One of the largest longitudinal school's research studies in the world was the big winner in this year's 'Research Excellence Awards', held in London on Tuesday 11 October at an event organised by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Professor Sinéad Langan from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine took home both the 'Research Excellence' and 'People's Choice' awards for her team's work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within primary and secondary schools.

Collecting the award, Professor Langan said:

"I am truly honoured to accept both awards on behalf of all my colleagues involved in the COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) and all participants who made this study possible. These awards are a testament to a major interdisciplinary collaborative effort."

The ONS Research Excellence Awards, now in their 5th year, celebrate the most innovative projects and promote understanding of the public good achieved from statistical research.

This year's other winners include:

  • Dr Becky Arnold, from The University of Keele, who took home the 'Cross Government Analysis' award for her team's work in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable settings, in a project undertaken at the UK Health Security Agency;

  • Professor Andromachi Tseloni, of Nottingham Trent University, and Tom Jackson, of the Ministry of Justice, who collected the 'Use of Linked Administrative Data' award for their team's work showing how criminal cases progress through the justice system, and shining a light on the nature of repeat court users; and

  • Dr Nicolas Libuy, of University College London, who took the 'Early Career Research' award for his team's population-based data linkage study of health and educational records of children born in England.

Presenting the awards, which brought together more than 150 people from across the UK's research community, National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond, said:

"It was an honour to celebrate the transformative work of researchers across a range of areas, from health and wellbeing to criminal justice.

"Each of our winners gave stellar examples of how the innovative use of secure data can answer research questions that we hadn't yet considered, and they are using those insights to generate real-world impact. Their ground-breaking analyses will help to guide policy and make good on our promise to produce statistics and analysis for the public good."