Statistics in Times of Increasing Uncertainty

The President’s Address by the RSS President, Sylvia Richardson, was delivered to the Royal Statistical Society on Monday 14 November 2022. The Address, Statistics in times of increasing uncertainty, has been published as an Open Access article in issue 185:4 of Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A and may be read here.

The abstract is reproduced below:

The statistical community mobilised vigorously from the start of the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, following the RSS’s long tradition of offering our expertise to help society tackle important issues that require evidence-based decisions. This address aims to capture the highlights of our collective engagement in the pandemic, and the difficulties faced in delivering statistical design and analysis at pace and in communicating to the wider public the many complex issues that arose. I argue that these challenges gave impetus to fruitful new directions in the merging of statistical principles with constraints of agility, responsiveness and societal responsibilities. The lessons learned from this will strengthen the long-term impact of the discipline and of the Society. The need to evaluate policies even in emergency, and to strive for statistical interoperability in future disease surveillance systems is highlighted. In my final remarks, I look towards the future landscape for statistics in the fast-moving world of data science and outline a strategy of visible and growing engagement of the RSS with the data science ecosystem, building on the central position of statistics.

Richardson, S.. (2022Statistics in times of increasing uncertaintyJournal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society)1851471– 1496. Available from:

Read the proposal of the vote of thanks for Sylvia Richardson’s Presidential Address by former RSS President, Deborah Ashby, here (also Open Access) and a discussion of the Address by another former RSS President, David Spiegelhalter, here.

You can download a PDF containing all three articles here.



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