BEST Award Charter & Agreement between BEST Foundation and Duke University

The BEST Award Fund:

The BEST Foundation will provide an annual monetary gift to Duke University (for an undetermined period) to be administered through the Department of Statistical Science via a 39X gift fund account named the BEST Award Fund. The gift made in the founding year 2007—for the first award in academic year 2008—is $5,000. The intent of the Foundation is to maintain the annual gift at or above that level, though the level may vary from year to year. The funds provide an annual prize to one or more students and the expenses associated with administering and advertising the award.

The BEST Award Fund may receive contributions of additional funds from the Department of Statistical Science and others associated with Duke and the Bayesian statistics community.

Award Frequency:

Each academic year based on review of student research proposals by the BEST Award Selection Committee. In any year that the Selection Committee decides to make no award the funding made available for that year's award will remain in the BEST Award account, and will be used at the discretion of the BEST Award Committee in support of student research in areas defined under the Criteria of the charter and for students satisfying the Eligibility criteria of the charter.

Award Level: 

$4,000

Administration:

Administration of the award is overseen by the BEST Award Committee, comprised of (one) representative of BEST as Chair, and (one) representative of the professoriate of the Department of Statistical Science. The founding committee members are Dr José M. Quintana of BEST, Arts & Sciences Professor of Statistics & and Decision Sciences Mike West of Duke University, and Diana Wyant of the BEST Foundation, also Secretary to the BEST Award Committee. Personnel changes will be decided by the BEST Foundation in consultation with the Department of Statistical Science.

Award Committee:

The BEST Award Committee appoints a 3-member BEST Award Selection Committee (hereafter the Selection Committee) to publicize the award, promote student interest and run the review and selection process. At least 2 of the committee members are professors in the department, one of whom will be designated by the BEST Award Committee as chair; the third member may be another professor from the Department of Statistical Science or from another Duke department, or an alum of the Department of Statistical Science. Rotation and term of membership is decided by the BEST Award Committee. See below for the names of members of current and past Selection Committees.

Review and Selection of Awardees:

The Selection Committee is responsible for updating Award information on the departmental web site, electronic advertising to Duke undergraduate and graduate students, timetable for submission for the annual award, review and selection of awardee(s), any associated ceremony or events. The Selection Committee will announce the competition each academic year and include in that announcement the deadline for submission.

Eligibility:

Duke Undergraduates registered for the Major or Minor in Statistical Science, Duke graduate students registered for the Master's in Statistical Science or the Master's in Statistical and Economic Modeling, and Duke Statistical Science PhD students. Projects of single students or students working as a group are eligible.

Criteria: 

Research proposals will be reviewed for their potential to contribute to the application of Bayesian statistical ideas, including models and methods of time series analysis and forecasting, decision analysis and related topics, and other topics of relevance to financial, economic and business applications. Research proposals will be judged based on this, with specific concern for: proposed innovation in methodology, computational developments and implementations, and contact with the literature; the prospects for the project to lead to advances in applications of Bayesian methods in areas; and the prospects for quality publications in relevant literatures. Each proposal must include a Duke Statistical Science professor or professors—with documented interest and expertise in the research area—as mentor or mentors

Award Announcement:

The award winner(s) will be announced and presented at Duke University by the BEST Award and Selection committees. This will occur during the annual graduation ceremony events hosted by the Department of Statistical Science each May.

Changes to the Charter:

This Charter defines the terms and conditions of the BEST Award and agreement between the BEST Foundation and Duke University on the administration and process. All or any aspect of this Charter may be modified at any time by the BEST Award Committee.

Additional Provisions:

The BEST Foundation will be provided with an annual accounting of the use of the award funds and their distribution for the intended charitable purpose, and maintains the right to reclaim funds if the Foundation determines the funds are misused. Termination of the agreement and funding of the Award may be made at any time by either the BEST Foundation or Duke University.

Dates of Agreement and Changes:

The original charter was agreed between the BEST Foundation and Duke University on April 20th 2007. Updates related to timing of the Award announcements and presentations were made in March 2008, and again in September 2010. The current charter was revised and established in February 2014; the 2014 changes modified the format of the award to a partial summer research grant.

Appendix: Current and Past Selection Committees:

2007-2013:
  • Carlos Carvalho, Associate Professor of Statistics, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin (alumni member)
  • Robert L Winkler, The Duke University James B Duke Professor of Business Administration and of Statistical Science
  • Mike West, The Duke University Arts & Sciences Professor of Statistics & Decision Sciences (selection committee chair)
2014-present:
  • Carlos Carvalho, Associate Professor of Statistics, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin (alumni member)
  • Li Ma, Duke University Assistant Professor of Statistical Science
  • Mike West, The Duke University Arts & Sciences Professor of Statistics & Decision Sciences (selection committee chair)