BEST Award

The BEST Award for Student Research

Awarded by the Department of Statistical Science, the BEST Award was established by the BEST Foundation to promote and recognize student research in Bayesian statistical modeling related to time series and other methods in financial applications. The BEST Award simultaneously recognizes the importance and impact of Bayesian methodology in modern finance and investment management, and the importance of active applied research experiences in undergraduate and graduate student education. The $4,000 prize is funded on an annual basis, and awarded to a student or group of students on the basis of submitted research proposals.


Duke Undergraduates registered for the Major or Minor in Statistical Science, Duke graduate students registered for the Master's in Statistical Science, and Duke Statistical Science Ph.D. students. Projects of single students or students working as a group are eligible. A formal, written research proposal is required and must be submitted to the Selection Committee prior to the announced deadline.

Application Process

To be considered for the BEST Award to support summer research projects in the coming summer, you must submit a brief proposal with supporting materials using the application form. Submissions must be received by March 31st to be eligible for the award to be granted to fund a project this coming summer. 

Submission must include:

  • 1-2 page outline description of a proposed project with sufficient detail and connection to both existing research and applications in areas of time series, decision analysis, and other aspects of Bayesian statistics in finance, business and economics. This must include a complete description of the problem area, context and goals, and propose scholarly work developing new ideas and models in that context, with details of the literature, modeling and computational developments, and relevant financial/econometric/business aspects
  • a current CV/resume and current Duke transcript
  • email confirmation from a Statistical Science professor or professors who agree to mentor/advise the project, with documented interest and expertise in the project area, and confirming that the balance of summer support (as needed) will be committed from other sources to ensure full summer support at current departmental levels.

The BEST Award Selection Committee will review all complete submissions received by the deadline with a view to making the award, which will be effective in May following the March deadline.

In early fall semester following the summer of BEST Award funded research, the student will submit a 1 page summary of progress, with some indication of where the project is going next. Any papers or follow-on publications that arise must acknowledge the support of the BEST Foundation through the BEST Award.

For questions regarding the submission process please email Karen Herndon at

Award Presentation

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, at the start of the summer project period.

About the BEST Foundation

The BEST Foundation is a New Jersey nonprofit corporation whose primary mission is to make gifts, grants and contributions to educational, scientific and charitable institutions or organizations. The major contributor to the BEST Foundation is BEST (Bayesian Efficient Strategic Trading, LLC -, a company that develops, licenses and trades Bayesian based investment strategies. Dr J.M. Quintana, Chairman of BEST, LLC and Trustee of BEST Foundation, has a long-term interest in Bayesian forecasting and optimal decision making and its applications in the investment management field. BEST LLC also  has a long-term research association with Duke students and alumni working with faculty and collaborators on research in Bayesian modeling and statistical computation related to time series and/or financial applications. The BEST Award, established in 2007 and awarded for the first time in 2008, is administered and awarded subject to a charter agreed between the BEST Foundation and Duke University.