Sallie Keller headshot

U.S. Census Bureau Names Sallie Keller the New Chief Scientist and Associate Director for Research and Methodology

With a long and successful career steeped in statistics, the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute’s Sallie Keller will step into a new post that might well have been tailor made for the nationally recognized research scientist. Keller will join the U.S. Census Bureau as chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology lending her scientific knowledge and expertise to advise the Census Bureau’s programs and continued need to produce high-quality statistical products describing America and for use by decision makers in many roles. Keller’s noted research and academic stature will continue to help the Census Bureau innovate and move the needle on highly critical research projects.

“Sallie is a nationally recognized research scientist who brings experience and drive towards continued innovation,” said Census Bureau Deputy Director Ron Jarmin. “We look forward to her leadership and expertise in helping to shape the future of social and economic statistics for all statistical programs at the Census Bureau.”

Census Bureau Director Robert L. Santos added, “Sallie is also committed to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in our workplace.”

Keller is a division director and distinguished professor in biocomplexity at the Biocomplexity Institute, and joins the Census Bureau through an interagency personnel agreement (IPA). An IPA is a temporary assignment between the federal government and colleges and universities or similar eligible entities with the intention of bringing on unique talent to support agency priorities.

In this case, Keller’s knowledge and expertise in the areas of social and decision informatics and data access and confidentiality will provide the Census Bureau opportunities to expand statistical research in these areas. Some of her responsibilities will include initiating and directing research on matters relating to methods of collecting, processing, and interpreting statistical data across the broad set of official statistics activities at the Census Bureau, including the Decennial Census.

Keller will lead the Research and Methodology directorate of research centers, each devoted to domains of investigation important to the future of social and economic statistics. The directorate collaborates with teams across the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as researchers throughout the country and the world to develop innovative scientific solutions and advances that help assure the Census Bureau is a leader in economic and social measurement.

In talking about her appointment, Keller said she looks forward to working with researchers and leadership throughout the Census Bureau to help drive continued innovation and mentor Census Bureau staff who are international leaders in their fields of expertise.

“The U.S. Census Bureau established itself long ago as an organization that conceptualizes, values, and implements new ideas to drive purposeful change when it comes to how to best represent people, places and the economy,” Keller said. “I am excited to join Director Santos, Deputy Director Ron Jarmin, and the associate directors in working with the Census Bureau’s talented scientific professionals to continue to move the U.S. Census Bureau forward in this regard as well as supporting their efforts to provide essential products that are useful to this country’s decision makers.”

In addition to her Biocomplexity Institute role, Keller holds appointments in UVA’s School of Data Science, School of Medicine’s Public Health Sciences department, and School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Engineering Systems and Environment department. Keller is an Elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. She has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications, the Committee on National Statistics, and has chaired the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, elected member of the International Statistics Institute, and fellow and past president of the American Statistical Association.

Keller joins the U.S. Census Bureau as a special advisor on July 1, 2022, and assumes her role as chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology on Oct.15, 2022.