Worsley Award

2023 Recipient: Xun Xiao

Xun is developing a significant research profile, with contributions in applied statistical modelling and statistical reliability. His research utilizes sophisticated statistical models and computational tools to examine the properties of complex physical and biological processes, and to analyse systems that are subject to degradation and failure.

In the nomination for the Worsley award, we ask for the candidate’s best three papers to be highlighted.

The first of his nominated papers, published in Journal of Quality Technology, considers the detect of change points for the parameters of a gamma distribution. This has a nice connection with the namesake of the award, Keith Worsley, who worked on change points of exponential family distribution.

The second article, published in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, is concerned with the difficult problem of modelling kiwifruit firmness based on storage times and spectral measurements.

The third article, published in Technometrics, arguably the flagship journal for applications of statistics in industry and engineering, examines the problem of failure monitoring for items with long lifetimes, such as computer hard disks.

This award recognizes outstanding recent published research from a New Zealand statistician in the early stages of their career.

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 vanessa.cave@auckland.ac.nz.

Award Details


This award recognizes outstanding recent published research from a New Zealand statistician in the early stages of their career. The criteria for eligibility are the same as for the Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants. Essentially, this means applicants must be within seven years of confirmation of PhD, or their highest completed degree for an applicant without a PhD. Candidates will have completed the majority of this research within New Zealand, and will be financial members of the Association. Previous winners are ineligible for nomination.


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;
  • the candidate’s best three papers and a two-page CV. The papers must have been peer-reviewed, and be published or in press. In cases of joint authorship, a clear statement of the contribution of the candidate should be made.
  • names of two persons willing to act as referees;
  • and a citation, of maximum 40 words, summarizing the statistical research underlying the application.


The Worsley Early Career Research Award was established in 2013, in commemoration of Keith Worsley. Keith Worsley was one of the world’s leaders in the field of brain mapping. After completing his PhD at the University of Auckland in 1978, Keith spent most of his professional life at McGill University in Montreal. There, in collaboration with colleagues in the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute, he made many fundamental contributions to the statistical analysis of functional and structural brain imaging data. He was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a

Canadian Statistical Society Gold Medallist.




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 NZSA Worsley Award 
2023Xun Xiao
2022Matt Edwards
2021Charlotte Jones-Todd
2019Varvara Vetrova
2018Claudia Rivera-Roidriguez
2017Ben StevensonNewsletter 80
2016Yalu Wen
2015Blair Robertson
2014Tilman Davies
2013Ting Wang