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The Li Wenliang prize series for forecasting the COVID-19 outbreak

Metaculus is hosting the Li Wenliang prize series for contributions to the forecasting of the COVID-19 outbreak. The series is named after the Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital who was one of the first to warn about COVID-19 in the early days of its outbreak. The prize series combines a forecasting contest, awards for question writing and awards for other contributions, primarily those made through commenting.

Forecaster awards

All questions in the forecasting tournament may be found here.

A forecasting tournament will run from February 17th till the 17th of June. These prizes will be awarded to the users with the highest number of points on the questions related to the Novel Coronavirus on May 17th 12PM, GMT. Once some questions resolve, you'll be able to see the contest leaderboard here.

  • $150 for first prize

  • $120 for second prize

  • $80 for third prize

Analyst awards

Eligible contributions include standout public predictions, models, factorisations, comments that help improve questions, datasets, and links to relevant sources (see the link above for further details and examples). Our evaluation criteria will be the same as those used in previous prize series, see here. Comments made from February 17th till March 2nd 12PM GMT will be considered toward overall contributions.

  • $150 for first prize

  • $100 for second prize

  • $50 for third prize

Question-developer awards

Prizes will be awarded to users who develop the most valuable COVID-19-related questions. Roughly, valuable questions are those that elicit predictions and discussions that are useful for our understanding of the extent, reach, and severity of the COVID-19 outbreak. These questions should provide appropriate background information, be well-researched, and be likely to resolve unambiguously. One might also provide clearly-articulated reasons for why the question should be considered important.

Questions posted from February 17th till March 2nd 12PM GMT will be considered toward overall contributions.

  • $150 for first prize

  • $100 for second prize

  • $50 for third prize

Prize allocation procedure

Analyst and Researcher prizes will be allocated on the basis of polling community moderators who offer to participate in the judging process. Votes by community moderators will be aggregated using a Borda count. That is, sometime after March 2nd, each judge will rank the list of candidates in their order of preference. Points are then given to each candidate in reverse proportion to their ranking, so that higher-ranked candidates receive more points. The candidate with the most points wins the first prize, the candidate with the second most points wins the second prize, and so on.

The judges will be @DanielFilan, @Sylvain, @PabloStafforini and @Tamay.

Prize amounts will be paid out in in Amazon gift cards.

If you'd like to contribute funding to increasing the size of the prize pool please contact

Terms and conditions

  • The Contest is open to everybody except Contest judges
  • Sponsors reserve the right to cancel or modify this Contest in the event that an insufficient number of entries are received that meet the minimum judging criteria.
  • This Contest shall be construed in accordance with U.S. law. All Federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Winners are required to pay all applicable taxes on the prize and Metaculus assumes no liability for such taxes.
  • Void where prohibited by law. Metaculus reserves the right to refuse to award any Prize if doing so violates any applicable laws.
  • All decisions of the judges are final and the selection of Winners is at the sole and absolute discretion of Metaculus.