Royal Statistical Society award for Dr Emanuele Giorgi

The inaugural workshop on trachoma, a neglected tropical disease, with Dr Giorgi (mid centre)
The inaugural workshop on trachoma, a neglected tropical disease, with Dr Giorgi (mid centre)

Dr Emanuele Giorgi from Lancaster Medical School has won the 2024 Mardia Interdisciplinary Workshop Prize from the Royal Statistical Society.

The Mardia Prize was created to fund cutting-edge interdisciplinary workshops bringing together statisticians with researchers from other scientific communities. Funding of £6,000–£8,000 is made available over two years to support these workshops.

Dr Giorgi plans to hold a series of workshops focused on the application of geostatistical methods to inform policy decisions on the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Dr Giorgi said: “I am honoured to receive the Mardia Prize and deeply appreciate the support provided by the Royal Statistical Society. Part of our scientific duty as statisticians is to advocate for the use of the most robust and efficient statistical methods to inform critical policy decisions. The workshops are an essential component of our endeavours to proactively engage with the global health scientific community and develop statistical methods that integrate scientific knowledge whilst gaining acceptance among policymakers.”

The workshops will bring together three distinct communities: spatial statisticians specialized in applications to global health, epidemiologists with expertise in NTDs and public health professionals and policymakers from low-middle income countries (LMICs). The aim of the workshop series will also include the development of a capacity building network in the global south to support the growth of local statistical expertise that will play a crucial role in informing health policies.

Dr Giorgi held an inaugural workshop on March 4-5, 2024, where Ministries of Health from various African nations, along with stakeholders from public health organizations and NGOs—including the WHO, USAID, and the Carter Center—convened in Lancaster. This event aimed to outline future directions for the use of model-based geostatistics in shaping policies to eliminate trachoma, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) and a leading cause of blindness in low- and middle-income countries. The CHICAS team, led by Dr. Giorgi, has been designated a WHO Collaborating Centre and has been at the forefront of the statistical community in the fight against NTDs.

The Mardia Prize will be awarded at the same conference of the Royal Statistical Society in Brighton this September where two other Lancaster University academics will also be honoured for their contributions to the discipline of statistics.

Peter Diggle, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, is to receive the Guy Medal in Gold while Jonathan Tawn, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is to receive a Guy medal in Silver.

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