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Dr J. H. van Zanten (1972) has been appointed Professor of Mathematical Statistics at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science.

Prof Harry van Zanten, Professor Mathematical statistics
Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

Harry van Zanten conducts research into statistical methods for complex, high-dimensional systems. Models are used in an increasing range of applications, where very large numbers of unknown parameters have to be estimated using the available data. Classical statistical methods are often not useful in such situations. Van Zanten’s research focuses on finding new methods and studying their properties. In recent years, Van Zanten has conducted a lot of research into so-called non-parametric Bayesian methods. These are becoming more widely used in numerous areas, but there is still little known about their fundamental capabilities and limitations. Mathematical analysis makes it possible to gain more insight into this area.


Van Zanten previously worked as a Professor of Statistics at the Eindhoven University of Technology from 2009. He is also a senior fellow at EURANDOM, the Eindhoven-based research institute for probability and statistics. Before this, Van Zanten worked as assistant professor and associate professor at the VU University Amsterdam and conducted his doctoral research at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam. He has received Veni, Vidi and Vici grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. In 2010, Harry van Zanten was awarded the Van Dantzig Prize, the highest Dutch award in the field of statistics and operations research. He has many publications to his name in scientific journals, such as Annals of Statistics, Stochastic Processes and Their Applications, and Bernoulli.