Littlejohn Award

2023 Recipient: Alain Vandal

Alain is a collaborative, applied biostatistician working in the broad field of human health. His collaborations in recent years have focused on neuro-rehabilitation, rheumatology and respiratory medicine, with important contributions to public health research such as the Pacific Islands Families Respiratory Study and the Harmonised healthy relationships project.

Alain is committed to ensuring the internal validity of the projects in which he is involved. He is engaged in translating state-of-the-art statistical methods to human health research, whether experimental or observational, and whether focused on explanation or prediction.

A highlight of Alain’s approach as a biostatistician, and a hallmark of excellent statistical practice, is his engagement with the clinical aspects of the research. Those that have heard Alain speak know that he knows almost as much as the clinicians about the clinical side of the research. Alain has many intellectual interests and this curiosity carries over into his professional work and research.

He is a valued member of any clinical trial or biomedical research project.

This award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years preceding the date of the award.

Next Round

  • Next round opens: TBC (August 2024)
  • Next round closes: TBC

Nominations should be sent to the Convenor of the NZSA Awards Committee, by email at

Award Details


This award is based on original statistical research published in the last five calendar years. Candidates will normally have been residents of New Zealand for this period, and must be financial members of the Association.


Nominations can be made by individuals or groups of individuals. Nominators may be non-NZSA members. Nominations will be assessed by the NZSA Awards Committee, and should include the following:

  • name, affiliation and contact details of nominator;
  • name and affiliation of candidate;
  • statement of general area of research;
  • names of two persons willing to act as referees;
  • a list of books and/or research articles published in the last five calendar years;
  • electronic copies of the each of the five most significant publications selected from the list above;
  • a clear statement of how much of any joint work is due to the candidate;
  • and a citation, of maximum 40 words, summarizing the statistical research underlying the application.


The Littlejohn Research Award was established in 2013. It is named in commemoration of Roger Littlejohn, who  worked as a biometrician with AgResearch (formerly Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries), based at the Invermay Research Centre (Dunedin) for nearly 30 years.  A very practical and creative statistician, Roger devised innovative solutions to the many and diverse problems presented to him throughout his career.

Roger was an expert in the analysis of time series and in the application of hidden Markov models, and made major contributions in the analysis of hormone profiles and animal movement-behaviour studies.  He contributed to over 200 publications, and was a highly regarded contributor to the GenStat program.

Roger was a stalwart of the NZSA whose roles included that of President, Newsletter Editor and Webmaster.

Roger died in 2011, following a battle with secondary melanoma, having just turned 56.

Roger was posthumously awarded the 2011 Campbell Award in recognition of his significant contribution to the promotion and development of statistics in New Zealand.


If you have any queries about making a nomination/application for this award please email the Convenor of the NZSA Awards Committee.


YearRecipients of the Littlejohn Award 
2023Alain Vandal
2022Ting Wang
2021Russell Millar
2020Renate Meyer
2019Richard Arnold
2017Matt SchofieldNewsletter 80
2016Geoff Jones
2015Mark Holmes
2014Martin Hazelton
2013Richard Barker