Significance Writing Competition Open for Entries

Are you an early-career statistician or data scientist with a talent for telling data-driven stories in an entertaining and thought-provoking way? If so, we invite you to enter the competition for the 2023 Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing.

Jointly organized by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society, the competition forms part of the RSS Excellence Awards.

Early career means students or anyone within the first 10 years of their statistical career. Whether studying, recently graduated, or already working, this competition is open to you.

No topic is out of bounds. Last year’s winning article, by Lee Kennedy-Shaffer, explained how statistics can help us evaluate rule changes in baseball. The previous year, Conner Jackson wrote about his investigation into whether a colleague’s pet tortoise really could predict the weather. Over the years, we’ve honored articles about the role of statistics in organ transplant medicine, World War II bombing raids, the reduction of food waste, and millennials’ political views. Your article could be based on your work or that of others. Read winning entries from previous years.

To stand the best chance of winning, your article must demonstrate the power statistics has to challenge myths, shape decisions, and explain the world around us.

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 when used. The tone should be engaging and easy to read—think magazine, rather than academic journal.

Entries are judged by a panel made up of the Significance editorial team and editorial board members. Winners, finalists, and entrants from previous years of the competition are not excluded from participating in this year’s competition.

Winners and runners-up will be announced at the RSS Excellence Awards program in the summer and invited to present their articles at the 2023 RSS Conference in Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK (September 4–7). 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.

Rules of Entry

  • Entrants must be either students studying for a first degree, master’s, or PhD in statistics, data science, or related subjects or 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 when 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 papers that have been submitted to, or accepted by, academic journals, provided the competition submission is sufficiently different in style and structure.
  • All entries must be accompanied by an entry form.
  • Email submissions as a text/Word or PDF file.
  • Closing date is May 31.

Up to three finalists will win a full registration to the 2023 Royal Statistical Society International Conference in Harrogate, UK. Travel and accommodation costs will not be covered.