The Weldon Memorial Prize is awarded annually by Oxford University for “noteworthy contributions to the development of mathematical or statistical methods applied to problems in Biology”. It was first awarded in 1911 and past recipients have included Fisher, Haldane, Bartlett, Cox, May and Maynard-Smith.
This year, for the first time in its history, the award is being given not to an individual but to a group of people, the SPI-M-O group whose epidemiological modelling supported the UK’s policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Under great pressure to deliver results quickly, and under immense public scrutiny, the group both built on existing science and developed new epidemiological and statistical techniques to understand the spread of the virus and how it might be controlled. The importance of good and timely disease modelling for policymakers has never been as clear.
The Prize will be accepted on behalf of SPI-M-O by Professor Graham Medley (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and he and his colleague Professor Julia Gog (University of Cambridge) will deliver the Weldon Lecture at 4pm, November 14, in the Large Lecture Theatre at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. Attendees are invited to a drinks reception afterwards where there will be a chance to meet Graham, Julia and other SPI-M-O members.