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Statisticians create new avenue for funding: an in-house consulting firm

Hand points to bar graphs on notebook computer screen. / Pressmaster

Texas A&M University statisticians have started a consulting company that they believe could be a model for how universities can help raise funds for cash-strapped academic departments while boosting their three-part teaching, research and service missions.

Its creators envision Texas A&M Statistical Services LP to be a nimble company that draws on the expertise of the university’s statistics faculty members to help government and business tackle complex data mining, statistical and analytics problems. But don’t expect tabulating surveys or conducting focus groups.

“Our aim is to do cutting-edge work,” said Simon J. Sheather, the company’s president as well as professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics. “We want to work with companies to help them implement the latest methods. Imagine your company has collected all of this unstructured text. We can actually help you analyze that and figure out what the key issues are.”