Each year the IMS awards funds to young researchers to travel to present a paper or poster at the IMS annual meeting. Following this year’s World Congress in Istanbul, we asked the latest recipients what they thought of the meeting, the location and the IMS.

Karthik Bharath enjoyed the meeting: “It was wonderfully organized and well attended; the highlight, of course, being the sheer number of stalwarts in probability and statistics who were talking about their interests and work. It was a great privilege for a young student like myself to have the chance to not only listen to their lectures, but also interact with them. To top it all, Istanbul is a gorgeous city and I loved every minute of my stay there.”

Ruodu Wang’s favorite aspect of the congress was the people: “Many people. Big names, junior researchers, students…” Miles Lopes also appreciated meeting “leading statisticians from Europe whom I have not met before, because I am from California.”

Miles found the talks useful, saying, “The talks helped to get me up to speed with current research that I was not aware of, and also to notice broader research trends in theoretical statistics.” Yining Chen said, “The sessions on high dimensional data analysis and time series analysis were particularly interesting to me. The Tukey lecture was also very insightful. They were all pretty much relevant to my research.” He also thought the boat trip was “joyful!” Michael Kelly said he found some of the talks “quite interesting. I especially enjoyed the talks on the exclusion process and second class particles.”

Gourab Mukherjee found the talks useful too, adding, “I am mainly interested in high dimensional inference and there were a lot of interesting talks on that theme. The Wald and the Medallion lectures were helpful in conveying the central ideas of some exciting research topics.” He added that attending the congress “has definitely broadened my perspective of statistical research.” Miles stated that the congress confirmed that his plan to pursue a research career in statistics after graduation would be “an exciting career path!”

The congress location proved popular. Gourab said, “Istanbul is an awesome place to visit. I covered most of the tourist attractions in the city which could be reached by public transport. The food was good and the local people were very helpful.” Karthik said, “I loved the area around the Galata tower leading up to the water. The Turkish baths were especially enjoyable and I highly recommend it!

Ruodu would recommend that other new researchers apply for an IMS Laha Travel Award. Michael agrees they should: “for the funding, the chance to network and an opportunity to learn about the current research being done.” Karthik said the Laha Award is, “a prestigious award for a young researcher—famous winners highlight it in their CVs. [Also] the monetary aspect does not hurt!”
All of them hope to come to future IMS meetings, so if you see them, do say hello!

Applications are open now for next year’s Laha Award, which will provide funding to travel to JSM in Montreal, Canada. See the information here.


The 2012 Laha Travel Award recipients pictured in Istanbul with Sonia Petrone, travel awards committee chair, and Ruth Williams, then President of IMS, in the center of the front row.