Enter our 2023 writing competition for early-career statisticians and data scientists

casually dressed young person sitting on bed with laptop

Are you an early-career statistician or data scientist with a talent for telling data-driven stories in an entertaining and thought-provoking way? Would you like to be published in Significance and present your work at the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference?

If so, we invite you to enter the 2023 Statistical Excellence Award for Early-Career Writing. Jointly organised by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society, the competition forms part of the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards programme.

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

No topic is out of bounds. Surprise us! 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 have also awarded first prize to articles about the role of statistics in organ transplant medicine, World War II bombing raids, the reduction of food waste, millennials’ political views, and much more (read previous finalists' entries here). The article could be based on your own work, or that of others. But to stand the best chance of winning, it has to demonstrate the power that 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 where used. The tone should be engaging and easy to read – think magazine rather than academic journal. 

Winners and runners-up will be announced at the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards in the summer, and invited to present their articles at the 2023 RSS Conference in Harrogate (4–7 September 2023). The winning article will be published in Significance.

You have until 31 May 2023 to submit your entry. We can’t wait to read it!

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 5 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.
  • Winners, finalists and entrants from previous years of the competition are not excluded from participating in this year’s competition.
  • Email submissions as a text/Word file, or as a PDF, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • All entries must be accompanied by a competition entry form.
  • 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 2023 Royal Statistical Society International Conference in Harrogate, UK. Please note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered.
  • The winning article will be published in Significance magazine.
  • Runner-up articles may be published on the Significance website or in Significance magazine at the editor’s discretion.
  • Closing date is 31 May 2023.