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The medal, presented by the Australian Academy of Science, is a major early-career honorific award that honours the contributions to mathematics by the late Professor Christopher Charles Heyde AM, DSc, Hon DSc (Syd), FAA, FASSA – the Foundation Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences at ANU.
Francis received this accolade for his contributions to statistical methodology.
“I am deeply humbled to be receiving the 2022 Christopher Heyde Medal. Professor Heyde was a pioneer in many areas of statistics, probability, and stochastic processes, and he did so much to put Australia on the map when it comes to these fields,” shares Francis, who is a senior lecturer in the ANU College of Business and Economics’ (CBE’s) Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics (RSFAS).
Sharing a connection to ANU, as well as common values with Professor Heyde, Francis says:
“I feel particularly honoured to be receiving this medal at ANU, where Professor Heyde spent a large portion of his career. Aside from his immense technical contributions, Professor Heyde was also a strong advocate of proper supervision and mentoring of PhD students, and saw the need for statistics to play an increasing role in disciplines such as bioinformatics, ecology, and finance.
I am deeply humbled to be receiving the 2022 Christopher Heyde Medal. Professor Heyde was a pioneer in many areas of statistics, probability, and stochastic processes, and he did so much to put Australia on the map when it comes to these fields.
These are values that I strongly agree with, and in receiving this medal I am incredibly grateful for the legacy he has passed on to current and future generations of statisticians.”
Working at the interface between methodological and applied statistics, Francis’ research has immediate and substantial benefits to the wider scientific community.
His research has had significant impact, particularly in ecology, where his methods and software are applied by practitioners to project spatio-temporal change of species assemblages under climate-change scenarios, and for improving monitoring programs for sustainable fisheries and stock structure management both across Australia and internationally.
“The beauty of statistics is that it’s, in a way, kind of a universal language,” says Francis. “You get to play in everybody’s backyard.”
Francis’ research has appeared in academic journals including Journal of the American Statistical Association, Biometrika, Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Ecology, and Nature.
Congratulations to Francis on this very well deserved recognition of his research excellence in the statistical analysis of big data. Francis is developing ground-breaking approaches to statistical analysis and the School is very proud of him.
He has made substantial contributions to literature on: Efficient approximate methods for fitting multi-level models; techniques for data visualisation of many variables; and scalable tools for flexibly fitting non-linear models and selecting which predictors to include in big data settings.
Associate Professor Steve Sault, Director of RSFAS, joins CBE in congratulating Francis on receiving the Christopher Heyde Medal.
“Congratulations to Francis on this very well deserved recognition of his research excellence in the statistical analysis of big data. Francis is developing ground-breaking approaches to statistical analysis and the School is very proud of him,” says Steve.
The College is always keen to explore research collaborations with the public and private sector and to reconnect with alumni. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about partnering with us.
Watch Francis discuss his research and receiving the Christopher Heyde Medal in the video produced by the Australian Academy of Science.