Significance, Royal Statistical Society Offer Writing Competition

Open to those within first 10 years of career

Each year, Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society host a competition to promote and encourage top-class writing about statistics. Entrants must be students or graduates within the first 10 years of their statistics careers. The deadline for this year’s competition is May 30.

Send Significance magazine an article of 1,500–2,500 words on the subject of your choosing. The article could be on work that you have done, or it could explain the work of others. The winning article will be published in the October 2015 issue of Significance and on Runners-up also will be published online.

Entrants should follow these basic guidelines:

  • The article should be interesting, engaging, and easy to read.
  • Technical terms and mathematics should be kept to a minimum and explained clearly when used.
  • Readers will finish the article knowing more about statistics than they did before.

Three finalists will be invited to present their work at a special session of the Royal Statistical Society International Conference (September 7–10, Exeter, UK), where the winner will be announced.

Last year’s winner, Jonathan Auerbach, used public data and a variation on capture-recapture methodology to counter the myth that New York City is home to as many rats as people. Following publication of his prize-winning article, write-ups of his work appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Daily Mail, Newsweek, China Daily, and Japan Times.

Of our two runners-up, Nathan Cunningham used Google search data to investigate the claim that Christmas comes earlier each year, while Katie Saunders compared survey data to medical records to check whether patient ethnicity is recorded correctly. Cunningham’s analysis was reported widely in the UK and Ireland, including on the front page of the Daily Telegraph, while Saunders’ research was covered by The Guardian.

Email submissions in a text/Word file or as a PDF to To read the complete rules, visit Significance online.