The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) presents awards annually to honor statisticians who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. For 2017, four awards were presented on August 2 during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore.

Tyler J. VanderWeele of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is the recipient of the 2017 Presidents’ Award. This award is presented annually to a young member of one of the participating societies of COPSS in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. The award citation recognized VanderWeele “for fundamental contributions to causal inference and the understanding of causal mechanisms; for profound advancement of epidemiologic theory and methods and the application of statistics throughout medical and social sciences; and for excellent service to the profession including exceptional contributions to teaching, mentoring, and bridging many academic disciplines with statistics”.

Tyler VanderWeele

Xihong Lin of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is the recipient of the 2017 Florence Nightingale David Award. This award, sponsored jointly by COPSS and the Caucus for Women in Statistics, is granted biennially to a female statistician who serves as a role model to other women by her contributions to the profession through excellence in research, leadership of multidisciplinary collaborative groups, statistics education, or service to the professional societies. The award citation recognized Lin “for leadership and collaborative research in statistical genetics and bioinformatics; and for passion and dedication in mentoring students and young statisticians”.

Xihong Lin

Aurore Delaigle of the University of Melbourne is the recipient of the 2017 George W. Snedecor Award. The award honors biennially an individual who was instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry with a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the award date. The award citation recognized Delaigle “for fundamental and groundbreaking contributions to the statistical theory of group testing of pooled laboratory samples, and for contributions to measurement error methods and density estimation.” The award recognized the publication, jointly written with Peter Hall, entitled “Nonparametric methods for group testing data, taking dilution into account”, which appeared in Biometrika (2015), 102: 871–887.

COPSS Chair Nick Horton, Snedecor Award winner Aurore Delaigle, and Award Committee chair Paul Rathouz

Robert E. Kass of Carnegie Mellon University is the recipient of the 2017 R.A. Fisher Award and Lectureship, which honors both the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present-day statistician for advancement of statistical theory and applications. This annual award recognizes outstanding scholarship in statistical sciences that has had a highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations. The award citation recognized Kass “for ground-breaking contributions to several areas of statistics including use of differential geometry in statistical theory as well as theory and methodology of Bayesian inference; for strong commitment to the application of principled statistical thinking and modeling to problems in computational neuroscience; and for his strong dedication to training of students and users of statistics”.

Rob Kass

The webcast of his Fisher Lecture, “The Importance of Statistics: Lessons from the Brain Sciences”, will be available online shortly at the COPSS website,

These awards are jointly sponsored by IMS, the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Eastern and Western Regions of the International Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR), and the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC).

Call for nominations for the 2018 awards is here.

Photos courtesy of Eric Sampson, ASA