RSS fellow Jane Hutton has been commended by the judges of this year’s John Maddox prize for her work as a statistician and board member at the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – the pension scheme for academic and academic-related staff in many of the UK’s universities.
Awarded by Sense about Science, The John Maddox Prize recognises the work of individuals who promote science and evidence, advancing the public discussion around difficult topics, despite challenges or hostility.
Although Jane was not this year’s winner, the judges said that Jane had made an ‘extraordinary contribution’, advocating for ‘the transparency of statistical evidence behind claims about the deficit faced by the UK’s USS pension scheme, which has drawn attention to the wider issue that many statistical models on which the public depends are obscured from public scrutiny.’
A USS board member since 2015, Jane’s tenure was terminated in October, although the USS has stated that this was ‘completely separate’ from its investigations into the whistle-blowing allegations made by Jane last year.
RSS President Deborah Ashby said: 'Jane uses her formidable skills as a statistician in areas she cares about deeply, both in research and wider engagement in issues that matter to society. I am delighted to see her contributions in the complex area of pensions recognised by Sense about Science.'
Jane is continuing to speak up about pensions and is guest speaker at the next RSS Oxford local group meeting to talk about intergenerational fairness of pensions.
Meanwhile, the Royal Statistical Society has set up a Special Interest Group in Finance and Economics to discuss how statistics are, or could be used across finance, economics, actuarial, quantitative finance, econometrics and financial mathematics.