostatistics, a first for a CRT project. In collaboration with astronomers, their work aims to better understand fast radio bursts (FRBs) using large datasets from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME).  

FRBs were discovered over a decade ago and more research is still needed to fully understand their origin and behaviour. Through this research collaboration, new techniques will be developed to better understand FRBs.

This project highlights the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of CRT projects. “I am very excited that we will be able to contribute to the CHIME/FRB Collaboration, and to develop connections between astronomy and statistics that I hope continue to flourish beyond the CRT timeline,” says Eadie.  

Both professors hope that the connections established through this project will continue for many years to come.