George W. Snedecor Award

Most Recent Winner     About the Award     Current Committee    Operating Procedures     Nominations     Past Recipients

Most Recent Winner

David Dunson

 2023 George W. Snedecor Award

Michael Kosorok, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

For foundational, creative, and original contributions to mathematical statistics; for methodological developments in empirical processes and machine learning; for advancement of precision health; and for mentoring of students, postdocs, and junior faculty.

Biography of Dr. Kosorok

Kosorok is the consummate biostatistics methodologist.  His work is creative, rigorous, and motivated by urgent and impactful problems in biomedicine.  He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts appearing in top-tier journals and conference proceedings. In 2008 he published his monograph “Introduction to Empirical Processes and Semiparametric Inference,” which quickly became the canonical introduction to the area.   Shortly thereafter, Kosorok focused his research efforts on artificial intelligence and precision medicine.  He was among the first to provide rigorous theoretical results for machine learning methods for estimation of optimal treatment regimes including some of the earliest applications of Q-learning and direct search estimation.  His paper on outcome weighted learning (which has been cited nearly 750 times) began long and fruitful lines of research on direct-search estimation and revealed important connections between optimal treatment regimes and classification. 

In addition to his prolific publication record, Kosorok has shaped the field through his service and mentoring.  He served as the head of the Biostatistics Department at UNC from 2006-2020, chair of the COPSS Presidents’ Awards committee, and is currently President-elect of the IMS.  He has mentored more than 50 PhD students, many of whom now hold prominent positions at academic institutions or in industry. 

In the publication cited in the award (Nguyen et al, 2020), Kosorok along with his co-authors, developed a novel direct-search estimator of the optimal regime under a 2x2 crossover design.   Such crossover designs are common in pilot testing, rare diseases, and other settings in which recruiting a large pool of participants is difficult.  Nevertheless, prior to this publication, there were no direct search estimators for estimating an optimal treatment regime under such a design.  The proposed method accounts for carryover effects, uses a convex relaxation for computational efficiency, and is Fisher consistent. 

This publication is an illustration of Kosorok’s research modus operandi.  He identifies an important practical problem, develops a novel methodological approach, and then provides a rigorous and complete description of the method’s operating characteristics.

About the Award

This award, established in 1976, honors an individual who was instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry. The award is for a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the date of the award. The award, given biennially (odd years) since 1991, consists of a plaque and a cash honorarium of $2000 and is presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings. See also the Wikipedia page.

2024-2025 Award Committee (Awarded in odd-numbered years only):

Haoda Fu
 Oct. 2022-Sept. 2026
Sherri Rose
 Oct. 2024-Sept. 2028
Sebastien Haneuse
 Oct. 2024-Sept. 2028
Rui Song
 Oct. 2022-Sept. 2026
Johanna Neslehova
 Oct. 2024-Sept. 2028
Bin Nan
 Oct. 2022-Sept. 2026
Aurore Delaigle
 2017 Awardee
 Oct. 2024-Sept. 2026

Past Recipients

 Award Year
Award Recipient(s)
Recognized Publication / Award Citation
A. P. Dawid.
“Properties of diagnostic data distribution''. Biometrics, 32, 1976, 647-658.
Bruce W. Turnbull and Toby J. Mitchell
“Exploratory analysis of disease prevalence data from survival/sacrifice experiments”. Biometrics, 1978, 34, 555-570.
Ethel S. Gilbert
“The assessment of risks from occupational exposure to ionizing radiation''. Energy and Health, Proceedings of a Conference, 1979, 209-225.
Barry H. Margolin, Norman Kaplan, and Errol Zeiger
“Statistical analysis of the Ames /microsome test,'' Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 78, 1981, 3779-3783.
Byron J. T. Morgan
“Modeling polyspermy''. Biometrics, 38, 1982, 885-898.
C. Brownie and D. S. Robson
“Estimation of time--specific survival rates from tag--resighting samples: a generalization of the Jolly--Seber model''. Biometrics, 39, 1983, 437-203
R. A. Maller, E. S. DeBoer, L. M. Joll, D. A. Anderson, and J. P. Hinde
“Determination of the maximum foregut volume of western rock lobsters (Panulirus ) from field data''. Biometrics, 39, 1983, 543-551.
Stuart H. Hurlbert
“Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments''. Ecological Monographs, 54 (2), 1984, 187-211
John A. Anderson
“Regression and ordered categorical variables''. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 46, 1984, 1-30.
Mitchell H. Gail and Richard Simon
“Testing for qualitative interactions between treatment effects and patients  subsets''. Biometrics, 41, 1985, 361-372.
Kung-Yee Liang and Scott L. Zeger
“Longitudinal data analysis using generalized linear models''. Biometrika, 73, 1986, 13-22; and “Longitudinal data analysis for discrete and continuous outcomes''. Biometrics, 42, 1986, 121-130.
George E. Bonney
“Regressive logistic models for familial disease and other binary traits''. Biometrics, 42, 1986, 611-625; and
“Logistic regression for dependent binary observations''. Biometrics, 43, 1987, 951-973.
Karim F. Hirji, Cyrus R. Mehta, and Nitin R. Patel
“Exact inference for matched studies''. Biometrics, 44, 1988, 803-814.
Barry I. Graubard, Thomas R. Fears, and Mitchell H. Gail
“Effects of cluster sampling on epidemiologic analysis in population-based case-control studies''. Biometrics, 1989, 20, 1053-1071.
Kenneth H. Pollack, James D. Nichols, Cavel Brownie, and J. E. Hines
“Statistical inference for capture-recapture experiments''. Wildlife Monographs, 107, 1990, The Wildlife Society.
Kenneth L. Lange and Michael L. Boehnke
“Bayesian methods and optimal experimental design for gene mapping by radiation hybrid''. Annals of Human Genetics, 56, 1993, 119-144.
Norman E. Breslow and David Clayton
“Approximate inference in generalized linear models". Journal of the American Statistical Association, 88, 1994, 9-25.
Michael A. Newton
“Bootstrapping phylogenies: Large deviations and dispersion effects''. Biometrika, 83 (2), 1996, 315-328
Kathryn Roeder, Raymond J. Carroll and B. G. Lindsay
“A Semiparametric Mixture Approach to Case-Control Studies with Errors in Covariables''. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 91, 1996, 722-732.
Daniel Scharfstein, Anastasios "Butch" Tsiatis and Jamie Robins.
"Semiparametric Efficiency and Its Implications on the Design and Analysis of Group-Sequential Studies”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 92, 1997, 1342-1350.
Patrick J. Heagerty
“Marginally specified logistic-normal models for longitudinal binary data”. Biometrics, 55, 1999, 688-698.
Paul R. Rosenbaum
"Effects Attributable to Treatment: Inference in Experiments and Observational Studies with a Discrete Pivot". Biometrika, 88, 2001, 219-231; and "Attributing Effects to Treatment in Matched Observational Studies". Journal of the American Statistical Association, 97, 2002, 183-192.

Nicholas P. Jewell and Mark J. van der Laan
of California, Berkeley School of Public Health

“Case-control Current Status Data”. Biometrika, 91, 2004, 529-541.
For the noteworthy publication "Case-control Current Status Data," Biometrika (2004); 91(3):529-541, which focused on identifiability and nonparametric maximum likelihood estimation of survival distributions based on case-control samples of current status data. This paper represents one contribution among many from Nicholas Jewell and Mark van der Laan, and the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies acknowledges the overall impact of their research in the development of statistical theory in biometry.
Donald Rubin
Harvard University
“The design versus the analysis of observational studies for causal effects: parallels with the design of randomized trials”, Statistics in Medicine, 26, 2007, 20-36.  
For a substantial body of scholarly work that advances the use of statistics in the biological sciences in areas including, but not limited to, the EM algorithm, missing data, imputation, and causality; for a legacy of students who continue to enrich our profession; for unflagging efforts to build our profession as an administrator, editor, and author; and for keeping us focused on the governing, foundational principles that guide the development of our discipline.
Marie Davidian
North Carolina State University
“Improving efficiency of inferences in randomized clinical trials using auxiliary covariates.” Biometrics, 64,2008, 707-715 (Zhang, M., Tsiatis, A.A., and Davidian, M.).
For fundamental contributions to the theory and methodology of longitudinal data, especially nonlinear mixed effects models; for significant contributions to the analysis of clinical trials and observational studies, and for leadership as president of ENAR, as editor, and as a member of the International Biometric Society council.
Nilanjan Chatterjee
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, USA
“Shrinkage Estimators for Robust and Efficient Inference in Haplotype-Based Case-Control Studies.” Chen YH, Chatterjee N, Carroll RJ. J Am Stat Assoc. 2009; 104: 220-233.
For groundbreaking work in statistical genetics, especially in developing powerful methods for gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in case-control, genome-wide association studies; for fundamental work in statistical methods used in epidemiological research, and for mentorship and leadership at the National Cancer Institute.
Jack D. Kalbfleisch
University of Michigan
“Pointwise nonparametric maximum likelihood estimator of stochastically ordered survivor functions” Park  Y, Taylor JMG, and Kalbfleisch JD, Biometrika, 99, 327-343, 2012.
For foundational contributions to the field of biometry, especially for innovative analysis methods for failure time data, event history analysis,  mixture models and likelihood theory; for influential collaborative research, especially in the area of solid organ transplantation; and for exceptional mentoring of junior researchers, exemplary senior leadership of statistical groups, and steadfast service to the profession.
Danyu Lin
University of North Carolina
“Efficient estimation of semiparametric transformation models for two-phase cohort studies”, Donglin Zeng and D.Y. Lin. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 2014: 109, 371-383.
For foundational contribution to the field of biometrics especially for semiparametric regression models with censored data. For influential work in genome-wide association studies and next-generation sequencing studies. For steadfast service to the profession.
Aurore Delaigle
University of Melbourne
“Nonparametric methods for group testing data, taking dilution into account”, A. Delaigle and P. Hall. Biometrika, 2015: 102, 871-887.
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.
Sudipto Banerjee
University of California Los Angeles
“Hierarchical nearest-neighbor Gaussian process models for large geostatistical datasets”, Datta, A., Finley, A.O. and Gelfand, A.E. Journal of American Statistical Association.
For foundational contribution to the field of biometrics, especially for groundbreaking and fundamental work on Bayesian hierarchical modeling and the analysis of large spatial datas ets; for significant contributions to the mapping of disease incidence in space and time, and the analysis of environmental exposures.
David Dunson
Duke University
“Robust Bayesian inference via coarsening”, Miller, J.W. and Dunson, D.B. Journal of American Statistical Association, 2019: 114, 1113-1125. 
For seminal and consequential advancements in the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Bayesian modeling and inference; for significant contributions in high-dimensional statistical inference, nonparametric Bayesian modeling, and their wide-ranging applications in biomedical and natural science.

Purpose and History

The George W. Snedecor Award honors an individual who was instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry. Dr. Snedecor was a pioneer in improving the quality of scientific methods concerning the use of statistical methodology. He spent his career at Iowa State University (ISU), becoming the first director of the Statistical Laboratory in 1933. He worked in experimental design, sampling, and was instrumental in the use of statistical methods. His book, Statistical Methods, went to seven editions and was translated into nine languages. The award is for a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the date of the award. The Snedecor Award was established in 1976 and is awarded bi-annually.

Award Committee

The Award Committee selecting the recipient will consist of six members, one member appointed by each of the five COPSS member societies and one member appointed by the Chair of COPSS. The appointment terms for these six members are for two cycles of the award, normally four years. The award winner from 6 years previous to the current award is invited by the COPSS Chair to serve as the seventh committee member. His/her term is for two years. The Chair of the Award Committee will be selected by the Chair of COPSS from among the members of the current Award Committee.

Frequency of Award

The award shall be given every other year (biennially) if, in the opinion of the Award Committee, an eligible and worthy nominee is found. The Award Committee shall have the option of not giving an award for any given year. The Award Committee may not split the award, but if the winning paper is a paper, then the award acknowledges all the authors of that paper.

Nominations and Eligibility

The award is open to all regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or citizenship. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination. Nomination submissions will be invited by October and close on December 15th of the previous year in which the award is to be made. Nominations may be made by members of any of the COPSS affiliated organizations. Prior nomination does not exclude a nominee from consideration in subsequent years. No member of the Award Committee, of COPSS, or societal member of COPSS shall be eligible to receive the award during his or her term of service

Eligible candidates are expected to adhere to the highest standards of statistical practice, professional conduct, and personal conduct; see the Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice published by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the American Statistical Association: for more information.

Selection Criteria

The award shall honor an individual

  • who has been instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry
  • who has a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the date of the award

The Award Committee shall identify a set of relevant journals from which to read papers.


The Award Committee is responsible for the  of selection criteria and can recommend any modifications to COPSS.

Form and Presentation of Award

The award consists of a plaque, a citation, and a cash honorarium. It is presented at the COPSS Awards and Fisher Lecture session at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM). The amount of the award shall be such that the principal of the fund is left intact. Reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the JSM to receive the award provided to the if other funds are unavailable. The award will be presented by the Chair of the Award Committee or their designee. The recipient will be allowed time to acknowledge receipt of the award at the JSM.

Important Dates

  • Members of the Award Committee will be appointed by September 30th of the previous year. Chair of COPSS will work with COPSS members to complete all committee appointments. Chair of COPSS will select the Award Committee chair. If any COPSS member society is unable to appoint their member by October 1st of the previous year, the Award Committee will proceed and complete its work without representation of that society.
  • Award recipient will be selected and notified by March 1st of the award year.
  • Chair of the Award Committee will work with the Secretary/Treasurer of COPSS to provide all the necessary information to the ASA/JSM Awards Coordinator by March 31st of the award year.

Committee Chair Responsibilities

  • Communicate the award criteria and selection process to Committee members.
  • Contact and encourage unsuccessful nominations from the previous award period to be updated and renominated. (COPSS Secretary should have previous unsuccessful nominations).
  • Organize and chair Committee discussion of nominees and selection of award recipient.
  • Inform the Award recipient of their selection.
  • Write the citation, and convey the recipient’s name, the citation text, and the ASA/JSM Award Recipient Information form to the COPSS Secretary/Treasurer by March 31st for preparing the plaque.
  • Introduce award and recipient at COPSS Awards Presentation at the JSM
  • Send a complete list of unsuccessful nominations to COPSS Secretary for future renomination.
  • Communicate any recommendations for changes to any part of this document to the COPSS Chair and Secretary/Treasurer.

Committee Member Responsibilities

  • Work with the chair to adhere to the selection .
  • Participate fairly and openly in the selection deliberations.
  • Request removal from the committee if other time constraints do not allow for adequate attention to the nominations and award process.

COPSS Secretary/Treasurer Responsibilities

  • Review and manage the expenditure of the Award Endowment Fund
  • Assist Committee Chair in correspondence, as needed.
  • Provide award information to ASA Meetings department ASA/JSM award coordinator by March 31st.
  • Prepare plaques and checks for presentation at the JSM.
  • Coordinate with Committee Chair and ASA staff on Awards presentation

COPSS Chair Responsibilities

  • Ensure that COPSS member societies name Award Committee members by August 1st of the previous year.
  • Select Award Committee Chair by September 31st of the previous year.
  • Help to orient committee members and the Award Committee Chair to their responsibilities.
  • Review potential conflicts of interest and other issues for the Committee Chair, if they arise.
  • Thank committee members and the Award Committee Chair to their responsibilities and solicit suggested improvements to the award process after the award cycle is completed.