​Balgobin Nandram, professor of mathematical sciences, has received an 11-month, $148,843 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a project titled, “Bayesian Benchmarking Under Inequality Constraints of County Estimates for Agricultural Commodities.” Nandram will work with the Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to help them create yearly estimates of planted acres, harvested acres, and production and yield. He will provide leadership, advice, and mentoring to the service’s statistical research team members to improve their research skills.

Nandram, who is working on this project for the fourth year, will serve as a senior research scientist and statistician on the project, providing mentoring in the research process to develop junior staff into successful and effective researchers responsible for the research program at the USDA NASS. He will work with the assigned research team, providing statistical leadership and guidance for the research projects and mentoring to junior and senior researchers. This will include developing complex research plans that address statistical research, particularly in the field of small area estimation.

He will also provide oversight during the research process and help ensure that the research meets NASS operational standards, including computer code. He also will conduct research primarily using Bayesian models, which are statistical models focused on probabilities, and document any developed methodology. Finally, he will provide senior leadership of statistical modeling, emphasizing Bayesian methods for researchers and teams and to NASS, in general, to meet NASS’s goal of model-based estimation and transparency of methodology. An important aspect of the project is to provide benchmarked county estimates, subject to inequality constraints.