Donate to a fund supporting statistics and statisticians

01 May 2018

Did you know that the Department of Statistics has a philanthropic fund to grow statistics and statisticians to which you can donate? Maybe you want to set up a scholarship for students facing financial hardship, fund staff research in a particular area, or contribute to the costs of the annual Ihaka Lecture Series. You can do all this – and more – through the Department of Statistics Fund.

The fund was set up in 2016, when Ilze Ziedins was Head of Department. The intention, she says, was to make it possible for people to donate if they wanted to support the department’s work. In general, she says, the funds are used “to support students, staff research and teaching projects and public lectures and seminars, and other endeavours within the department”.

To really boost the Department of Statistics campaign one of our generous alumni, R star Hadley Wickham recently used the Everyday Hero platform to encourage users of the free R programming language to donate to support the R-oriented Ihaka Lecture Series. The appeal has raised more than $62,000 so far – donors have been generous, with 267 donations averaging $195 each. The money raised will help pay the costs of the series, which brings the world’s best R innovators to Auckland every March.

The Department would also like to recognise another generous gift from the EQUALS maths and science network. The network is no longer operating, so they gave $9,000 in residual monies last year to help pay fees for students doing statistics education masters and PhDs, or for conferences where they will present a paper. (An equal amount went to the Department of Mathematics).

EQUALS was set up in the mid-1980s, says Maxine Pfannkuch, a founding member, to boost the number of young women taking maths at high school and to increase the proportion of women mathematics teachers as well as their visibility.

“EQUALS provided a catalyst for change at a critical time for many women, but needs have changed,” Maxine says. “So the donation was given to assist New Zealand mathematics and statistics education research students, many of whom are teachers, in order to reflect the spirit in which we set up the network all those years ago.”

This year, a statistics education doctoral student was granted $600 towards her university fees and two statistics education doctoral candidates were granted $490 each to cover registration fees at a conference in Japan.

Head of Department James Curran says that the Department is grateful to those who donate. “A good number of the activities we undertake, such as the Ihaka Lecture Series, aren’t centrally funded, so we have to find the money from somewhere,” he says. “The Department of Statistics Fund also allows us to be flexible and also respond to areas of need, such as student hardship or to increase student diversity.”

If you would like to support the Department of Statistics, you can donate here.

Associate Professor Maxine Pfannkuch, Department of Statistics
Associate Professor Maxine Pfannkuch
Department of Statistics students in a tutorial
Image of statistical data on a computer screen
Dr Hadley Wickham, honorary academic, Department of Statistics
Dr Hadley Wickham