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Richard Cook appointed University Professor

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The University of Waterloo appointed Professor Richard Cook a “University Professor” in recognition of his outstanding research contributions in the field of Biostatistics. Waterloo’s designation of University Professor acknowledges exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence.

Richard J. CookCook is a Faculty of Mathematics Research Chair and a former Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Statistical Methods for Health Research. A faculty member in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science for over 25 years, Cook holds cross-appointments to the School of Public Health and Health Systems in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and the Faculty of Health Science at McMaster University.

“Professor Cook is truly one of the world’s current leading Biostatisticians,” said Stefan Steiner, chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. “He has made groundbreaking contributions to many areas of biostatistics, including the analysis of life history data, statistical methods for missing and incomplete data, analysis of longitudinal data, and in the design and analysis of clinical and epidemiological studies.”

Cook has co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific research papers and co-authored with Jerry Lawless two fundamental texts in Biostatistics: Multistate Models for the Analysis of Life History Data and The Statistical Analysis of Recurrent Events. While Cook has made numerous advancements in statistical theory, his research is heavily motivated by real-world problems in public health and medicine. Through his network of collaborators, his work has advanced understanding of disease processes and treatment in the fields of rheumatology, transfusion medicine, and oncology.

He has received numerous awards and accolades. In addition to receiving an Outstanding Performance Award five times during his career at the University of Waterloo, Cook:

  • Delivered the Scandinavian Journal of Statistics Keynote Lecture at the Nordic-Baltic Meeting of the International Biometrics Society (2019)
  • Received the SSC Gold Medal for his outstanding contributions to the field of Statistics (2017)
  • Was named the 2016 Armitage Lecturer at the University of Cambridge
  • Was named fellow of the American Statistical Association (2008)
  • Received the CRM-SSC Prize from the centre de researches mathematiques (CRM) and the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) for research accomplishments and excellence during the first 15 years following a doctoral degree (2007)

Cook is also known for his supervision and mentoring of graduate students and research fellows. In 2017 he received the Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. He has supervised 23 doctoral students, four of whom were winners of the Pierre Robillard Award for the best Canadian PhD thesis in Statistics or Probability in their year of graduation. He has also supervised 11 postdoctoral fellows. Many of these former students and fellows are now themselves leading biostatistical researchers in universities and industry across Canada and internationally.

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