Timeline / History


  • NISS continued to help place focus on the COVID pandemic collaborating with other organizations to help host town halls, webinars, tutorials, forums and a conference partnering with organizations that included ASA, ISI, COPSS, Merck and CANSSI.
  • “Data Science Essentials for Business” tutorials were taught focusing on the Top 10 analytics approaches used in business.
  • Ingram Olkin Forums - Statistics Serving Society - supported the continued work of focus groups on “Unplanned Clinical Trial Disruptions” as well as hosted a forum on “Police Use of Force.” 
  • Expansion of programs for early career statisticians which included the Writing Workshop, a series of Career Fairs, a student graphics competition, as well as virtual events, a conference and socials hosted by the NISS Graduate Student Network.
  • Exemplary collaborative research efforts with both USDA-NASS and NCES resulted in published manuscripts, technical reports and major awards including NASS Cooperator of the Year and USDA Undersecretary’s Award that highlight their accomplishments.


  • As the COVID-19 pandemic hits, NISS capitalizes on its experience hosting virtual events by continuing to host virtual meetings, webinars, meet-ups, and tutorials on a wide variety of topics.
  • Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers held virtually in conjunction with JSM with funds from an NSF grant for the twelfth year.
  • Brian Habing named Associate Director for Education Activities and Research, Lingzhou Xue named Associate Director.
  • Creation of Report Library for NCES on the NISS website.
  • Ingram Olkin - Statistics Serving Society forum held on "COVID-19: Unplanned Clinical Trial Disruptions."
  • 30th year since the founding of NISS.
  • NISS Graduate Student Network launched for NISS Academic Affiliates.


  • NISS begins hosting a variety of different events using video conferencing technologies.
  • Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers held at JSM with funds from an NSF grant for the twelfth year.
  • First Ingram Olkin - Statistics Serving Society forum held on "Gun Violence – The Statistical Issues", which later results in "A Call for Statisticians to Engage in Gun Violence Research" white paper by Greg Ridgway.
  • NISS once again receives “Exceptional” contractor performance review rating by the Department of Education.


  • NISS building in North Carolina is leased to Teledyne Scientific Company.
  • Renewal of the combined NISS - SAMSI reception at JSM.  MBI joins reception as well.
  • Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers held at JSM with funds from an NSF grant for the eleventh year.
  • Creation of Ingram Olkin Fund Committee.


  • James L. Rosenberger named Director of NISS
  • Lingzhou Xue named Assistant Director of NISS


Abstract: The story of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) is a story of heroes and obstacles, of wisdom and naiveté; but most of all it is a story of a vision for statistics as fundamental to the understanding of a complex world. This article discusses the formation of the institute and the recollections of many of the leaders who helped form this organization.


  • Nell Sedransk named Director of NISS


  • Mary Batcher becomes chair of the NISS Board of Trustees
  • Alan Karr resigns as Director of NISS
  • Nell Sedransk becomes Acting Director of NISS


  • Triangle Census Research Network contract is issued by the National Science Foundation
  • NISS and Cornell are co-awarded to be the NSF-Census Research Network Coordination Office


  • Susan Ellenberg becomes chair of the NISS Board of Trustees
  • Project Talent contract is issued with ESSI and AIR


  • Work on the Online Reading Comprehension Assessment (ORCA) Project looking at schools in Maine, Connecticut and North Carolina begins.


  • NISS-NASS Research in Residence Program begins
  • NISS, in collaboration with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), in conjunction with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (KAI), Berkeley Transportation Systems (BTS), the University of Utah, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) begins research on Establishing Monitoring Programs for Travel Time Reliability.


  • NISS building expansion complete. Addition of 11,782 square feet.
  • James Landwehr becomes Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Explorations Workshops initiated
  • Research initiated with the National Cancer Institute’s CP Tech


  • Affiliate working groups initiated include: QT for pharmaceuticals, Data Confidentiality and Data Quality
  • SAMSI receives renewal of funding from NSF
  • Strategic positioning study completed and adopted by NISS Board of Trustees


  • Expanded activity in education statistics
  • NISS celebrates 15th anniversary with multiple events
  • Survey cost modeling project begins
  • New areas of data confidentiality are explored, including Bayesian characterization of transparency risk and utility
  • New research initiatives include: experimental analysis of algorithms, evidentiary statistics, proteomics and biomedical imaging
  • New Researcher Fellowships presented to Scott Holan (University of Missouri) and Sherry Wang (SMU)


  • Year of the affiliate
  • Nell Sedransk appointed Associate Director
  • NISS plays major role with the Education Statistical Services Institute
  • NISS Distinguished Service Awards established; initial awards presented to Albert Bowker, Daniel G. Horvitz, Janet Norwood and Martha L. Williamson
  • Affiliates Program receives SPAIG Award from ASA
  • NISS Building receives Design Award from NC Chapter of AIA
  • The Future of Data Analysis: A Conference in Honor of Jon Kettenring held in Basking Ridge, NJ
  • Planning for building expansion begins


  • SDL for geospatial image data project begins
  • Strategic vision adopted by Board of Trustees
  • Studies for National Center for Education Statistics commence
  • Pharmacogenomics Technology Day
  • Vijay Nair becomes chair of the Board of Trustees
  • EPA funded project on global climate change begins


  • NISS-CIIT Joint Postdoctoral Fellowship: high-density microarrays
  • Second NSF-funded data confidentiality project begins
  • NISS organizes efforts to engage statistics community in problems of national defense and homeland security


  • SAMSI has its grand opening; NISS is one of the founding members
  • Hiring of Stanley Young as Assistant Director
  • Streamlined structure introduced for NISS Corporation and Board of Trustees


  • Initial Sacks Award presented to Elizabeth Thompson
  • NISS receives ITR award from NISS for research on light-weight instrumentation of software
  • NISS performs data quality research for BTS
  • Thomas Gerig appointed Assistant Director for Affiliates Programs


  • Tenth anniversary of NISS is celebrated
  • Alan Karr becomes director
  • Affiliates program created
  • Jon Kettenring becomes chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Sacks Award established
  • Initial NISS JSM Reception held
  • Computer model evaluation projects funded by NSF and GM begin


  • Digital Government project begins
  • A Web-Based System for Disclosure-Limited Statistical Analysis of Confidential Data commences, helping to establish NISS as a leader in research at the intersection of statistics, computer science, behavioral and cognitive science


  • NISS collaborates with Los Alamos National Laboratory on the TRANSIMS activity-travel project, Statistically Based Activity Generation, funded by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration


  • NISS building is completed


  • Design for the NISS building is developed by O'Brien and Atkins


  • First NISS postdoctoral fellows are appointed
  • Analysis, Exploration and Inference in Large Educational Data Sets project with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) commences
  • Conde Decay in Legacy Softward Systems: Measurements, Models and Statistical Strategies awarded partnering with Lucent Technologies


  • Alan Karr joins NISS as associate director
  • Statistical Strategies for Monitoring and Assessing Environmental Changes and Effects first project funded by US EPA
  • Intermodal Surface Transportation Act project begins


  • NISS incorporated in January
  • Dan Horvitz of RTI becomes interim director
  • Jerome Sacks becomes first director of NISS


  • Founding ceremony held December 3 at Glaxo in Research Triangle Park
  • Grant from Research Triangle Foundation of NC via the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies Inc. (TUCASI) for $250,000 per year for 1st 6 academic years
  • TUCASI gives NISS a 99 year lease of 10 acres of land for $1/year
  • State of North Carolina anticipates to give NISS an appropriation of $2.5 million to cover half the cost of a 33,000 sq. ft. building
  • NISS opens office at RTI