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  • 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.

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:33 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The ASC 2023 Scientific Programming Committee (SPC) is currently seeking expressions of interest from SSA members interested in undertaking the peer review of abstracts for the conference. All areas of statistical expertise are welcome. The Australian Statistical Conference, partnered with the Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS), will take place in Wollongong from 10th-15th December 2023.

    Each reviewer will be responsible for blind reviewing up to 20 abstracts of up to 300 words aligned with their area of expertise and each abstract will have 2 reviewers. Review criteria and information on how to review the abstracts will be provided once the call for reviewers closes. Reviewers must be available to review abstracts between April and May 2023.

    Selection of reviewers will be based on SSA membership and area of expertise, with the number of reviewers based on the number of abstract submissions. If you are able to review abstracts, please complete the online registration form. Abstract reviewer registrations will close on 31st March 2023

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:32 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Society awards a gold medal, the Pitman Medal, at most once annually, in recognition of outstanding achievement in, and contribution to, the discipline of Statistics. Honorary Life Membership honours outstanding contribution to the profession and the Society, while a Society Service Award may be awarded to a Society member in recognition of sustained and significant service to the Society.

    An Awards Committee, chaired by the President of the Society, makes recommendations to the Society’s Central Council as to appropriate Award recipients. Pitman Medals and Honorary Life Memberships are usually announced at the Society’s Conference.

    Members of the Society are encouraged to propose suitable recipients of the Pitman Medal, Honorary Life Membership or a Society Service Award. Suggestions, with brief supporting information, should be emailed to the undersigned.

    Doug Shaw, Secretary

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:31 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Members are advised that the Executive position of Vice President will become vacant at the Society’s Central Council Annual General Meeting in 2023. The SSA Rules provide for a Nominating Committee, consisting of the current Executive and the Branch Presidents, to solicit nominations and submit a list of nominees to Central Council. Should an election be required, Central Council will then arrange a ballot of all financial members of the Society.

    Details about the role of SSA Vice President can be viewed here.

    Members of SSA are invited to submit nominations for the position of Vice President. Nominations must be in writing and signed by the nominator(s), and must be accompanied by a written and signed statement from the nominee accepting the nomination.  Nominations should be submitted to the SSA President or to a Branch President before 31st March, 2023. 

    Doug ShawSecretary

  • 16 Feb 2023 1:54 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Are you an early-career statistician or data scientist with a talent for telling data-driven stories in an entertaining and thought-provoking way? If so, we invite you to enter the 2023 Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writing.

    Jointly organised by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), the competition forms part of the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards programme.

    “Early career” means students or anyone within the first 10 years of their statistical career – so whether studying, recently graduated or already working, this competition is open to you.

    No topic is out of bounds. Surprise us! Last year's winning article, by Lee Kennedy-Shaffer, explained how statistics can help us evaluate rule changes in baseball. The previous year, Conner Jackson wrote about his investigation into whether a colleagues’ pet tortoise really could predict the weather. Over the years, we’ve also honoured articles about the role of statistics in organ transplant medicine, World War Two bombing raids, the reduction of food waste, millennials’ political views, and much more. The article could be based on your own work, or that of others. But to stand the best chance of winning, your article really needs to demonstrate the power that statistics has to challenge myths, shape decisions and explain the world around us.

    Significance is published for a broad audience of readers, with varying levels of statistical expertise. This means technical terms and mathematics should be kept to a minimum and explained clearly where used. The tone should be engaging and easy to read – think magazine rather than academic journal. 

    Entries are judged by a panel made up of the Significance editorial team and editorial board members.

    Winners and runners-up are announced at the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards in the summer, and invited to present their articles at the 2023 RSS Conference in Harrogate (4-7 September 2023). The winning article will be published in Significance.

    Rules of entry

    • Entrants must be either (1) students currently studying for a first degree, master's or PhD in statistics, data science or related subjects, or (2) graduates whose last qualification in statistics, data science or related subjects (whether first degree, master's or PhD) was not more than five years ago.
    • Articles must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words in length.
    • Articles can include tables and figures – though, for space reasons, there should be no more than five tables/figures in total.
    • Writing style must be accessible and engaging.
    • Technical terms and mathematics must be used sparingly, and suitably explained where used.
    • End references should be limited to 10.
    • Footnotes must not be used.
    • Only submissions in English will be considered.
    • Manuscripts must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. You may submit articles based on work in theses or in papers that have been submitted to, or accepted by, academic journals, provided that the competition submission is sufficiently  different in style and structure.
    • Winners, finalists and entrants from previous years of the competition are not excluded from participating in this year’s competition.
    • All entries must be accompanied by an entry form – download yours from
    • Email submissions as a text/Word file, or as a PDF, to
    • Articles will be reviewed by a judging panel featuring representatives of both the RSS Young Statisticians Section and Significance.
    • Up to three finalists will win a full registration to the 2023 Royal Statistical Society International Conference in Harrogate, UK. Please note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered.
    • The winning article will be published in Significance magazine.
    • Runner-up articles may be published on the Significance website or in Significance magazine at the editor’s discretion.
    • ·Closing date is 31 May 2023.

    Further details, as well as winning articles from previous years, are online at

  • 10 Jan 2023 10:07 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    In late 2019 the SSA and CSIRO/Data 61 awarded the inaugural Betty Allan Travel award to two recipients.  Little did we know at the time that travel, something most of us had taken for granted since we were born, would become next to impossible over the coming years.

    In 2022 award recipient Karen Lamb was finally able to make it happen. Here is her report: 

    Well, as I was soon to learn, 2020 was not a great year to receive a travel award! I had grand plans to use my SSA and CSIRO/Data 61 Betty Allan travel award in September 2020 to attend the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference in Bournemouth, following this with a visit to Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter at the Winton Centre for the Public Understanding of Risk in Cambridge and then onto London to meet the RSS team to discuss the Statistical Ambassador Program which trains early career statisticians in statistical communication. My vision was to bring back statistical communication knowledge from these visits to the Statistical Society of Australia. Sadly, by April 2020 it had become very clear that this plan was highly unlikely! More than two years later, I was finally able to take up my award to visit the UK in November 2022 and I certainly learned a lot.

    Winton Centre for the Public Understanding of Risk

    At the Winton Centre, I was able to learn about David’s transition into work as a statistical communicator. David was already an established leader in Biostatistics internationally and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) when he took up a position as Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 2007. This was a philanthropic funded position and was initially a solo role (the Winton Centre was not established for a number of years). In this role, David set about to increase his profile doing outreach activities (e.g., science fares, news articles, talks and media appearances). It took time to build up his reputation in communication. However, he found that once he was known as someone who could communicate risk and uncertainty well, more invitations flowed his way. Some key learnings from David:

    1) Communication and media training is invaluable and essential. David personally benefitted from a day and a half of funded training through his work which put him through his paces but helped develop his confidence.

    2) Peer support is key. Although he often works alone when engaging with the media, David benefitted from having others around him undertaking similar roles to bounce ideas off.

    3) Beware of the draw of flashy headlines. Statisticians are often asked to offer solutions to one-off puzzles about the probability of some rare event occurring. These could help when building your media profile but are rarely rewarding.

    4) Statistical communication is vital (but can be stressful!). COVID-19 has helped raise the profile of the work of biostatisticians, enabling David to communicate what we actually do. Although stressful, this was highly rewarding.

    Royal Statistical Society Statistical Ambassador Program

    The Statistical Ambassador Program, devised by John Pullinger, was launched in 2014 in recognition of the need for confident statistical communicators and has had three cohorts to date. The RSS received funding to support the program, offering ambassadors two days of media training. Telephone mentoring from a committee of statistical/science communicators (e.g., David Spiegelhalter) was also provided. To date, 32 early-career statistical ambassadors (2014: 12, 2016: 10, 2018: 10) have been trained in the program. Ambassadors were selected through a process in which applicants outlined their statistical interests and experiences. It is anticipated that statistical ambassadors remain in this role for a prolonged period. Ambassadors have appeared in different media outlets: BBC News television and print (National Lottery, UK coronavirus figures, reporting of numbers in the media), ITV news (students and COVID, COVID vaccination), among others. Media requests tend to be directed to the RSS Head of Media and External Relations to identify the most appropriate ambassador to assist. Some key learnings:

    1) The program is based on training AND peer support which are essential to success.

    2) Funding is key but difficult to obtain. The RSS is seeking funding for more programs.

    3) It is important to recruit people willing to engage with the media in the longer term. Not all ambassadors have remained engaged in the program.

    4) It is important to ensure support from employers. This can be difficult outside academia.

    What next?

    I left the UK with a rejuvenated passion for statistical communication wondering what we can do within the SSA to support media engagement. Would a statistical ambassador program be suitable for the SSA? If so, who could we get to support the ambassadors in Australia? Encouragingly, my contacts within the RSS are keen to build greater connections with the SSA to work on communication initiatives. Personally, I would like to see more communications training and support for statisticians beyond media training. Effective communication is so critical to our work! I look forward to continuing these discussions with both the RSS and SSA in future.

    In addition, I am delighted that David Spiegelhalter will be one of the keynotes for the 2023 Australian Statistical Conference in December. We will also be able to learn from his statistical communication experience through a pre-conference workshop. More details will be available soon!

    A/Prof Karen Lamb
    Co-Head Biostatistics Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health Research Hub (MISCH) 
    Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics,  Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

    Pictured (left to right): Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter and Karen Lamb, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, November 2022

    Pictured (left to right): Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter and Karen Lamb, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, November 2022

    Pictured: Karen Lamb enjoying the rainy Cambridge weather, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, November 2022

    Pictured: Karen Lamb enjoying the rainy Cambridge weather, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, November 2022

    Pictured (left to right): Brian Tarran (Head of Data Science Platform, RSS), Mags Wiley (Head of Media and External Relations, RSS), Karen Lamb, Robert Mastrodomenico (Statistical Ambassador, RSS) London, November 2022

    Pictured (left to right): Brian Tarran (Head of Data Science Platform, RSS), Mags Wiley (Head of Media and External Relations, RSS), Karen Lamb, Robert Mastrodomenico (Statistical Ambassador, RSS) London, November 2022

  • 21 Dec 2022 8:08 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    NSPC LogoIn 2022, the National Schools Poster Competition (NSPC) received 4 times the number of 2021 submissions, with 20 new schools submitting!

    Topics are too numerous and diverse to list them all, but examples include: nutrition, health, psychology, sustainability, space, diversity and inclusion, biology, science, finance, aspects of political and social interest, sports, physics, chemistry, product preferences, physiology and solar energy.

    Please view this year’s winners and honourable mentions, along with feedback. There’s even a capture-recapture based project, with lollies in the wild!

    Summary information about the NSPC is provided at the end of this article.

    Australia’s NSPC is entering its 10th year in 2023…and there’s significant news!

    Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts AM and I, Professor Peter Howley, will be delivering a national initiative to Primary and Secondary Schools in 2023 entitled “Preparing for Industry 5.0 and beyond in light of COVID19 - facilitating the cradle-to-career life cycle” having received a Commonwealth Grant from theAustralian Government’s Department of Education’s Emerging Priorities Program for our project proposal.

    The initiative will have significant engagement across the Australian education system with school administrators, educators, teachers and students nationally, as we conduct an integrated delivery of free:

    ·         interactive online teacher Professional Learning workshops

    ·         interactive online student workshops – including practical implementation and career opportunities

    ·         two national student competitions – an online mini-solar vehicle competition and the NSPC

    which develop Statistics, Systems thinking, Sustainability and STEM (SSSS) and associated cross-functional skills that:

    ü  are core to emerging workforce environments and needs

    ü  support national curriculum learning areas and outcomes

    ü  support general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities

    ü  positively impacts the attitudes, aspirations & abilities of educators & the future workforce

    We will seek to make a step-change in attitudes, aspirations and abilities of educators and the future workforce surrounding these core SSSS and cross-functional skills.

    This national initiative builds upon our successful 2017 regional and rural NSW-focussed initiative (partial results in this 2020 SERJ publication – downloadable PDF available).

    Industry 5.0 places research and innovation at the service of the transition to a sustainable, human-centric and resilient industry. Research & innovation and the associated cross-functional skills required are fundamental to, and supported by SSSS skills … the points of focus of this project.

    We expect to engage over 400 schools nationally in our 2023 initiative!

    Please inform your family, friends, colleagues and school contacts about this opportunity, including the NSPC, and invite them to contact me via or to express interest in potentially participating or for more information as we develop our online platform.

    NSPC Summary     

    Poiter advertising National Schools Poster CompetitionThe NSPC provides an opportunity for students from Years 3 to 12 (ages 8 to 18) to work in teams of 2 to 5 and develop, implement and creatively report upon, in poster format, an investigation on any topic of interest to them. Students conduct small-scale versions of real-world investigations in teams, developing core statistical, STEM and cross-functional skills. They create an informative e-poster presentation communicating their investigation clearly, concisely and creatively.

    The competition is judged in five divisions: one for each of the Year 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 School Grades. Many additional resources are provided at the website, including:

    • 1 to 4-minute videos about the competition
    • Several approximate 4-minute videos from experts speaking on careers in statistics
    • Free software and simple worksheets
    • A dozen or so approximate 4-minute animated videos on introductory statistics topics
    •  Tips, e-textbook, a file on how the NSPC links to and supports the National Curriculum
    • Annual lists of the winners and honourable mentions and their posters, along with feedback for each that is publicly available (since 2021) – to assist everyone in their future investigations.

    Submissions are due annually by 10 November and we usually receive over 200 team entries.

    Prizes (for both the winning team and the school of the winning team, for each Division) and honoraria for the many judges (professional statisticians) and IT and administrative support are possible thanks to support from the Australian Bureau of Statistics via the Statistical Society of Australia.

    The importance of engaging students early in any endeavour, particularly statistics in this Data Age, cannot be overstated. Youth establish interests and career trajectories from an early age and connecting them with opportunities that are enjoyable, engaging, authentic and support the needed emerging workforce skills is critical.

    School teachers have rarely if ever experienced statistics in practice and are unfamiliar with the diverse nature and wide reach of statistical thinking, techniques and applications. Teachers’ knowledge about the practicing statistician is at best limited, their focus has been on the many other topics and aspects of teaching. The teaching of statistics in school focusses on the theory or mechanics, rather than its practical applications, with statistics topics taught often in a manner not clearly part of a coherent whole nor authentically contextualised. The relevance of the discipline of statistics to areas of interest is lost, or at best unclear, for students; yet relevance is such a powerful motivator! Enter the NSPC!

    Professor Peter Howley is the Chair of SSA's Statistical Education SectionPeter Howley Headshot

    Career Profile

    Hunter Surgical Clinical Research Unit - Statistical Research Lead

    Program Director - StepChange, MCB Business Partners

    Hunter Medical Research Institute Affiliate

    Medical College Centre, Macquarie University - Statistical Research Lead

    International Statistical Institute - Elected Member

    Chair - Statistical Education, Statistical Society of Australia

    Vice President - Hunter Innovation and Science HUB

    2018-19 Inaugural Science and Technology Australia STEM Ambassador

    2019-20 Inaugural UON STEMM Ambassador

    2018 Statistical Society of Australia Service Award

    2017 International Statistical Institute’s Best Cooperative Project Award

    2015 National OLT Citation – Contribution to Student Learning

  • 16 Dec 2022 10:41 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    And that’s almost a wrap for 2022! 

    It’s been a year of remarkable change for the science and technology sector - and strong growth and influence for Science & Technology Australia.

    This week, we launched the new National Industry PhD Program. Over the next decade, this groundbreaking initiative will equip 1300 PhD scholars with next-level industry skills and experience, and make it far easier for businesses to reach into the country’s immense research sector talent pool. The program will be delivered for the Department of Education by a consortium led by Campus Plus (one of our members), Science & Technology Australia, and Cruxes Innovation (also an STA member). Applications for the program will open early next year. Sign up now to the mailing list for updates (and please help spread the word!)

    As CEO of Science & Technology Australia, I’m deeply honoured to be among the group of leaders and experts invited this week to serve on the new Ministerial Reference Group to be chaired by Education Minister Jason Clare MP as part of the Universities Accord process. This reference group will be a sounding board and source of advice to the team working on the accord. The Accord Panel is being led by Professor Mary O’Kane AO - and the span of topics it has been asked to consider thoughtfully are broad. I’m so looking forward to contributing. 

    What a big finish to an exciting year of achievements for our community. 

    The year started with the announcement of a $2.2 billion research commercialisation fund by the Government. Ahead of the election, Science & Technology Australia confirmed written support for these measures from both major parties of Government, ensuring these investments continued whatever the outcome of the election. STA has made the case tirelessly for a research translation and commercialisation fund. This is one of many major wins for our members in 2022.

    Also in February, Science & Technology Australia’s game-changing Superstars of STEM program secured renewed Australian Government funding to continue for a further four years. This acclaimed program has now helped more than 150 brilliant women scientists to turbo-charge their profiles and careers by becoming skilled media commentators. It is a shining example of a hugely successful initiative to advance diversity in STEM, which can inform the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review's work.

    In October, we recruited another outstanding cohort of 60 women and non-binary scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians as Superstars of STEM. We announced these inspiring new Superstars in November, and can’t wait to start them in their program in 2023. We are deeply grateful for Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic’s continuing strong support for this program, and for the backing of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

    In March, Science & Technology Australia delivered a high-impact Science Meets Parliament - featuring global science communications star Professor Brian Cox, two Nobel Laureates and a host of other star talent. The event included our trademark high-quality professional development for scientists, meetings with Parliamentarians, and fabulous Australia-wide gala dinners in June. 

    STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson delivered a landmark speech at the National Press Club in March. He made a compelling argument for Australia to train its first generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists as the next step in the drive to commercialise more great Australian research. This is a powerful plan that STA will continue to advocate in 2023. 

    In June, Minister Husic’s brilliant speech at the SMP gala dinner outlined the Government’s commitment to a “future powered by science”.

    In August, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Minister Husic jointly launched National Science Week with a strong turnout of MPs and Senators from all across the Parliament, including Shadow Science Minister Paul Fletcher and former Science Minister Melissa Price. Science & Technology Australia was honoured to work with Questacon - the home of National Science Week - to deliver the official launch and opening media for a week to engage more Australians in science and technology. We continued our partnership with 3M to release the 2022 findings from the 3M State of Science Index. This year’s study revealed the incredibly high levels of trust Australians have in science to combat misinformation, and the public’s strong desire to hear more from scientists in the media.

    In November, Science & Technology Australia delivered a powerful event for the Parliamentary Friends of Science on clean, green energy technologies– with a strong turnout of MPs and Senators – with support from our friends at the AAS and ATSE.

    Science & Technology Australia’s membership grew strongly in 2022. We are building powerful momentum in our role as the key connector of people and ideas in Australia’s STEM sector. 

    STA now represents 120 member organisations - up from 77 in 2020 - and 105,000 scientists and technologists nationwide. This is no accident. Over the last few years, STA has been more visible in public policy discussions, generated more media coverage, and shaped more legislation and policy decisions affecting our members. Putting together our Policy Wins page was a strong reminder that together, STA and its members are a powerful voice for the sector. 

    We are deeply fortunate to be led by outstanding experts from our sector. Our powerhouse President Professor Mark Hutchinson and stellar STA Board Secretary Jas Chambers have overseen a year where STA has revitalised its constitution and governance, setting itself up for the next stage of the organisation’s growth. 

    Mark’s outstanding leadership in the sector was recognised in his appointment to the ARC Advisory Committee to the CEO in April, and to the ARC Review Committee’s eminent panel in August. When he steps aside next year after our next AGM, he will pass the torch to Professor Sharath Sriram, our amazing Policy Chair. Mark and Sharath - alongside our dynamic Vice-President Dr Anita Goh - are standard bearers for the present and future of science, and the immense role it can play in creating the economy of tomorrow. We thank them, and all of our brilliant STA Board members for their generous contributions to STA and the sector.

    STA is delivering powerful change for its members and the sector. This is a testament to the drive, creativity, and hard work of everyone involved with STA, with special thanks to our superb staff - Dr Sandra Gardam, Lucy Guest, Dr Sarah Tynan, Martyn Pearce, Evelyn Fetterplace, Emma Hibbert, Emily Downie and Shannon Wong - and our finance whiz Penny Thomson.

    And huge thanks to our brilliant members who keep our finger on the pulse of the issues Australian scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians face, and help us shape clever policy ideas to solve complex challenges. We look forward to working with and for you in 2023. In the meantime, we hope you all get a well-deserved and rejuvenating break.  

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

  • 15 Dec 2022 12:16 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) and ASC 2023 Scientific Programme Committee are delighted to open nominations for the inaugural Horizon Lectures, to be given at ASC2023 in Wollongong, 10th- 15th December 2023.  

    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 in Word here, as a pdf here. 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

  • 8 Dec 2022 1:47 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The 23rd Annual JB Douglas Postgraduate Awards Day was held on Monday, 5 December 2022 at the UTS Aerial Function Centre and was a great success. In the afternoon, 6 PhD students presented their theses, showcasing the depth, breadth and excellence of research performed by postgraduate research students in statistics within the NSW state. Chris Lisle and Emily NeoThe joint winners of this year’s award are Emily Neo from the University of Sydney Business School and Chris Lisle from the University of Wollongong.

    Emily presented a work on partial correlation screening, which is important in dimension reduction techniques for high-dimensional data achieving uncertainty quantification in situations where it is usually difficult to have it. She presented a technique that is defined in the field of statistics but can compare with machine learning approaches. Her presentation was clear, complete and she showed a great ability in answering the many questions she received.

    Chris was able to introduce the problem in a clear way, we like he told the audience the story of the project and its context. The project he presented had a clear statistical interpretation, that means his diagnostics can be easily implemented in the field. He acknowledged his work as part of a team with different expertise and this is at the heart of applied statistics.

    Each winner received a prize of $500.

    After the students’ presentations, Professor Marijka Batterham from the University of Wollongong delivered the NSW Annual Lecture, titled “Encouraging Statistical and Data Literacy in Nutrition and Dietetics.” Marijka started her talk by giving an overview of how dietitians are usually trained. While most dietitians are highly specialised in some areas (such as clinical, food service, public health, sport, etc.), all are required to do introductory statistics to meet competency standards. Indeed, statistical literacy plays a vital role for dietitians to evaluate the evidence, make clinical decisions, and participate in nutrition research.

    In the next part of the presentation, Marijka presented numerous examples demonstrating challenges of research on human nutrition, including missing data, compliance, and agreements between measurements, as well as some possible statistical solutions to tackle these issues. These challenges open up opportunities for many novel applications of statistical methods, ranging from classical statistics to modern machine learning, to address questions regarding nutrition and dietary.

    NSW Branch President Clara Grazian with the award winnersNevertheless, in her ongoing research, Marijka demonstrated there was generally a statistics anxiety among undergraduate health science students, many of whom found statistics useful but the content “incredibly hard” or “overwhelming.” Furthermore, lack of statistical support, including access to statistical software, can be a major barrier for a dietitian’s literacy. While free software for comprehensive data manipulation, visualisation and analysis, such as R and Python, are available, they require steep learning curves and may not be suitable to clinicians, who do not use statistics regularly and only often need some basic descriptive statistics and insights to ask the right questions to team members with a background in biostatistics.  A current solution to this need is free point and click graphical user interfaces to R; nevertheless, their functionalities can still be limited or their interfaces are not so user-friendly to beginners. Marijka pointed out that computational skills still need to be improved in clinical disciplines, especially as we embrace reproducibility and more advanced computational methods.

    The event concluded with the dinner and fun trivia. On behalf of the NSW Branch Council, the branch’s president Clara Grazian thanked everyone for attending and supporting the JB Douglas Awards Day as well as all the events of the branch this year.

    We look forward to seeing you at our events in 2023!

    Linh Nghiem

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