Data Science Task Force


Data Science is central to the mission of the Society. Many RSS Fellows work as data scientists; many others are involved in data driven activities or researching questions of statistical science that are vital to data science.

The growth of data science represents an enormous opportunity for statisticians and for statistics as a discipline. It also presents a challenge. The US National Science Foundation’s 2019 report, Statistics at a Crossroads described this challenge in stark terms: “the field of Statistics is at a crossroads: we either flourish by embracing and leading Data Science, or we decline and become irrelevant”.

Accordingly, under the leadership of the President, Professor Sylvia Richardson, the RSS has convened a task force to investigate how the RSS can deepen and extend its impact on the field of data science, and its offering to fellows who work as data scientists. This plan will then be brought to Council later in 2021, and subject to agreement, put into action.

The task force’s plan will build on the excellent work of the Society’s relevant Sections and Special Interest Groups, including the Data Science section, the Computational Statistics and Machine Learning section and the Women in Data Science and Statistics special interest group, and includes representatives from these groups.

The task force’s membership is:

Sylvia Richardson (University of Cambridge; RSS President)
Sophie Carr (Bays Consulting; RSS Council)
Mark Elliot (University of Manchester; Data Ethics section)
Arnoldo Frigessi (University of Oslo)
Mark Girolami (University of Cambridge)
David Hand (Imperial College; RSS past President
Rachel Hilliam (Open University; VP for Professional Affairs)
Rebecca Killick (Lancaster University; Computation Statistics and Machine Learning section)
Xiao Li Meng (Harvard University)
Sofia Olhede (Ecole Federale Polytechnique de Lausanne; Women in Statistics and Data Science section)
Jim Weatherall (AstraZeneca; Data Science section and RSS Council)
Sharon Witherspoon (Academy for Social Sciences; VP Education and Statistical Literacy)

On this page, we will post updates from the task force over the coming months. We would greatly value input and feedback from any Fellow interested in data science. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, please email Stian Westlake