RSS Statistical Analytics Challenge 2015



The RSS Statistical Analytics Challenge 2015 – to be unveiled on Wednesday 6 May 2015 – will set out an open-ended research question related to a large and complex data set. The goal is for each team to collaboratively explore and analyse the data, and submit a short report summarising their key findings and recommendations.


  1. Participating teams may have a maximum of four members, and the names of all members must be listed at registration. Individuals may not enter in more than one team.
  2. All teams are strongly encouraged to include early-career statisticians among their members.
  3. Each team must designate one member as “team captain”, and this individual must be a member of the RSS. (Note: The RSS offers “e-Student” membership free of charge to all those in full-time education – please see for details.) All correspondence relating to the Challenge will be conducted with the team captain.
  4. The team registration form will be made available online via the Challenge website ( on or before Tuesday 28 April 2015. Registrations will be accepted from the time this form appears online.
  5. Registration must be completed by Wednesday 20 May 2015 for a team to be eligible for feedback on their draft report. As set out in the TIMELINE, to receive this feedback, teams need to hand in their draft report by 6pm BST (5pm GMT) on Wednesday 27 May 2015. Further details on the feedback process will be made available to registered teams via email.
  6. Members of the Challenge organising committee and members of the YSS and Research Section who have assisted in creation of the Challenge are not eligible for entry. All other YSS and Research Section members are eligible for entry.


  1. While teams are encouraged to make use of existing tools and research, all sources must be referenced, and all unreferenced work must be the original creation of the team.
  2. Teams may use their preferred statistical packages, though the use of R is recommended. Basic guidance on loading the data into R will be made available; teams should find it straightforward to adapt this guidance to other languages and packages.
  3. Final reports should be in the form of a short journal article, no longer than five single-column pages written in single-spaced Times New Roman, font size 12. All tables and figures should be included in this page count. Supplementary documents are not permitted.
  4. Submission details will be made available on the Challenge website (
  5. Final reports can be submitted any time before the deadline, which will be 6pm BST (5pm GMT) on Friday 19 June 2015. Late submissions will not be accepted.
  6. Entries will be assessed by an Assessment Panel comprised of members of the Research Section. Potential conflicts of interest will be taken into consideration.
  7. Evidence of plagiarism or the presence of any material found not to be the original work of the team will lead to disqualification.
  8. All analysis and findings presented in any work submitted during the Challenge remains the intellectual property of the authors.


  1. Three winning entries will be selected: there will be one ‘Overall Winner’ and up to two ‘Highly Commended’ awards.
  2. The winning entries will be announced on Monday 27 July 2015.
  3. The award for winning entries includes an invitation for the team to present their findings at the “RSS Statistical Analytics Challenge Winners” session at the RSS 2015 conference in Exeter, currently scheduled for Thursday 10 September 2015. Day registration fees will be waived as part of the award.
  4. In addition, winning entries will be considered for publication in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series C.
  5. All teams submitting a completed report will receive feedback on their work from the Assessment Panel.

Rule changes and disputes

  1. The organisers reserve the right to modify these rules at any time, and all entrants will be informed if such a situation arises. In all matters related to the Challenge, including any form of dispute, the organisers’ decision shall be final.



The RSS Challenge is sponsored by Select Statistics.