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2016 Young Statisticians Writing Competition

2016 Young Statisticians Writing Competition

Can you tell a statistical story in an entertaining and thought-provoking way? If you think you’ve got what it takes, and are within the first 10 years of your statistical career, we want to hear from you. 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. This year’s competition is now under way.

Last year’s winner, James Skeffington, asked whether investor Warren Buffett was a genius or just incredibly lucky, which served as a pretext for discussing the Bernoulli process, the cumulative binomial probability formula and expected values. Of our two runners-up, Samantha Tyner described a machine-led approach to image analysis as an alternative to FiveThirtyEight’s manual coding of the paintings of Bob Ross, while Annie Herbert applied Bayesian methods to six series’ worth of Great British Bake Off data in an attempt to predict the TV show’s winners and losers.


Any topic of choice


Royal Statistical Society & American Statistical Association


The winning article will be published in the October 2016 edition of Significance and on Runners-up will also be published online. Three finalists will be invited to present their work at a special session of the Royal Statistical Society International Conference (5–8 September 2016, Manchester, UK) and that is where the overall winner will be announced.


28 May 2016


  • Articles must be interesting, engaging and easy to read.
  • Technical terms and mathematics must be kept to a minimum, and explained clearly where used.
  • Readers should finish your article knowing more about statistics, or the application of statistics, than they did before.
  • The article could be on work that you have done, or it could explain the work of others.
  • Entrants must be students, or within the first 10 years of their statistics careers.
  • Articles should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words long, and can include tables, figures, images and photographs.
  • Writing style must be clear and easy to read.
  • Avoid the formal layout of an academic report – the article should read like a magazine feature.
  • Technical terms and mathematics must be used sparingly, and suitably explained.
  • End references are optional, but should be limited to four.
  • Only submissions in English will be considered.
  • Manuscripts must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere, though we welcome magazine articles based on work in theses or in papers that have been submitted to or accepted by academic journals, provided the two are sufficiently different.
  • All articles will be assessed by a review committee.
  • The judges will be made up of representatives from both the Young Statisticians Section and Significance.
  • Three finalists will win a one-day registration to the Royal Statistical Society International Conference 2016 in Manchester, UK – but please note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered.
  • The winning article will be published in Significance magazine, and online at
  • Runner-up articles will be published on the Significance website, or in Significance magazine, at the editor’s discretion.
  • Please email your submissions in a text/Word file or as a PDF, to


For any suggestions, comments, corrections, media inquiries, and more, email us at


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