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SSA Vic Belz Lecture

  • 12 Oct 2021
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (AEDT)


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Statistical Society of Australia Victorian Branch is honoured to have Professor Andrew Forbes as our Belz lecturer for 2021 to talk to us about:

Tales of clinical trials, tribulations, twists and turns

In this era of COVID-19 we constantly hear about case numbers of people infected, vaccines and epidemic modelling, and, particularly early in the epidemic, randomised clinical trials of treatments for COVID-19-infected patients. In my experience, the general public’s perception of clinical trials is that they are limited to evaluation of new drugs or treatments for particular conditions. Arguably, among some statisticians (including an earlier version of myself), there may be a perception that the statistical issues and analyses of randomised trials are formulaic and rather routine, due to the reliance on the virtues of randomisation. However, this is certainly not the case and there is a fascinating world of randomised trials both inside and outside of drug development. In this talk I’ll focus primarily on trials outside of drug development and discuss my experience with a diverse array of such trials and some unanticipated twists and turns that needed addressing from a statistical or practical perspective.

Speaker biography

Professor Andrew Forbes is the Head of the Biostatistics Unit in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He completed his undergraduate degree in mathematical statistics at Monash University, then went on to complete a PhD at Cornell University, USA. After a short stint as a postdoctoral research fellow in the pharmaceutical industry, he returned to Australia and joined Monash University where he has been since. His primary activities involve methodological research, particularly in the area of cluster randomised clinical trials, collaborating with researchers on clinical and public health research projects, including a variety of randomised trials, and teaching in the Master of Biostatistics program. He was recently elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences for his contributions to biostatistics and health research.

Social event

A game of virtual escape room will follow soon after the lecture. Please register for this event at

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