BEST Award

Awarded by the Department of Statistical Science, the BEST Award promotes and recognizes student research in Bayesian statistics and decision analysis. The BEST Award reflects the role and impact of Bayesian methodology and its applications, and the importance of active research experiences in undergraduate and Master’s as well as PhD education. Each year, the Department of Statistical Science makes three awards, each with a monetary prize.

  • Undergraduate BEST Award: Each Duke Statistical Science senior undergraduate (major or minor) defending a senior thesis in Statistical Science may be eligible for the Undergraduate BEST Award. The selection of the awardee is made by the Statistical Science faculty BEST Award Committee on the basis of the submitted thesis of senior thesis students in the same year.
  • Master’s BEST Award: Each 2nd year Duke Master’s of Statistical Science (MSS) student defending their MSS thesis may be eligible for the Master’s BEST Award. The selection of the awardee is made by the Statistical Science faculty BEST Award Committee on the basis of the submitted thesis of MSS thesis students in the same year.
  • PhD BEST Award: Each Duke PhD student in Statistical Science student making their first research presentation in the department’s Readings in Statistical Science (STA701s) series may be eligible for the PhD BEST Award. The selection of the awardee is made by the Statistical Science faculty BEST Award Committee on the basis of submitted presentation reports/slides of PhD students making their first such presentation in the same year.

Award Eligibility, Criteria, Submission, and Process
The Award is made annually. Winners are decided based on the BEST Award Committee's review of all eligible submissions in each of the undergraduate, MSS and PhD categories separately. In each case, the committee may seek additional input from other Statistical Science faculty. The committee decisions are based wholly on research contributions with regard to the BEST Award goals to promote and recognize student research in Bayesian statistics and decision analysis. Students working on topics not directly in these areas are ineligible. The committee may decide not to make one or more of the awards in any one year, although this is very rare.

Each academic year, the BEST Award Committee will circulate early announcements of the BEST Award competition and, in early April, reminders to all students of the upcoming April 15th deadline for submissions from eligible students.

  • Each eligible student will submit a single pdf document for review by the BEST Award Committee. No other documents or supporting material of any kind is needed or will be considered.
  • For eligible undergraduate and MSS students, this will be a single pdf of the final thesis (in thesis format).
  • For eligible PhD students, this will be a single pdf of the STA701s slides presented.
  • The pdf must include an initial cover page with a brief statement from the student commenting on how the research explicitly involves and contributes to Bayesian statistics and decision analysis, the explicit focus and intent of the BEST Award.
  • Submissions not conforming to these explicit details will be deemed ineligible.

Details of how/where to submit will be provided in the BEST Award announcement each year. Each student is wholly responsible for submission and will be considered in the BEST Award competition (if otherwise eligible) if the required pdf document is received by the BEST Award Committee on or before the deadline of April 15th of the year of eligibility.

The award winners are announced and presented at Duke University  during the annual graduation ceremony events hosted by the Department of Statistical Science each May.  Information about the awardees is posted to department news and maintained in the permanent, public BEST Award record of Past Recipients.

History
The BEST Award was established in 2007 and funded through generous donations by the BEST Foundation, 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 statistics and decision analysis.   In 2019,  the nature of the Award was changed and expanded to provide three annual awards as currently configured. The BEST Award is administered by the Duke Department of Statistical Science.  

Updated: May 1st 2020

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