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  • 27 Jul 2023 9:47 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    At the end of 2019 SSA awarded its inaugural Betty Allan Travel Award to two worthy recipients. Then COVID-19 struck and there were no more thoughts of travel for must of us for a long time.

    This year, winner Sharm Thuraisingam was finally able to set off on her incredible trip to Canada. This is her report:

    "After three long years (thanks Covid-19), I was finally able to use my 2020 SSA/CSIRO Betty Allan Travel Award to spend time at the Centre for Health Informatics, University of Calgary in Canada. In February this year, my family and I headed off to Calgary, arriving to a chilly -30C! I spent 4 months at the Centre for Health Informatics (CHI) learning from statisticians and data analysts about health data, data linkage practices and prediction modelling using linked electronic medical record data in Alberta. During my time at CHI, I connected with various researchers utilising health data for prediction modelling, including family doctors, nephrologists, cardiologists, epidemiologists, paediatric surgeons, biostatisticians and data analysts. My visit has resulted in 4 ongoing international collaboration projects between the University of Melbourne and University of Calgary, and the development of a 5-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) collaboration project grant aimed at harnessing the power of hospital electronic medical record data for clinical prediction model development.  

    In May I travelled with the CHI team to Montreal to attend the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) Conference where I learnt about the collection and amalgamation of health data across Canada, the effect of the pandemic on the Canadian health workforce and strategies for improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. I thoroughly enjoyed the networking opportunity and have returned home with a list of researchers to collaborate with.

    Of course it wasn’t all work and no play! My family and I made the most of our weekends in Canada, hiking and skiing in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and British Columbia. We were also lucky enough to visit Quebec City where we enjoyed indulging in French cuisine and some warmer weather. Highlights of my trip include making lifelong friends at CHI, establishing ongoing collaboration projects with the University of Calgary which will (hopefully) see me return in the near future, the picturesque scenery in Alberta (especially the Icefields Parkway), northern lights, well insulated housing, extremely friendly people, delicious poutine and ketchup chips!

    Thank you to the Statistical Society of Australia and CSIRO for such a wonderful learning and development opportunity that has enhanced my career as a biostatistician, enabled me to secure ongoing international research/analysis work and provided lifelong memories that my family and I will treasure forever! It really has been a once in a lifetime experience, living and working in another part of the world!"

    If you are interested in applying for the Betty Allan Travel Award, keep an eye out for the next call for applications in the SSA weekly newsletter, or click here.

  • 19 Jul 2023 2:47 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Universities Accord interim report has disastrously missed an historic moment to recommend a ramp up of Australia’s research investment, consigning Australia to be out-muscled by our economic rivals in the global race to seize new jobs, industries and national income.

    The interim report “squanders a once-in-a-generation chance” to recommend the Australian Government immediately start a visionary scale-up of Australia’s R&D strength to drive stronger job creation and diversify our economy as one of its five immediate priority actions.

    The nation’s peak body for science and technology urged the Accord Panel to move swiftly to make bolder recommendations on research investment in its final report to avert a “calamitous own goal that will lose current talent and erode future Australian jobs, income and living standards”.  

    It had already missed the opportunity to do so in the current Budget cycle, with the Panel’s final report due in December. New spending proposals for the May Budget typically close in September/October.

    The latest official data, published at the end of May, shows Australia’s Government investment in R&D has plunged to its lowest level as a share of our economy since 1978.

    Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert said the peak body would urgently convene research sector stakeholders for emergency talks to ensure the panel understood the gravity of the cost to Australia of missing the mark on research investment.

    "The Accord must seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the panel to recommend the Government confirm both a bold target and a timetable to start to scale up Australia’s R&D investment - and to start that scale-up from this year’s Budget cycle."

    "The Accord’s interim report has spectacularly missed the mark on research investment - that’s an epic fail. It squibs a once in a generation chance to set our nation on the path to prosperity by stepping up our investment in being first to bold breakthroughs. The final report must fix this fatal flaw."

    “The final report should enshrine an ambitious target for Australia’s R&D investment - mirroring the 3% of GDP target the Australian Labor Party promised the Australian people before the last election - and recommend a plan and timetable to achieve it.”

    "Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called for Australia’s economy to be "powered by science". He’s right to do so. Only with stronger investment in research can science tackle the challenges the future will throw at us - from climate change to the next global pandemic. This interim report fails to chart a path to the PM’s vision."

    "The report poses more questions than it attempts to answer. And waiting six months for the final report means any funding measures recommended will miss the cut-off for inclusion in the next Federal Budget."

    “As a longstanding champion of equity and diversity, we support the proposals to expand access for equity groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

    About Science & Technology Australia
    Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our  flagship programs include Science Meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors. 

    To arrange interviews: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828

  • 28 Jun 2023 12:54 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    This week the STA team has been in Sydney for the annual Women in AI Awards for Asia Pacific. The awards are a global initiative that recognise women using AI in innovative ways. It was exciting to hear some of the inspirational stories behind the incredible award winners, and learn more about the pioneering work they are doing. 

    We were absolutely thrilled to see Superstars of STEM alumna Dr Cathy Robinson of CSIRO win the Communicating AI Award for her incredible work that enables Indigenous women rangers to use AI to monitor and manage their Country. Congratulations also to current Superstar of STEM Dr Sara Webb of Swinburne University of Technology who was a finalist in the awards, and to all the incredible award winners.

    On Wednesday STA welcomed the announcement that Professor Doug Hilton will be the new Chief Executive Officer of CSIRO. Professor Hilton is an outstanding Australian science leader with an incredible track record of scientific research into blood cell production and how cells communicate with each other. He has a deep and longstanding commitment to boosting diversity in science and mentoring and supporting the next generation of great Australian scientists. STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson said Professor Hilton is a “superb appointment for CSIRO who will bring deep expertise to the role”.

    The opening of the second round of the National Industry PhD Program is just around the corner. This prestigious program is building stronger links between industry, universities, and researchers. You can find out more about the program here.

    Huge congratulations to STA member organisation Cicada Innovations which was this week announced as the operator for the new Jumar Bioincubator at the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct. The incubator is backed by $65 million in industry and government investment, and will give biotech ventures at the facility access to labs, support, and the hospitals and universities within the biomedical precinct. Expressions of interest for the Jumar Bioincubator are open now ahead of the facility opening in September.

    Finally, please join us for the launch of National Science Week, hosted by Science & Technology Australia and Questacon. The event will feature a series of short, high-energy talks from inspiring STEM leaders sharing their excitement about the frontiers of Australian science. You will have a chance to meet and chat with Parliamentarians, STEM policy experts, and scientists, and get to celebrate the beginning of the biggest week for science of the year! The event takes place at Parliament House, 8–9am, on Wednesday 9 August. Registrations are essential

    All the best,

    Sandra Gardam
    Deputy CEO, Science & Technology Australia

  • 22 Jun 2023 9:14 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Royal Statistical Society (RSS), the leading membership body advocating for the importance of statistics and data, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sarah Cumbers as its new chief executive.

    Taking up the role in September 2023, Sarah will lead on the RSS’s varied programme of activities, including its accreditation schemes, publications, conference and events, and policy work while enhancing its role as the membership body for all those interested in the good use of data.

    Sarah is currently the evidence and insights director at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a global charity dedicated to engineering a safer world. During her time at the organisation, Sarah led on its flagship programme, the World Risk Poll, a unique global survey on public perceptions and experience of risk and safety, as well as its What Works for safety programme.

    As an advocate of evidence-based policy and practice, Sarah is also the chair of the Evidence Quarter, a community interest company that brings together evidence-minded organisations to increase collaboration and tackle joint challenges. Previously she spent much of her career at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), working across a number of roles including evaluation of medicines, management of information services, and development of guideline methodology.

    The RSS was previously led by Stian Westlake, now executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council. Sarah takes the role over from Nicola Emmerson, the Society’s director of membership and professional affairs, who has led the organisation on an interim basis since May.

    Commenting on the appointment, Dr Andrew Garrett, president of the RSS, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Sarah to the RSS as our new chief executive. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in evidence-based policymaking as well as substantial experience of leadership in non-profit organisations.

    “I know Sarah will take the RSS from strength to strength in its role advocating for our members, the discipline and the importance of data and evidence for the public good.”

    Dr Sarah Cumbers commented: “The potential value of statistics and data, and the dangers of misuse, have never been more evident than they are in our world today. The RSS has a crucial role to play in ensuring that statistics are well used and understood – and I am looking forward to joining the Society at such an exciting time for our members.”

  • 31 Mar 2023 1:08 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Dear Marie-Louise,

    This week, enacting legislation for the new $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund secured passage through the Australian Parliament. The fund will be a powerful new investment in our country’s future. It will spur and scale Australia’s economic development and diversification - and be powered by home-grown science. Science & Technology Australia warmly welcomed this historic moment.  

    This new fund will help to deepen Australia’s scientific and technological innovation – which is key to strengthening our national prosperity, creating jobs and securing new income streams. And it significantly boosts Australia’s pool of investment capital for next-generation materials development, value-adding and advanced manufacturing – the foundations of a strong, modern economy. In turn, this helps to turbo-charge sovereign capability and economic complexity.

    A constellation of stars from the worlds of science, technology and policy converged on Canberra for Science Meets Parliament 2023: On the Hill. More than 400 scientists packed into Parliament House for a day of inspiration and engagement with decision-makers. 

    It was a record-breaking success. More than 40 per cent of the Parliament took part - with 87 meetings across eight hours and a strong turnout of Parliamentarians at the gala dinner. And this was achieved amid one of the busiest legislative fortnights in living memory. Such strong support is a testament to the respect for science among Parliamentarians - and the esteem for Science Meets Parliament. And it is made possible by the stellar support of the foundation partners - the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and the Office of the Chief Scientist.

    What a powerful program. A diverse array of Australian science leadership greats - led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC - shared insights, working up to a superb National Press Club address by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic.  

    Powerful speeches about the power of science also centred the gala dinner - with inspiring words from Minister Husic, Parliamentary Friends of Science co-chairs Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, and Shadow Science Minister Paul Fletcher. Paul Girrawah House warmly welcomed us to Country, and gala dinner partner ANSTO CEO Shaun Jenkinson reminded us of the power of sovereign science expertise, following a welcome reception hosted by AbbVie. Photo highlights are here. A huge thanks to everyone who made it such a success.

    Got a clean tech concept to boost sustainability in agriculture and food production and processing? Then enter our SparkLabs Cultiv8-STA competition to win up to $100,000 of investment and a place in a prestigious 6-month accelerator program. Entrants must be a Science & Technology Australia member. The winner will get mentoring, networking and business development support to help bring the next generation of clean agri-food technologies to market. SparkLabs Cultiv8 will run an information webinar on Wednesday 5 April at 2pm AEDT. Register here.

    Don’t miss the chance to share your ideas on what should be in Australia’s next set of official national science and research priorities. This is a chance for Science & Technology Australia’s membership to offer insights on the complex challenges that Australia can tackle by taking a more coordinated and concerted science and technology focus, and the opportunities Australia should seize. The consultation deadline has been extended to next Thursday - 6 April. You can make a submission here.

    Finally, Science & Technology Australia is drafting a submission to the Universities Accord review. To feed any short, sharp, tight content into this process, please email STA’s Policy Director Sarah Tynan by COB Monday to feed ideas into our submission, which is due before Easter. More detail on the Accord is here.  

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

  • 30 Mar 2023 11:41 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Royal Society Publishing has recently published special issue of Philosophical Transactions A entitled "Bayesian inference: challenges, perspectives, and prospects", compiled and edited by Christian P Robert, Judith Rousseau and Michael I Jordan. The articles can be accessed directly here 

    You can purchase the print issue at the reduced price of £40 per issue by contacting

    Royal Society Publishing is also looking for new theme issues. If you are interested in submitting, please visit their website or contact the Editorial Office.  

  • 6 Mar 2023 2:21 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The nation’s peak body representing 115,000 Australian scientists and technologists strongly supports an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and will advocate for a resounding yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

    With support from across our grassroots membership network including STA’s three Indigenous member organisations, Science & Technology Australia has declared its formal backing for the historic movement for a constitutionally-recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

    STA has more than 135 member organisations representing more than 115,000 professionals working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics across Australia.

    “History has its eyes on us,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.

    “The call for Indigenous constitutional recognition and a Voice to Parliament has been made by generation after generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and campaigners across the past century, including in the generous invitation to the Australian people in the Uluru Statement From The Heart.”

    “Now all Australians will have a chance to answer that historic call when we get to vote in the referendum later this year.”

    “Science & Technology Australia will advocate for a resounding yes vote in a profound moment of national unity –  and will support our members to engage the nation’s science community in this historic opportunity.”

    The Voice referendum won’t affect Indigenous sovereignty – a fact confirmed by constitutional law experts – and Treaty negotiations will continue across the country. Indigenous leaders have campaigned for decades and decades for a constitutionally-enshrined Voice.

    In its Reconciliation Action Plan, Science & Technology Australia honours the long tradition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges in science, technology and engineering – the oldest continuing cultures anywhere on the planet.

    Science & Technology Australia President Professor Mark Hutchinson said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are Australia’s first scientists, technologists and engineers.

    “Our vision is for a reconciled and united Australia. A nation which faces the truth of our past with honesty and courage. A nation which works to rectify injustice and bring healing to those who live with pain and trauma, and a nation that stands together against racism and discrimination,” he said.

    “We want all Australians to see the inspiring first cultures of this land as a great source of shared national pride – and a Voice will bring us another step closer to that goal.”

    About Science & Technology Australia
    Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our  flagship programs include Science Meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors

    Media contact: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828

  • 27 Feb 2023 2:12 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    This is a friendly reminder that nominations for the inaugural Horizon Lectures, to be given at  the Australian Statistical Conference (ASC2023) in Wollongong, 10th- 15th December 2023, will close tomorrow.

    The Horizon Lectures aim to recognise emerging leaders in Australia’s statistics community and their contributions to advancing statistical practice across academia, government, and/or industry. Lectures will be awarded to mid-career statisticians working in any discipline who have made an impact within their field(s) of expertise and have demonstrated leadership in building capacity in statistical expertise within Australia. 

    Up to three (3) Horizon Lectures will be awarded for presentation at ASC2023. All Lectures will be presented together as a plenary session to all conference delegates. Lectures can be on any area of statistics in line with the awardee’s expertise. Each awardee will receive up to $2,500 to cover conference and travel costs. 

    Nominations involve a written statement (up to 1,000 words) summarising how the nominee meets the award selection criteria. Nominees must be a member of the SSA and be employed as a statistician in Australia. Nominations must be supported by another member of the SSA.

    Full details on eligibility, award selection criteria and submission are available in the nomination form, available on the conference website. Nominations must be submitted by 5 pm AEST, 28th February 2023. Late nominations will not be accepted. 

    Questions about the Horizon lectures can be sent to ASC 2023 Scientific Programming Committee at

    Kind regards

    The ASC23 Scientific Program Committee

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:36 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Are you a statistician or data scientist? If so, we want to hear from you. We need your assistance in helping us shape the future of our organisation.

    The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) is committed to being the leading voice in statistics in Australia. To help us prioritise our activities, we need to understand the needs and interests of our members and the wider data science community. To that end, we have created a survey that will inform our strategic planning process. Would you please take a few moments to fill it out by 5pm AEDT on Monday 13 March.

    The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and will help us to gain valuable insights into what our current and future members need and expect from the SSA. Your responses will be confidential, and the results will be used to guide the development of our strategy for the next 3-5 years.  

    To access the survey, simply click on the following link:

    To make this a successful process, we need to hear from as many people as possible.

    Thank you in advance for your participation in this important initiative. We look forward to receiving your feedback and working with you to shape the future of our organisation.

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:34 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    1 Jun 2023 (AEST) – 31 Oct 2024 (AEDT), online-weekly one hour classes-this is 6 courses offered over the next year

    Due to the high demand for the Sampling Course in 2022 and strong interest in other courses from the International Program in Survey and Data Science (IPSDS) Masters program the Social Research Centre and Statistical Society of Australia have partnered again to expand IPSDS course offerings in Australia.

    If you are interested in the Item Nonresponse, Sampling, Big Data/Machine Learning for Surveys and/or Weighting courses please register your interest so that we can determine whether there is sufficient demand. 

    To show your interest click here.

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