Zelen Award

Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science

This Year’s Winner

We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Roderick J. Little, the Richard D. Remington Distinguished University Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan, will be the recipient of the 2020 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science. Dr. Little will accept the award and deliver a lecture in Fall 2020.

The award will be presented to Dr. Little in recognition of his fundamental contributions to statistical theory, applications and real world practice; his leadership in the advancement of statistical methodology in missing data and sample surveys; his instrumental role in the growth and success of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan; his influential role in public policy issues and years of service on national advisory committees and statistical societies; his commitment to mentoring the next generation of statisticians; and the exceptional impact of his career on students and researchers at his universities, throughout the country and beyond.

Highlights of Dr. Little’s honors and achievements:

  • Statistician of the Year, Chicago Chapter, American Statistical Association
  • International Statistical Institute Pearson Prize (awarded for 1987 book “Statistical Analysis with Missing Data”) (with Don Rubin).
  • Inaugural Rod Little Distinguished Lecture, Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan, delivered by Joel Greenhouse
  • Founders’ Award, American Statistical Association
  • Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan
  • Senior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows.
  • Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Fisher Lectureship Award, Joint Statistical Meetings
  • Washington Academy of Sciences Award for work of merit and distinction in the Mathematical and Computer Sciences
  • Elected Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies 2011-2015, National Academy of Medicine 2015-present
  • American Association for Public Opinion Research Book Award, for Survey Nonresponse, Groves, R., Dillman, D., Eltinge, J. & Little, R. (2002, eds.).
  • Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information
  • President’s Invited Address, Joint Statistical Meetings
  • Wilks’ Memorial Award, American Statistical Association
  • National Associate, National Academy of the Sciences
  • Research Excellence Award, School of Public Health, University of Michigan 2002 Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan
  • Elected Member, International Statistical Institute
  • Elected Fellow, American Statistical Association

About the Award

Marvin_ZelenThis annual award, supported by colleagues, friends and family, was established to honor Dr. Marvin Zelen’s long and distinguished career as a statistician and his major role in shaping the field of biostatistics.

The award recognizes an individual in government, industry, or academia, who by virtue of his/her outstanding leadership, has greatly impacted the theory and practice of statistical science. While individual accomplishments are considered, the most distinguishing criterion is the awardee’s contribution to the creation of an environment in which statistical science and its applications have flourished. The award recipient will deliver a public lecture on statistical science at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and will be presented with a citation and an honorarium.


Nominations are welcome for next year’s award, to be given in May 2020.

Please send nominations via email

or by mail to:

Marvin Zelen Leadership Award Committee
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Department of Biostatistics
Building 2, 4th Floor
655 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Nominations should include a letter describing the contributions of the candidate, specifically highlighting the criteria for the award, and a curriculum vita. Other supporting materials would be extremely helpful to the committee.

All nominations must be received by Monday, December 2, 2019.

Previous Award Winners

2019  Colin B. Begg
Challenges of Leading a Biostatistics Department in the 21st Century

2018  Constantine Gatsonis
The Evaluation of Diagnostic Imaging in the Era of Radiomics

2017  Richard Simon
Translating Genomics to Personalized Oncology: Key Contributions of Statistical Scientists

2016  Karen Bandeen-Roche
The Flourishing Statistical Environment: How can we tell?

2015  Nan M. Laird
DeSermonian and Laird on Meta-Analysis: Three Second

2014  Xiao-Li Meng
Personalized Treatment: Sounds Heavenly, But Where On Earth Did They Find the Right Guinea Pig For Me

2013  John J. Crowley
A Brief History of Survival Analysis

2012  Nicholas P. Jewell
Counting Civilian Casualties

2011  J.Richard Landis
Methods for Investigating Agreement & Concordance: with Applications in the Biomedical Sciences

2010  Ingram Olkin
Measures of Heterogeneity. Diversity and Inequality

2009  David L. DeMets
Challenges in Clinical Trials; Some Old and Some New

2008  Norman E. Breslow
The Case-Control Study: Origins, Modern Conception and Newly Available Methods of Analysis

2007  Scott L. Zeger
The Symbiosis of Statistical Science and Biomedicine; Past and Future

2006  Mitchell H. Gail
Absolute Risk: Clinical Applications and Controversies

2005  Ross L. Prentice
Chronic disease prevention: Research strategies and needs

2004  Robert C. Elston
The analysis of case-control data to detect candidate genes

2003  Wayne A. Fuller
Analytic studies with complex survey data

2002  Robert O’Neill
A Perspective on the Development and Future of Statistics at the FDA

2001  Niels Keiding
Event Histories and Their Analysis

2000  Lincoln E. Moses
Deciding whether Large Clinical Trials and Meta-analyses Agree or Not

1999  John W. Tukey 
A Smorgasbord of Handy Techniques That Can Help in Analyzing Data

1998  Sir David Roxbee Cox 
Graphical Models in Statistics: A Review

1997  Frederick Mosteller
The Importance of Clinical Trials in Education