Runze Li, a professor of statistics at Penn State, has been honored with the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award for 2012 for a paper written with co-authors from other institutions spanning six continents. The paper, "Climate control of terrestrial carbon exchange across biomes and continents," which was published in Environmental Research Letters, examines relationships between climate and the carbon exchange of land-based ecosystems to predict future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Li, who is the only statistician among the 151 authors of this paper, used the statistical techniques known as mixture regression and two-dimensional kernel regression to analyze the data presented in the paper. The purpose of the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award, which is presented by the World Meteorological Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is "to encourage and reward annually an original scientific paper on the influence of meteorology in a particular field of the physical, natural, or human sciences, or on the influence of one of these sciences on meteorology."
Li's research involves various fields of statistics, including high-dimensional data analysis, variable selection, and intensive longitudinal data analysis. In addition, he has performed research in the design and modeling of computer experiments, behavioral science, genetic-data analysis, and brain-image analysis.
In 2004, Li was honored with a National Science Foundation Career Award. He is a fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and he has served on the board of directors of the International Chinese Statistical Association.
Li has co-authored a book, Design and Modeling for Computer Experiments, and he has written numerous scientific papers published in the Annals of Statistics, Biometrika, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Statistics in Medicine, and Psychological Methods. In addition, he serves as an associate editor for Annals of Statistics, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and Statistica Sinica. Li has presented numerous invited talks and seminars at professional conferences and meetings in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. He also has helped to organize statistical conferences in the United States, Canada, and Japan, serving as a session organizer, a scientific-program committee member, and a scientific-program committee chair.
In 2000, Li earned a doctoral degree in statistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a faculty member at Penn State since 2000. He was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and to professor in 2008.