5 November 2020

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

Welcome to the first newsletter of November 2020. We are only a few days into the month, but look at all that has happened since you received the last news bulletin!

On the weekend, QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk won a third term in office, becoming the first woman to win three elections in Australian history. We witnessed a historical Melbourne Cup where the horses raced without the cheers of a crowd. We waited with abated breath for the first results of the US election, only to learn that apparently – once again – the opinion polls did not get it quite right, and that we may have to wait a while longer to find out who won the election. Well, that gave us the opportunity to change TV channels to watch QLD surprise everyone by pulling off an impressive State of Origin victory. And just as you thought that nothing could top these exciting events, we’re being treated to the season finale of “The Bachelorette” on channel 10 tonight!

Meanwhile we continue to read and learn about COVID-19. Did you come across Bevan Shields’ article last Sunday in the “Sydney Morning Herald”, which starts with a pointed quote from Sir Ian Diamond, the United Kingdom's chief statistician: “This (the UK) is becoming a nation of 58 million epidemiologists, and the great majority of them - unlike myself - have the benefit of hindsight." He was referring – of course - to the armchair COVID-19 experts, and as statisticians, I am sure, you can relate.

Only a day earlier, in the US, CNN’s Amanda Watts and Mallika Kallingal reported “record-setting infection rates and more: The week's most startling Covid-19 statistics”. You may also find their article) worth a read.

Until next week. Who knows what excitement the world will have brought us by then?

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

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Vic Branch - A celebration of World Statistics Day -20 Oct 2020

Trust in Official Statistics - Teresa Dickinson’s Belz Lecture

On World Statistics Day, Teresa Dickinson delivered the 52nd Belz Lecture for the Vic Branch. More than 150 virtual guests were treated with a thoughtful discussion on the critical role of trust in connecting statistics with the world we all hope to understand and contribute to. Teresa discussed how important it is to maintain trust both in the numbers themselves but also in the institutions that make them available. Providing insights into the importance of trust at all levels of production and dissemination of statistics, Teresa described how the ABS strives to achieve and continue to achieve high levels of trust. In a time of such uncertainty, it was uplifting to hear of the emphasis put on authenticity and honesty, but also the passion for providing reliable statistics our country can depend on.

On behalf of all attendees and the SSA, we thank Teresa for a fantastic event!

If you missed the event, or would like to re-listen to your favourite parts, a recording of the event and the slides are available here:

Video    Slides

Lizzie Korevaar
SSA Vic Treasurer

Vic Branch  - Statistical comedy and social event - 20 October 2020

Following the World Statistics Day Belz Lecture, the Vic Branch traded the usual Belz Dinner for statistically significant hilarity, delivered by standup mathematician, Simon Pampena. In a show that transcended virtual meeting technology, Simon roused our patriotic and statistical pride by reminding us of the strategy behind Steven Bradbury’s Olympic performances, and told us heartwarming stories of how Pythagoras theorem can lead to happiness among shapes. Thank you, Simon, your time, energy and jokes that knew their audience were amazing! #summerwellspent.

Filled to the brim with laughter, the evening was wrapped up with a social event at the ‘virtual pub’. Attendees were able to mingle, debrief on the events of World Statistics Day, and drumroll the randomly selected winners of the door prizes. Thank you to everyone who came along, it was a great finale to a wonderful World Statistics Day!

Lizzie Korevaar
SSA Vic Treasurer

SA Branch  - August meeting

A LEGENDARY way to do observational data analysis at scale

The South Australian branch was pleased to have A/Prof Nicole Pratt to present at the monthly virtual branch meeting.  A/Prof Pratt is an expert in biostatistics and pharmaco-epidemiology, specializing in the development of methodologies to study the effects of medicines and medical devices in linked health-care datasets.  She gave a talk on A LEGENDARY way to do observational data analysis at scale. OHDSI (Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics) allows researchers to work collaboratively on large-scale observational health datasets. Nicole gave an example of a hypertension study where data from 11 different databases in 4 countries (N= 250 million) was analyzed for different treatment pathways to treat hypertension. The Large-Scale Evidence Generation and Evaluation across a Network of Databases (LEGEND) research initiative aims to generate evidence on the effects of medical interventions using observational healthcare databases and addressing the missing evidence from clinical trials.

Click here to read Aarti Gulyani's full article


Heartfelt congratulations to SSA Canberra Branch Secretary Warren Muller on having been awarded
Honorary Life Membership Award
with the International Biometric Society.

The Statistical Society of Australia and the University of Wollongong are pleased to announce that the UoW 2020 Statistical Science Lecture will be given on

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 at 3pm AEDT by

Professor Sally Cripps, University of Sydney:

“Zen and the Art of Bayesian Geology/Hydrology/Ecology”

Sally Cripps is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics and Director of the ARC Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environments (DARE Centre), at the University of Sydney. Sally’s research focus is the development of new and novel probabilistic models which are motivated by the need to solve an applied problem with the potential for impact. She has particular expertise in the use of mixture models for complex phenomena, modelling longitudinal data, nonparametric regression, the spectral analysis of time series, and the construction of transition kernels in MCMC schemes that efficiently explore posterior distributions of interest. Sally is also Chair of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis’ section, Bayesian Education and Research in Practice.

For more information, click here.

This event will be streamed for an online audience. 

Please register here to receive the link.

Statistical Consulting Network 2020 Meeting 

This virtual meeting  will take place 7-9 December. Doug Zahn (Florida State) and Nancy Briggs (UNSW Sydney) are confirmed keynote speakers and there are three parallel (two at a time) contributed sessions on:

  • The human side of consulting
  • Experiences in consulting and mentoring
  • Short courses and teaching
  • Case studies and big data
  • Models for consulting units
  • Project management 

As you can see, there is something for everyone interested in any aspect of consulting as a statistician.  

The format allows for lunch-time (timezone and feeding habit-dependent, we know) discussion sessions on topics such as  

  • How can we better support consultants working on their own?
  • If we had a webpage of introductory statistics resources to direct clients to, what should go on it?
  • What advice would you offer to someone starting their own consultancy?

Other topics can be set up too. 

Take a look at the draft program:

Registrations are still open.

Registrations are open until 25 November 2020

Help us spread the word about GStat Accreditation

SSA’s Accreditation Committee needs help advertising its GStat Accreditation program to Australian universities. If you work in the Statistics Department of a university or you have other opportunities to speak with students of statistics,  please tell them about GStat accreditation. We believe that GStat accreditation may be the one difference between your student and another qualified, non-accredited candidate, that may land your student or graduate “that” job.

Find out more about GStat Accreditation

Advancing Analytics 2020 -  “If not now, when?” (17-18 November 2020)

is the IAPA national conference for the true analytics and data science professional.
Presented by IAPA, the 2020 virtual conference features speakers to who will share their experience and lessons learned so you can stay up to date with analytics in business, be inspired by peers using data for good and network with like-minds. Delivered virtually and live, all sessions will include dedicated time for speakers to answer your questions face-to-face (virtually).
“If not now, when?” explores all the reasons why now is the exact time organisations should seek out their analytics team, pore over data insight reports and balance agility with real-time trends and analysis to select the best path forward.
It also brings together the top analytics leaders in Australia for indepth, face-to-face discussions with attendee on ten topics that matter today and tomorrow for anyone working in data, analytics or data science.
Don’t miss this chance to learn from leaders, join in the community and discuss key issues – sessions will not be recorded so clear your mornings on 17 and 18 November now so you can attend live!

Buy tickets via IAPA sister association ADMA

ACEMS, the Australian Data Science Network, QUT Centre for Data Science, and Integrity Systems Co. (ISC) have joined forces to co-host a Data Science Workshop on 27 November 2020, to explore the latest research in data integration, data quality, and data management and visualisation, as well as challenges and opportunities highlighted by ISC and industry guests.

Workshop participants will also learn about an upcoming Integrity Data Hackathon in early 2021, providing an opportunity to apply knowledge and capabilities to key industry challenges and opportunities – such as improving supply chain traceability, compliance, biosecurity, or industry profitability – harnessing industry and other datasets. 

The workshop presents various opportunities for students, researchers, and industry partners, to get involved, and share your research knowledge/outputs. We invite you to submit your expression of interest (EOI) to attend, present, and/or contribute now.

If you would like to attend, please complete this form.

Previously advertised

Should statisticians all work from home even after lockdown? Join us for a virtual debate

17 Nov 2020, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Find out more and register here

Looking for an Event Coordinator (paid position)

This is a paid role, 6-8 hours a week, to help the SSA office manage the many online events that are currently being hosted. If you can think of someone who might be interested, please pass on this position description to them. Applications close 8 November.

CPD mentoring sub-committee – MEMBERS WANTED!

Statisticians frequently find themselves in fairly unique work positions, often the only statistician or one of few statisticians working within multidisciplinary teams. This can lead to less experienced statisticians feeling isolated and unaware of how to grow and develop within the profession. One way to support emerging professional statisticians in developing the personal and professional skillset needed to be successful in the workplace is via mentoring.

The Continuous Professional Development committee is seeking new members to help support the development of a SSA mentoring program based on the program piloted by the Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Section in 2020. This program will be launched in 2021 and CPD mentoring sub-committee members are required to help support the expansion of the program, reaching out to other SSA Sections and Branches to build a mentor list and work closely with the Early Career & Student Statisticians Network to link mentors with mentees. We encourage people from all backgrounds, employment sectors and experience levels to reach out and are committed to having a team that is made up of diverse skills, experiences and abilities. We actively encourage those of you who may not have been actively involved in the SSA in the past to reach out to help expand and diversify our SSA community. If you are interested in becoming involved, please send an email including a couple of paragraphs about yourself and why you want to be involved in the program to Karen Lamb at by November 13th. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want any further information.

The Statistical Society of Australia warmly invites you to a workshop on

Data Wrangling with R, taught by Dr. Emi Tanaka

1-2 December 2020, 1:30pm-5:00pm(AEDT).

Data wrangling is one of the first key steps necessary before downstream analysis such as visualization or modelling. This workshop will teach you how to wrangle data in the statistical language R using the tidyverse suite of packages, i.e. dplyr, tidyr, stringr, lubridate and forcats. This will include learning about the concept of tidy data and learning the new verbs in dplyr v1.0.0 released early this year. The workshop will be hands-on with plenty of practical examples and time for participants to work through exercises to put what they learnt into practice.

Find out more and register here

Please join us for the webinar

The Advent of "Grammar": Bridging Statistics and Data Science for the Design of Experiments 

presented by Dr Emi Tanaka

on 27 November 2020, 1pm AEDT via Zoom. 

Statistics is a valuable tool for almost all scientific fields and industry to make sense of their data, yet as a field we lag behind to remain relevant, getting superseded by the so-called data science. What differentiates statistics from data science? And how does the design of experiments fit in with data science? 

In this webinar, Dr Emi Tanaka will talk about the concept of the "grammar" and the momentum it is gaining to make data analysis more accessible to a diverse group. She'll then present her prototype to the "grammar of experimental design" - a framework to construct the design of comparative experiments that cognitively enforces the experimental structure. She’ll explain some principles behind this prototype, showcase how her developmental R-package edibble will work, and how she thinks it helps to bridge the gap between experimental design theory and practice for the wider community.

Register here

The Bayesian Section of the SSA is pleased to announce the following webinar 

Computing Bayes: Bayesian Computation from 1763 to the 21st Century 

with Gael M. Martin on 11 November 2020 at 4:00PM (AEDT).         

About this webinar:

The Bayesian statistical paradigm uses the language of probability to express uncertainty about the phenomena that generate observed data. Probability distributions thus characterize Bayesian inference, with the rules of probability used to transform prior probability distributions for all unknowns - models, parameters, latent variables - into posterior distributions, subsequent to the observation of data. Conducting Bayesian inference requires the evaluation of integrals in which these probability distributions appear. Bayesian computation is all about evaluating such integrals in the typical case where no analytical solution exists. This paper takes the reader on a chronological tour of Bayesian computation over the past two and a half centuries. Beginning with the one-dimensional integral first confronted by Bayes in 1763, through to recent problems in which the unknowns number in the millions, we place all computational problems into a common framework, and describe all computational methods using a common notation. The aim is to help new researchers in particular - and more generally those interested in adopting a Bayesian approach to empirical work - make sense of the plethora of computational techniques that are now on offer; understand when and why different methods are useful; and see the links that do exist, between them all.

To find out more and to register

Statistics in the Capital...Knibbs Lecture: A personal tour with Raymond Carroll

SSA Canberra invites you to attend this year's Knibbs lecture, which will be presented by Prof. Raymond Carroll (Texax A&M). Prof Carroll will provide a personal tour of his experience in developing statistical methods to understand how to measure dietary intakes in a population and how to relate such measures to mortality and chronic diseases. The lecture will also celebrate the 60th birthday of Prof. Alan Welsh (ANU), and his contributions to statistics.  

Date and time: 

Tuesday 24th November; 12:30pm-1:45pm AEDT.  

Learn more and RSVP here

ACEMS’ final free public lecture for the year with Ellen Broad, 3A Institute, ANU:

The lives and deaths of ethical AI

Wednesday 11 November, 12pm-1pm AEDT

Find out more and book here

In 2020, AMSI BioInfoSummer is going virtual! Hosted by The Australian National University (ANU), attendees will participate online over the four-day program to develop their bioinformatics skills, national networks and employability.

Featuring presentations, workshops and program extras from the best in the bioinformatics field from Australia and abroad, the AMSI BioInfoSummer 2020 program is jam packed. Start each morning with a mix of computational and biology focused lectures and research talks. Then develop your skills during the hands-on workshops. Round out your week with an interactive careers session, ePoster competition and public lecture.

Full four-day conference registrations start from $60! 

Find out more

AMSI Summer School 2021 offers eight exciting subjects by specialist lecturers from around Australia and students can study one or two subject areas including one subject for credit.

Honours and postgraduate students in the mathematical sciences and cognate disciplines are invited to register their interest for this event, as well as researchers and professionals who may wish to get involved in the program extras offered at the AMSI Summer School.

To maximise the students’ experience, the School will feature domestic keynote speakers, researchers and/or lecturers, as well as a number of program extras including social events, a special guest public lecture, a careers session, and a Diversity in STEM panel event.

SSA is a proud sponsor of this event.

Interested in finding out more about Summer School 2021?

Join the AMSI Summer School Mailing List

Tired of surveys but eager to leave feedback? Tell us what you are missing from your SSA membership. Or let us know what we do well. We will listen. 

Contact us

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