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The Significance Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing is a highlight of our calendar, and we’re excited to launch the 2024 competition.

Are you a statistics student, early-career statistician or data scientist with an original data-driven story to tell? Maybe a story inspired by your studies, your job, a news story, or one of your personal passions? If so, crack open your laptop, write it down and send it over by 31 May 2024.

Jointly organised by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section (YSS) of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), our competition forms part of the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards programme.

Over the years we’ve enjoyed stories on a range of fascinating topics; stories that challenge myths, shape decisions and explain the world around us. Last year, Robyn Goldsmith scooped first prize with her entertaining analysis of the rise of Korean popular culture, while our runners-up used statistical techniques to figure out what makes a champion boxer, and just how big Shakespeare’s vocabulary might have been. The previous year, winner Lee Kennedy-Shaffer shone a light on rule changes in baseball. Previous winning articles have covered New York City’s rats, organ transplant medicine, World War Two bombing raids, the reduction of food waste, millennials’ political views, the representation of women in romcoms, and much more – take a look at previous winners and runners-up here.

Significance welcomes a broad audience of readers, with varying levels of statistical expertise, including non-experts. This means you should adopt a friendly, engaging and easy-to-read tone, and keep technical terms and mathematics to a minimum. Remember, Significance is a magazine reaching out beyond the statistical community alone, and is not an academic journal.

Entries are judged by a panel made up of the Significance editorial team, YSS and editorial board members.

Winners and runners-up will be announced at the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards in London on 10 July 2024, and invited to present their articles at the 2024 RSS Conference in Brighton (2-5 September 2024). The winning article will be published in Significance.

Rules of entry

  • Entrants must be either (1) students currently studying for a first degree, master’s or PhD in statistics, data science or related subjects, or (2) graduates whose last qualification in statistics, data science or related subjects (whether first degree, master’s or PhD) was not more than five years ago.
  • Articles must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words in length.
  • Articles can include tables and figures – though, for space reasons, there should be no more than five tables/figures in total.
  • Writing style must be accessible and engaging.
  • Technical terms and mathematics must be used sparingly, and suitably explained where used.
  • End references should be limited to 10.
  • Footnotes must not be used.
  • Only submissions in English will be considered.
  • Manuscripts must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. You may submit articles based on work in theses or in papers that have been submitted to, or accepted by, academic journals, provided that the competition submission is sufficiently different in style and structure.
  • Articles must be entirely written by a human being, and not include AI-generated text from a large language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT unless such text is explicitly identified as such and serves the purpose of the article (e.g. it is an AI-generated sentence serving as an example in an article about LLMs).
  • Winners, finalists and entrants from previous years of the competition are not excluded from participating in this year’s competition.
  • All entries must be accompanied by our competition entry form.
  • Email submissions as a text/Word file, or as a PDF, to significance@rss.org.uk.
  • Articles will be reviewed by a judging panel featuring representatives of both the RSS Young Statisticians Section and Significance.
  • Up to three finalists will win a full registration to the 2024 Royal Statistical Society International Conference in Brighton, UK. Please note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered.
  • The winning article will be published in Significance
  • Runner-up articles may be published on the Significance website or in Significance magazine at the editor’s discretion.
  • Closing date is 31 May 2024.

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