SSA December 2018 eNews

Welcome to the very last edition of the SSA newsletter of 2018.

What a busy year we’ve had! There were workshops held by branches, a successful ISCB-ASC18 conference run in Melbourne and lots of nation-wide branch meetings set up with inspiring talks, usually followed by delicious meals in great company. SSA got a new President, a new website and a new database. A trust mark was introduced for our accredited members, adding value to their accreditation status. Members developed a Code of Conduct which will become part of SSA’s Regulations in the new year. An agreement was negotiated with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, making the ABS a valuable strategic partner of the Society; and our partnership with AMSI, also an important partner, was extended for another year.

All these initiatives happened as a result of members like you having a great idea or putting their hand up to get involved. Thank you to everyone for their engagement – be it through volunteering as a committee member, helping out at events or meetings, or by supporting the statistical profession through renewing your membership for another year. You are the Statistical Society of Australia.

There won’t be a newsletter in January, and hopefully you’ll all be so busy with your plans for Summer that you won’t miss it. The SSA office will be closed from 21 December until 2 January. After that my office hours will be sporadic until 14 January, so if the office is unattended please leave a telephone message or send me an email.

Happy Holidays and warm wishes for 2019!

Marie-Louise Rankin, Executive Officer


ABS Partnership Agreement signed!

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Statistical Society of Australia have agreed to be strategic partners in 2019.  The aim of this partnership is – among other things – to build the professional capability of ABS staff; to increase engagement between ABS staff, members of SSA and the broader statistical community; and to work together to improve the statistical literacy of the general public. The agreement will be in effect from 1 January 2019 for twelve months with a view of continuing beyond this time if both parties are satisfied with mutual benefits.

SSA is delighted to advise that as part of this agreement the ABS will be a Platinum sponsor of the Young Statisticians Conference  in Canberra (1 to 2 October 2019). We also planning presentations and workshops around the country, including using summary data available from the ABS in areas like employment and housing, to run regression models. If members have ideas for joint activities then please contact the president Adrian Barnett (


Canberra Branch – 2018 Dennis Trewin Prize

Congratulations to Jiali Wang from the Research School of Finance, Actuarial and Statistics, ANU, who won the 2nd Annual Dennis Trewin Prize for her talk “Analysis of Survey on Menstrual Disorder among Teenagers using Gaussian Copula Model with Graphical Lasso Prior” (read more here). 


19th Annual J.B. Douglas Postgraduate Awards

Congratulations to Tea Uggen from UTS, who won the 2018 J.B. Douglas Award for her presentation “Automated Classification of Post-Stroke Aphasia by Severity” at the NSW Branch’s event in November. Eight postgraduate statisticians from across New South Wales presented their research. Read more here


NSW Branch 2018 Annual Lecture and Dinner

On 28 November the NSW Branch held its Annual Lecture, presented by Professor Ray Chambers from the University of Wollongong. His talk, “Nudging a pseudo-science towards a science: enhancing rainfall in Oman”, gave a fascinating insight into the history, politics and statistics behind proposed methods for increasing rainfall. Read more.


WA Branch November Meeting

Onthe Tuesday the 13th November, 2018 the WA Branch of the SSA met atMurdoch University to hear an Analysis on Nonstationary and NoninvertibleTime Series Models by Professor Katsuto Tanaka from GakushuinUniversity.  Read all about the meeting here.


Kerrie Mengersen elected to ISI Council

This year’s ISI Officers’ elections were conducted from 4 September - 30 October. Congratulations to former SSA President Kerrie Mengersen on her election to the ISI Council! The new team will start its work after the WSC in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August 2019.


Susanna Cramb – Our own Superstar of STEM

SSA is thrilled to announce that SSA member Dr Susanna Cramb has been elected as one of Science and Technology of Australia’s Superstars of STEM. Susanna has been a very engaged member of the SSA for many years. She is always one of the first – if not the first – to put her hand up when help is needed. She chaired the Young Statisticians Conference Committee in 2013, is active on SSA’s CPD Committee and was recently appointed Vice President Membership – a role which involves finding ways to make your membership even better. Read more about Susanna and the Superstar of STEM program here.


SSA’s partnership with AMSI continues for another year!

SSA is pleased to advise that the close relationship between SSA and AMSI will be cemented with a continuation of its partnership for 2019. SSA will sponsor one of AMSI’s popular Summer School courses, while AMSI will in turn support the Young Statisticians Conference 2019 

After having worked successfully with AMSI’s third and longest serving director, Professor Geoff Prince, who will retire on 21 December 2018, the SSA now looks forward to establishing an equally close relationship with his successor, Professor Tim Brown, a past President of the SSA (1991-1993), who will take up the reins in January 2019. AMSI’s media releases are available here.


Science Meets Parliament 2019 - Applications now open!

Science meets Parliament will once again be taking place in 2019 and Science & Technology  Australia will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the event. Unfortunately, at this point in time STA are unable to commit to a date, due to the limited sitting dates in the 1st half of 2019 as a result of the Parliamentary Sitting calendar, and the upcoming Federal Election. They will strive to confirm and announce the date as soon as possible, and by early 2019 at the latest.  If you would like to represent SSA at this two day event held in Canberra, please send an email with your CV to, and let us know in a few words why you would like to attend Science Meets Parliament 2019. Past and ongoing service to the Society will be considered. Applications close on 14 January 2019.


International Visitor Program of the University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute

Applications now open for 2019-2020

The University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute now invites applications from eligible international researchers in the mathematical sciences for funding to visit their colleagues at any Australian university or research institution (including MATRIX research programs), with the proviso that at least 2 weeks of the visit must be spent at The University of Sydney. Applications are currently open for visits in the period October 2019 - June 2020, with a closing date of 11.59pm (Sydney time) on Monday 28 January, 2019. The next application round, for visits in the period April - December 2020, will close in July 2019. Full conditions and selection criteria, as well as the membership of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the successful applicants from the previous round, may be found on the Sydney Mathematical Research Institute webpage. Please direct further questions to the institute’s Executive Director, Professor Anthony Henderson, .

Interested in Pro Bono work?

Have you ever considered using your statistical skills for a good cause? Maybe you’d like to get involved with this initiative by the Royal Statistical Society.

The Statisticians for Society initiative was launched to help statisticians offer their skills to charities and other socially useful initiatives that need their professional expertise. Since its launch the RSS has facilitated the initiative and delivered volunteering opportunities to its members across the UK and overseas by partnering with other organisations. With additional funding received recently, the RSS is looking to further develop the initiative and strengthen pro bono services within the profession. They have made a great start, already matching volunteers with 34 charities.


Have your say in the upcoming Federal election

Science and Technology Australia recently contacted the SSA with an election update and a suite of tools and resources for members to utilise during the election campaign, to help ensure that Science stays of the political agenda. Download your election toolkit here.


Members’ Publications

Published any work recently? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Send us details and we’ll add information about your book to our website, for other members and non-members to see. Please follow the format on the page when sending us the information. To see what is already there, please click here 

Upcoming events:

UoW STATS Week 2019
4-7 February 2019, Wollongong

The Tenth International Conference on Matrix-Analytic Methods in Stochastic Models (MAM10)
13 – 15 February 2019,  Hobart

Chief Data & Analytics Officer Exchange
7-8 May 2019, Chirnside Park, Victoria 

42nd Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Conference 2019
30 June- 4 July 2019, Perth

Australia Sports Analytics Conference 2019
August 2019, Melbourne

Young Statisticians Conference 2019
1-2 October 2019, Canberra

Australian and New Zealand Statistical Conference 2020
6-10 July 2020, Gold Coast

Interested in international events? Please click here.


We are currently liaising with GitHub to see if discounts might be possible for our members. If you pay to use GitHub, please contact either Susanna Camb ( or Marie-Louise Rankin (

SSA Career Centre

Looking for a change? The SSA Career Centre may have options for you.

See current positions available here.

Are you an employer? Click here to see resumes of potential candidates.                                                     


National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (University of Wollongong, Australia) present a series of short courses for STATS Week 2019.

4-7 February 2019, Wollongong

at the University of Wollongong Campus.

Click here for more information.


Accredited Members!

Is your AStat Accreditation current? Please check your trust mark and if you find your AStat membership has expired, apply for reaccreditation at your earliest convenience.