Early Indications Are, You’re Excellent

Successful Start for the SOA’s Actuarial Science Early Career Award Liang Hong

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Actuarial Science Early Career Award is intended to encourage researchers to contribute to the field of actuarial science and to set examples of excellent actuarial research in higher education. It recognizes individuals for their exceptional contributions to actuarial science at the early stages of their academic careers.

2022 marked the second year of the Early Career Award. As the inaugural award liaison, I feel exhilarated (and relieved) that this award took off so well and received global attention. I want to underscore that this award is open to excellent researchers worldwide and that a candidate’s residency or citizenship has no bearing on eligibility. The application process for the 2023 award opened Feb. 15 and continues through May 31. Details on how to apply can be found here.

Dr. Tim Boonen, 2022 winner

Dr. Tim Boonen, a tenured associate professor at the University of Amsterdam, won in 2022. Boonen has been published in leading actuarial journals such as ASTIN Bulletin, Insurance Mathematics and Economics (IME) and Scandinavian Actuarial Journal, as well as in academic journals in related fields such as mathematical economics and operations research. He is also a coeditor of the European Actuarial Journal. Congratulations to Boonen again on being the second recipient of this award! A full-length article from an interview with Boonen can be found here.

I had the privilege of overseeing the selection process over the past two years. There have been many excellent applicants. Though most did not win (there is only one winner each year), many of them are among the finest researchers in our actuarial community. I hope they keep up their excellent work and that some of them can win in the future.

Fairness Is Built-In

I want to emphasize that efforts have been in place since the award’s inception to ensure equity and fairness in the selection process so that the value of this award will last. In particular, all applications for this award are evaluated by an independent selection committee composed of leading academic and industry experts in actuarial science. Each member of the selection committee has a limited term. The evaluation of all applications by this independent committee is free from any interference from the sponsors or the Education and Research (E&R) Section Council. The selection committee recommends the winner to the E&R Section Council for approval. The E&R Section Council reviews the result to ensure the selection committee follows procedure. The award liaison connects the selection committee with the E&R Section Council and oversees the integrity of the whole process.

As I’m stepping down as the liaison for this award, I am pleased to note that Peng Shi, FSA, ACAS, Ph.D., an endowed and tenured faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will take over the role. Shi is a highly regarded expert in actuarial science and is on the editorial board of mainstream actuarial journals such as ASTIN Bulletin, IME, and Variance (journal of the Casualty Actuarial Society). I am confident that this vital liaison role will be in good hands.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the SOA leaders, staff, and members who have influenced and sharpened this award. In particular, I would like to thank E&R members and friends for their continued support, the selection committee for their hard work and dedication, and SOA staff members Stuart Klugman, Jane Lesch and Carla Eisenberg for their tireless help.

Liang (Jason) Hong, FSA, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Texas-Dallas. He was the first liaison for the SOA Actuarial Science Early Career Award and is the outgoing chair of the SOA’s E&R Section Council.

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.

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