Winners of the Moran Medal

The Moran Medal is awarded by the Australian Academy of Science to an outstanding researcher under 40 years in one or more of the fields of applied probability, biometrics, mathematical genetics, psychometrics and statistics.. It is now awarded every second year but originally there were longer gaps between the awards. The award is named for the Australian statistician Patrick Alfred Pierce Moran (1917-1988) who made important contributions to probability theory and its application to population and evolutionary genetics.

Moran studied at the University of Sydney graduating with first class honours in mathematics in 1937, having studied a wide range of sciences. He then when to England studying at the University of Cambridge but his studies were interrupted by World War II when he worked on rocket development. After the war he undertook research at Cambridge with Frank Smithies before working at the Institute of Statistics at Oxford University. He was appointed as a professor in the School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1951.

Winners of the Moran Medal.


Alan H Welsh, Australian National University, for work in Statistics.


Philip K Pollett, University of Queensland, for work in Applied probability.


Matthew P Wand, University of Wollongong, for work in Statistics.


Aihua Xia, University of Melbourne, for work in Applied probability.


Nigel G Bean, University of Adelaide, for work in Applied probability.


Mark W Blows, University of Queensland, for work in Mathematical genetics.


Robin J Hyndman, Monash University, for work in several areas of Statistics.

Citation: Rob Hyndman has made major contributions to a wide range of fields, especially to forecasting, time-series, graphical methods and computational statistics. His research in forecasting challenged the appropriateness of the most fundamental of Bayesian forecasting models for exponential-family time series and on state-space models for exponential smoothing. Rob has recently proposed a new methodology for forecasting age-specific mortality curves and all official Australian cancer forecasts now use this method. His research on graphical methods has produced an ingenious method for visualising conditional probability densities, and a remarkably useful tool for data analysis - the 'highest density region' box plot.


Melanie Bahlo, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, for work in Statistics.

Citation: Melanie Bahlo is an applied statistician working in genetics and bioinformatics. She is highly regarded for her work in theoretical population genetics, in genetic epidemiology, and in gene mapping. She began her career with some very strong work in theoretical population genetics. Subsequently she moved into epidemiological applications and has grown into an outstanding statistical geneticist and biometrician.


Scott Sisson, University of New South Wales, for work in Statistics.

Citation: Scott Sisson has made highly significant contributions to computational statistics and extreme value modelling. His research in approximate Bayesian computation has enabled researchers at the leading-edge of many scientific disciplines to examine realistic models and hypotheses, rather than be forced to use simpler, less credible alternatives. His research on extreme value modelling has enabled improved inferential procedures and highlighted the dangers of poor statistical modelling. In applying these techniques to challenging problems in other disciplines, Scott has had a very positive impact on furthering scientific research in a wide range of applications.

Mark Tanaka, University of New South Wales, for work in Statistics.

Citation: Mark Tanaka's research concerns the evolution and population biology of microorganisms. He uses mathematical and statistical methods to study the dynamics of bacteria and viruses. A particular focus of his research is the transmission patterns of infectious diseases. He has investigated key parameters in the epidemiology of tuberculosis in published research which has led to conclusions with public health policy implications that were hitherto unavailable. Tanaka's research is highly original and excellent, judged by the highest international standards.


Aurore Delaigle, University of Melbourne, for work in Statistics.

Citation: Dr Delaigle's has made influential contributions to contemporary statistical problems, including deconvolution, regression with measurement errors, functional data analysis, analysis of high dimensional data, group testing, and a wide variety of contributions to function estimation. She is remarkably adept at transforming complex and highly abstract methods into easy to understand concepts, and at developing fully applicable techniques that work in a wide variety of settings. An advantage of her approach to developing methodology is that her techniques apply at once to many practical problems, in both the biological and physical sciences.


Yee Hwa Yang, University of Sydney, for work in Statistical methodology

Citation: Associate Professor Yang is an applied statistician who has made significant contributions to the development of statistical methodology for analyzing molecular data arising in contemporary biomedical research. Her work on removing extraneous variability for microarray data has been incorporated in major software packages used worldwide to identify gene expression patterns. She has also developed novel methods for integrating molecular and clinical data and has already made an impact on Melanoma research by identifying potential genes that help with predicting survival outcome.


Joshua Ross, University of Adelaide, for work in Applied Probability and Statistics.

Citation: Associate Professor Ross has made important and influential contributions to Applied Probability and Statistics, and through application to Conservation Biology and Public Health. His research has focused predominately on addressing problems arising in infectious disease epidemiology and conservation biology, though the methodological developments that he has provided to solve such problems are more widely applicable. These application topics are of great importance, and his contributions to these fields are significant.