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SSA Vic & Tas Panel Discussion - Statisticians in Society

  • 21 Nov 2023
  • 6:00 PM (AEDT)
  • RMIT Building 15, Level 3, Room 10, 124 La Trobe Street Melbourne or online via Teams


Registration is closed

In the lead up to ASC/OZCOTS2023 the SSA Vic & Tas branch are hosting a panel discussion on the topic of the conference, "Statisticians in Society". Our panellists will discuss the role that statisticians play in communicating to society more broadly - what works well and areas that we could improve.

Our panellists will give a short overview of their experience and perspective on the role that statisticians play in society, then we'll have a Q&A to dive deeper into areas our audience want to hear about. We will be announcing more panellists closer to the date of the event.


Professor Ian Gordon

Ian's main responsibility is as Director of the Statistical Consulting Centre. He has 30 years of experience in applied statistical work, and a particular interest in communicating statistical ideas effectively in all he does. Ian is particularly interested in problem-solving from a statistical perspective. The work which has interested him most has involved a puzzle in some way: why are the data like this? Ian is also very interested in the use of statistical methods to promote health and well-being in society, and to promote justice. So there has been an emphasis in his consulting on medical and epidemiological research, and, in his expert witness work, on cases where disadvantaged or vulnerable people were seeking justice. Ian has written over 200 consulting reports for projects of all sizes, and for clients from business, industry and government. He has acted as an expert witness in many court cases in a variety of jurisdictions. Ian has a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Master of Science, and a PhD, all in mathematical statistics.

Jenny Telford

Jenny Telford is the Program Manager for Digital Services at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). She holds degrees in IT and Business Management and has over 20 years of experience in the public sector across a range of senior roles at the ABS, with a focus on the communication and dissemination of data. Jenny was part of the leadership team for the 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing, a large complex program that requires strong and genuine engagement with the Australian population. Her responsibilities included program management, communications, stakeholder engagement and contact centre operations.

More recently, she led a range of projects as part of a large-scale technology and business process transformation at the ABS. She successfully delivered a range of new digital channels to support the dissemination of data, including a modernised ABS website. Jenny is committed to communicating and delivering high-quality data to support informed decision-making across all aspects of the Australian economy and society.

Dr Carolyn Huston

Carolyn is a senior research consultant at CSIRO with a background in statistics who enjoys applying statistical thinking from data design, modelling, reporting on uncertainty etc. to real life problems where results and methods will be used. She has led multiple projects related to bushfire resilience planning, particularly in the domain of improving electrical network safety. Key achievements include involvement with the Victorian Government Powerline Bushfire Safety Program (PBSP), contributing to numerical methods that guided $750 million of government investment.

In addition to bushfire commercial work, Carolyn is currently contributing to the strategic development of a number of natural hazards models and emulators, as well as programs to identify efficiency opportunities in manufacturing and supply chain processes. She is also leading work on identifying data science research opportunities in the context of energy transition problems.

Alun Pope

Alun is the principal of Analytical Insight Pty Ltd and an adjunct researcher at Monash University. After a PhD in Pure Mathematics, Alun's career has followed two paths: as a teaching and research academic, and as a statistical consultant in industry and university environments. He has worked for the Department of Defence and at Newcastle, NSW, Sydney and Monash universities. At Newcastle he became the Head of the Statistics Department in the 1990s. Alun was Head of Research at a financial modelling company, and also held positions at St George Insurance and APRA. At the University of Sydney, Alun set up and ran the Statistical Consulting unit 2015-2017.  Alun and his staff advised on PhD theses and research projects in a variety of disciplines. He has published papers on a range of pure and applied topics, as well as being the author of many consulting reports.

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