Statistics, Science and Society

Frankfurt, 24 April 2017

The fifth and final Round Table in the Power from Statistics project dealt with modern statistics rooted in a scientific tradition to serve society. It took place on 24 April 2017 in Frankfurt (Germany). Experts from Europe and the United States, together with colleagues of Eurostat and the European Political Strategy Centre, discussed major trends and new information needs in modern statistics.

Outcome

The experts stressed the need not to leave the society behind, fostering statistical literacy and communication, working with media. This will reduce the gap between evidence and end users - the general public as well as policymakers.

The experts also discussed the role of qualitative descriptions, storytelling and data visualisation, as well as the challenge of communicating uncertainty.

They also highlighted the need of redefining the role of official statistics in a changing world, by covering emerging topics and being able to innovate, also taking advantage of new technologies and big data to increase the accuracy of statistics and reduce their costs.

The major fields for innovation analysed during the round table include the collaboration with the private sector, the use of remote sensing data and the overcoming of the national perspective, moving towards a post-national horizon.

Among the emerging topics, the need to strengthen the relationships and the collaboration with other scientific disciplines was considered particularly relevant.

The experts also discussed issues such as timeliness, accuracy and international comparability of statistics, trust and independence, focusing on the trade-off between independence and relevance in an interdependent relationship with the priorities of policymakers, in an environment of budget constraints.

The experts will write articles on the most promising of the topics discussed at the Round Table in an Outlook Report. This report will be discussed at the high-level conference "Power from Statistics; Data, Information and knowledge" on the future of official statistics, which will take place in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2017.

Participants

Pierre Bischoff is Advisor to the Director-General of Eurostat – coordinator for internal relations. He studied law and politics in Strasbourg and Paris before joining the European Commission in 1994 in the then Directorate-General for Telecommunications, Information Market and Innovation. After having moved to Eurostat in 2001, he occupied different positions in Luxembourg and Brussels where he was more particularly in charge of the relations with the European Parliament and the Council. He was Head of the Eurostat Legal and Institutional Affairs Unit from 2007 to 2013, a period marked notably by the adoption the new European Statistical Law (Regulation N°223/2009 on European statistics), the 2012 Commission Decision on Eurostat, the Greek statistics crisis and the launching of a new vision for statistics.

Pierre Bischoff

Marie Bohatá studied Econometrics in Prague and got her degree in Systems theory. In her professional career she has been working in applied economic research. She has acquired top management experience as President of the Czech Statistical Office and Deputy Director-General of Eurostat. Currently, she co-ordinates research projects focusing on public administration in the Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and chairs the Society for Ethics in Economics, Business and Administration.

Marie Bohatá

Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami. He is also the director of the Visualization program at UM’s Center for Computational Science. He has been a director of infographics and multimedia at news publications in Spain (El Mundo, 2000-2005) and Brazil (Editora Globo, 2010-2012) and a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Besides teaching at UM, he works as a freelancer and permanent consultant for companies like Google and Microsoft. He's the author of the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (2012) and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication.

Alberto Cairo

Corine Eyraud is an Associate Professor in Sociology at Aix-Marseille University. She has particular expertise in sociology of quantification (sociology of statistics and sociology of accounting). Her research focuses on the social construction of statistical (and accounting) measurements and on the social uses of quantitative information. She was a visiting academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, at the Department of Politics and International Relations of Oxford University, at St Antony’s College and Wolfson College, Oxford. She has been teaching statistics and demography with a perspective of sociology of quantification for over twenty years.

Corine Eyraud

Martina Hahn is Head of Unit at Eurostat for Methodology and Corporate Architecture. Before joining Eurostat in 2001, she worked in the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. She studied Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Konstanz from which she graduated.

Martina Hahn

Martin Karlberg is team leader for Research and Innovation in Official Statistics at Eurostat. Before joining the European Commission in 2003, he worked at Statistics Sweden, AstraZeneca, and at Stockholm University (from where he was awarded his PhD in statistics in 1997).

Martin Karlberg

Márta Nagy-Rothengass has a broad Europe-wide working experience in the business and public environment. She dealt with initiation and transaction of trade agreements, taught Business Studies, managed social association and did consultancy work. She gathered her interest on ICT while establishing “New Media” at a traditional German manufacturing company. In 2005 she joined the European Commission’s DG INFSO (which has since become the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology), where she served in a number of Head of Unit positions; from 2012-2016 in the Data Value Chain Unit, where she was deeply involved into the EC Communication “Towards a thriving data-driven economy” and a driving force in the work towards a European Public Private Partnership on “Big Data Value”. Since January 2017, she is the Head of the Data and metadata services and standardisation Unit at Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union.

Márta Nagy-Rothengass

Walter J. Radermacher was Director-General of Eurostat and Chief Statistician of the European Union between 2008 and 2016. He has worked at the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) for 30 years, finally as President and Federal Returning Officer. Since 2017 he is a PhD Researcher at the Department of Statistical Sciences of the Sapienza University in Rome.

Walter J. Radermacher

Aurel Schubert is the Director-General Statistics of the European Central Bank, Chairman of the Statistics Committee of the European System of Central Banks, and Chairman of the Contact Group on Data of the European Systemic Risk Board. Before he was for 25 years working at the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, 13 years as Director of Statistics. He is member of several Austrian and European statistical bodies. He is Honorary Professor for Economics of the University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria, and Lecturer at several academic institutions. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of South Carolina (USA) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Economics and Business in Vienna. He’s the author of The Credit-Anstalt Crisis of 1931, as well as over 50 articles on central banking, European monetary policy, statistics and monetary history.

Aurel Schubert

Lúcio Vinhas De Souza was invited to join the EPSC from Moody’s in New York, USA, where he was until March 2015 Managing Director and Chief Economist. Before that, he coordinated the economic analysis and forecasting for Developed Economies at the World Bank in Washington, where he co-authored the flagship “Global Economic Prospects” publication. Previously, he was Head of the Russia and Belarus Desk at the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) of the European Commission, and before that he was Research Area Coordinator at the Kiel Institute for World Economics in Germany. His first work experience was as an international economist at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. He has been a visiting researcher and visiting fellow at a number of institutions, including the Central Banks of Estonia and Germany, the New Economic School in Moscow and the European Centre for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics in Brussels. He holds a PhD in economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Master and Bachelor degrees in economics from the New University of Lisbon in Portugal.

Lúcio Vinhas De Souza

Sibylle von Oppeln-Bronikowski is Director of Strategy and Planning, International Relations, and Research and Communications at the German Federal Statistical Office. She is currently Head of the “Strategy and Planning, International Relations, Research and Communication” Department at the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis). In this role, she is responsible for strategic statistical issues within the German Federation and with the European Union (Eurostat), especially related to Communication policy, Planning, Data Quality and Research & Development. She also has a key role in bilateral co-operation at Destatis. She joined Destatis after obtaining her diploma in economics. She has undertaken a variety of strategic and subject matter roles in Destatis, including the development of Principles on Quality and Communication, as well as leadership of a number of subject matter areas. She plays an active role within the European Statistical System (ESS). Drawing on her longstanding expertise in official statistics and international affairs, Sibylle successfully co-chaired the Friends of the Chair on the implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (FPOS) within the UN Statistical Commission. Sibylle is currently member of the IAOS Executive Committee.

Sibylle von Oppeln-Bronikowski

Howard White is Chief Executive Officer of the Campbell Collaboration. Previously he was the founding Executive Director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and before that led the impact evaluation programme of the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. He started his career as an academic researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, and has advised a number of governments in Africa and Asia, and international development agencies on anti-poverty programmes, measuring results and impact evaluation.

Howard White

Elisabetta Carfagna is full professor of statistics at the University of Bologna. She started her academic career after having reached a managerial position in the R&D department of a leading Italian company. She has lead and participated in international research and capacity development projects, in collaboration with several international organizations and national institutions, among which FAO, Eurostat, JRC, US and Italian Governments and Gates Foundation. She was asked to design and start up the implementation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics.

Elisabetta Carfagna

Aminda Leigh is a British journalist with more than 25 years’ experience, half of which working for various BBC radio and TV channels. She moved to Italy in 2001, from where she now runs her own business offering journalism, moderation, production and translation services for a wide variety of European and international clients. She specialises in environmental issues, EU affairs, culture and the audiovisual industry. Aminda has made award-winning web-documentaries and videos for the European Commission, among other clients. She has moderated entire conferences as well as individual sessions and workshops at major events – for example, EU Green Week, the European Business Summit and EXPO in Milan – covering subjects such as the circular economy, green growth, climate change and environmental issues. Aminda has an Honours Degree in Philosophy and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Radio and TV Journalism.

Aminda Leigh