Statistical excellence in early career writing

About our awards

The Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing recognises the ability of early career statisticians to tell data-driven stories in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. “Early career” means students or anyone within the first 10 years of their statistical career – whether studying, recently graduated or already working.

The competition is jointly organised by Significance magazine and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society.

2017 winner

The winner for 2017 was Kevin Lin of Carnegie Mellon University, for his article ‘We, the millennials: The statistical significance of political significance', which explores the subject of political engagement and analyses changes in 'upvoting' behaviour on the social news aggregation site,, over the past decade.

Watch Kevin’s thank you message here


We invite original submissions of between 1,500 and 2,500 words, and articles could be on any subject. Past winners have shown how statistics can be used to plan a wedding; they have investigated whether New York City has as many rats as people; and they have analysed past presidential speeches to chart the rise in usage of the word “America”. You could write about work that you have done, or you could explain the work of others. But to stand the best chance of winning, your article needs to demonstrate the power that statistics has to challenge myths, shape decisions and explain the world around us.

Most importantly, articles must be engaging and easy to read. Significance is published for a broad audience of readers, with varying levels of statistical expertise. This means technical terms and mathematics should be kept to a minimum and explained clearly where used.


The winning article is published in the October issue of Significance, and online at Runners-up will be published online at the editor’s discretion.

The winning author and runners-up are also invited to give presentations based on their articles at a special session of the Royal Statistical Society International Conference.

A list of the winners for all four Statistical Excellence Awards, along with full citations from the judges, is available to download (PDF).