RSS announces honours for 2017

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The Royal Statistical Society is pleased to announce the recipients of its honours for 2017.

The recipients, along with their citations, are as follows:

The Guy Medal in Silver is awarded to Neil Shephard for his seminal paper 'Non-Gaussian Ornstein-Uhlenbeck-based models and some of their uses in financial economics' written jointly with Ole Eiler Barndorff-Nielsen, and read to the Society in 2001, exemplifying his highly influential contributions across statistics, econometrics and finance, including particle filtering, stochastic volatility models and the statistical analysis of high-frequency data.

The Guy Medal in Bronze is awarded to Yingying Fan for her outstanding record of published contributions to statistical theory and methodology, and in particular for two papers in JRSSB: her 2013 paper, 'Tuning parameter selection in high dimensional penalized likelihood' with co-author Cheng Yong Tang and her 2014 paper, 'High dimensional thresholded regression and shrinkage effect' with co-authors Zemin Zheng and Jinchi Lv.

The Barnett Award is awarded to Peter Guttorp for his sustained and excellent contribution to the field of environmental statistics. Peter’s contributions span both advanced methodological developments and their application to a range of environmental systems, including climate change, atmospherics and geophysics. His work has influenced policy across the environmental sciences and he was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. 

The Research Prize is awarded to Chris Oates for his outstanding and diverse methodological contributions to computational statistics and his innovative contributions to bioinformatics and machine learning. Dr Oates’ wide-ranging research, notably on variance reduction and control functionals for Monte Carlo integration of intractable distributions, is playing a major role in the development of the emerging field of probabilistic numerical analysis.

The Research Prize is also awarded to Rajen Shah, an outstanding young researcher who has developed ground-breaking methodology in diverse fields: high-dimensional inference, interaction search and goodness-of-fit tests. His work is at the frontiers of modern statistical methods and is characterized by innovative methodology, sharp analysis and practical relevance. Of specific note is Shah’s 2013 paper (co-written with Richard Samworth), 'Variable selection with error control: Another look at Stability Selection', which made substantial improvements on an earlier idea of Peter Bühlmann and Nicolai Meinshausen.

The Chambers Medal for outstanding contributions to the Royal Statistical Society is awarded to Scott Heald as chair of the Remuneration and Staffing Committee, for guiding the Society through a time of organisational change and revolutionising interactions with staff. Characteristically, Scott’s whole approach was one of openness and transparency, gaining the respect of the staff even when delivering unwelcome messages. He ensured the best possible deal for all staff within the constraints on the Society and contributed outstandingly to its stability and positive culture.

Honorary Fellowship of the Society is awarded to John Curtice (pictured right) for his pioneering work on understanding voting behaviour and political and social attitudes, in particular as a leading commentator on British politics and his major contributions to the British Social Attitudes survey and British Election study. He has led the team of statisticians and political scientists behind the design and analysis of the exit polls that have accurately predicted the outcome of the last four UK general elections, and contributed as a political analyst to the BBC election night coverage since 1979.

Honorary Fellowship of the Society is awarded to Tim Harford (pictured above), an economist, journalist and broadcaster whose major impact on society has concerned presenting and explaining complex statistical and economic issues to the public in an accessible way and in holding the media to account in its reporting on statistics and economics. His popular and long-running BBC Radio 4 show More or Less provides perhaps the major contribution to the debate about statistics in this country, while his column in the Financial Times regularly addressed vital statistical issues. As one of the primary national ambassadors for statistics, Tim is fully deserving of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Statistical Society.

The West Medal is awarded to Danny Pfeffermann. Danny has had a long career in social statistics, with particular methodological interests in time series, multilevel modelling, survey non-response and small area estimation. He has for many years held down multiple roles, has been President of the Israeli Statistical Society and is currently the National Statistician in Israel, Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Professor of Social Statistics at Southampton, while continuing a role with the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US. He continues to use his expertise to train the next generation of official statisticians, as well as pursuing his research interests which also inform his work directing a national statistical office.

The Wood Medal for excellent contributions to economic or social statistics is awarded to George Leckie for his work analysing school performance data and development of procedures for modelling variance structures. His substantive results include ways of visualising the inherent uncertainty surrounding school rankings. He has demonstrated that past examinations and test scores only weakly inform parental school choice and that changes over time in the pattern of ethnic composition and segregation among London secondary schools occurring at different organisational scales (school, local authority) influence performance.

Here's the list in full:

  • Guy Medal in Silver: Neil Shephard
  • Guy Medal in Bronze: Yingying Fan
  • Barnett Award: Peter Guttorp
  • Research Prize: Chris Oates, Rajen Shah
  • Chambers Medal: Scott Heald
  • West Medal: Danny Pfefferman
  • Wood Medal: George Leckie
  • Honorary Fellowships: John Curtice, Tim Harford

Photo of Tim Harford courtesy of PopTech via Wikimedia Commons.

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