Richard Smith

Richard Smith, PhD

Department of Biostatistics
Mark L. Reed III Distinguished Professor
Department of Statistics and Operations Research
Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute
303 Hanes Hall
CB #33260
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Richard L. Smith is the Mark L. Reed III Distinguished Professor of statistics, and holds a joint position as professor of biostatistics. He obtained his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1979 and has previously held academic positions at Imperial College (London), the University of Surrey (Guildford, England) and Cambridge University.

His principal areas of research are spatial statistics, time series analysis, extreme value theory and Bayesian statistics. Specific areas of expertise include spatial and time series modeling of environmental pollutants, the health effects of atmospheric pollution, the statistics of global climate change, and extreme values in insurance and finance.

Dr. Smith is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and has won the Guy Medal in Silver of the Royal Statistical Society and the Distinguished Achievement Medal of the Section on Statistics and the Environment, American Statistical Association. In 2004 he was the J. Stuart Hunter Lecturer of The International Environmetrics Society (TIES). He also is a chartered statistician of the Royal Statistical Society.

Honors and Awards

Guy Medal in Silver
Royal Statistical Society.

American Statistical Association Fellow

Institute of Mathematical Science Fellow

Representative Courses

Time Series and Multivariate Analysis (STOR 754)

Introduction to Statistics (STOR 151)

Advanced Undergraduate Linear Models (STOR 550)

Graduate Time Series and Multivariate (STOR 754)

Research Activities

Extreme value theory, spatial statistics, time series analysis, applications to climate science and air pollution epidemiology.

Service Activities

Member of EPA Science Advisory Board

Member of Board of Reviewing Editors of Science

Regular reviewer for journals, NSF

Key Publications

Handbook of Environmental and Ecological Statistics. Chapman and Hall/CRC Handbooks of Modern Statistical Methods. Gelfand, A., Fuentes, M., Hoeting, J. and Smith, R.L. (editors) (2019).

Air quality and acute deaths in California, 2000-2012. Young, S.S., Lopiano, K. and Smith, R.L. (2017). Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 83.

A Bayesian hierarchical model for climate change detection and attribution. Katzfuss, M., Hammerling, D. and Smith, R.L. (2017). Geophys. Res. Lett, 44.


  • PhD, Operations Research, Cornell University, 1979
  • BA, Mathematics, Oxford University, 1975