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2024 AIG Student Paper Competition

The Astrostatistics Interest Group of the American Statistical Association (ASA/AIG) sponsors a student paper competition, with the submitted papers being related to the development and/or application of statistical methods to problems in astronomy, astrophysics, or cosmology. The winner and (up to) four other finalists will present their papers in the ASA Astrostatistics Interest Group Topic-contributed session at the 2024 Joint Statistical Meetings in Portland, Oregon, USA. Each finalist will receive $100, while the overall winner will receive an additional $400.

A collection of previous winners can be found here.

Application deadline: Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST

An information session will be held online at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (US and Canada) on Nov 17, 2023, at https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/82864537788 (Meeting ID: 828 6453 7788, Passcode: 332891).


To be eligible for this award, the candidate must have been a full-time student (undergraduate, master’s, or Ph.D.) as of the start of the paper eligibility window (Dec 6, 2022). The candidate must be the principal contributor to the research paper, which contains work done primarily while the candidate was a student. The paper must have been submitted for publication between December 6, 2022, and the application deadline. The advisor (or another co-author) must write a letter confirming the eligibility of the candidate and the paper as well as stating that the candidate had primary responsibility for the research and write-up of the submission. The candidate must be a member of the ASA Astrostatistics Interest Group (to join, see the details on the interest group website). Students who have previously won the Best Astrostatistics Paper award are not eligible to participate. The ASA has additional policies for student paper competitions; you can familiarize yourself with those here.

We strongly encourage students from groups underrepresented in statistics and/or astronomy to apply!

Submission Requirements:

A submission consists of sending an e-mail to the official ASA/AIG email (aigamstat@gmail.com) with the subject line “Astrostatistics 2024 Student Paper Competition” and the following attachments as PDF files (include all the attachments in a single email):

  1. The curriculum vitae of the applicant.
  2. A letter from the advisor (or other co-author) verifying the student status of the candidate and the eligibility of the paper as well as briefly describing the candidate’s role in the research and writing of the paper.
  3. The paper – with the author list and other identifying factors removed but including all tables, figures, and appendices – as a single PDF file, with a maximum limit of 30 pages, with 11-point font, single-spaced, and one-inch margins on all sides. The paper must have been submitted for publication between December 6, 2022, and the application deadline. (See blinding guidelines below.)
  4. A summarized version of the paper – with the author list and other identifying factors removed – as a single PDF file, with a maximum limit of 4 pages of text, with 11-point font, single-spaced, and with one-inch margins on all sides. The title and (summarized) abstract should be provided on the first page of text. Up to four additional pages are allowed for relevant figures and tables, as well as references. (See blinding guidelines below.)
  5. The original (unblinded) paper submitted for publication. This will only be used to check for conflicts of interest prior to the formation of the review panel.

Questions about the submissions can also be addressed to aigamstat@gmail.com.

Blinding Guidelines:

The judging will be dual-anonymous, with both the reviewers and the contestants held unnamed and unidentified from each other. Several real-world tests of such systems have shown unambiguously that dual-anonymous judging removes most social biases and renders fairer results. In order to achieve this, we require all submissions to be anonymized such that direct references to identifiable information are eliminated. Thus, in both the initial 4-page summary and the full paper submission, submitters are required to:

  1. Alter the title significantly from the one that will appear in print or in preprint servers (it is also useful to change the name of any software package that is developed and presented in the paper, but not required unless the name can identify the group or the institution).
  2. Remove the list of authors and the acknowledgements section (note that these should be supplied separately at the time of submission so that reviewer panels may be constituted without conflicts).
  3. Remove all identifiable URLs that point to GitHub pages, institute or group pages, and/or software download links. Submitters can say that the GitHub link exists (e.g., “the software has been released on GitHub”) without explicitly saying where it is. They should leave in GitHub links or software from other people or groups that may form components of the work.
  4. Remove shorthand notation for referencing previous papers in a chain (e.g., no “Paper I”s) or even crediting previous work (e.g., do not say “as we showed in Smith+21”), and just use neutral reference schemes (e.g., “Smith+21 showed”).

Finally, we recommend that the direct contributions of the student to the work be highlighted in the first person singular (“I devised this algorithm”, “I analyzed the dataset”, “I carried out the simulations”, etc).

Selection of Winners:

Papers will be blind-reviewed by a committee determined by the officers of the Astrostatistics Interest Group. Criteria for selection will include, but are not limited to, novelty in theory/methods/applications, significance and potential impact of the research, and clarity of writing and presentation. Decisions of the committee are final.

In the initial stage, finalists are chosen on the basis of their summarized paper submissions. A maximum of five finalists will be notified by mid-to-late-January 2024. From those five, a winner is chosen on the basis of the full paper submissions. Note that to be eligible for cash prizes, all finalists must submit abstracts and register for JSM 2024 through the official JSM abstract submission system. (Those who are not selected as finalists are still strongly encouraged to submit a contributed abstract to JSM 2024.) Finalists must register for JSM 2024, and must attend and present their work in person in the ASA Astrostatistics Interest Group Topic-contributed session at JSM 2024 in Portland, Oregon, USA. Exceptions to this may only be granted in cases of significant unexpected extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical emergencies).