SSA October 2019 eNews

Welcome to the October edition of the SSA newsletter

This is a jam-packed issue and with so much for you to get through I'll keep this introduction very short. Many events have been held in recent months and the branches, sections and committees did a great job writing about them. Not only that, but you'll be able to catch up on some of these events online. Read on to find the relevant links.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter.

Marie-Louise Rankin, 
Executive Officer, SSA


Your Statisticians Conference 2019

The YSC2019, held in Canberra during 1-2 October, offered an excellent opportunity for students and early-career researchers to network with internationally renowned statisticians including Teresa Dickinson (ABS), Calvin Hung (QuantumBlack), Alison Hill (RStudio), Margarita Moreno-Betancur (VicBiostat), Louise Ryan (UTS), Teresa Neeman (ANU), Warren Muller (CSIRO), and Smitha Ramaswamy (Teachers Mutual Bank). The event covered the application of statistics in multiple disciplines, including economics, bioinformatics, agricultural, environmental, and computer science.

Read the full article here.


Victorian students at YSC2019

SSA Vic was delighted to support six PhD students to attend the recent Young Statisticians Conference in Canberra.  Three of them share their experiences with us.  Read what the students had to say here.


Statistics in the Capital...Canberra Student experiences of YSC

The Young Statisticians Conference 2019 held earlier this month was a roaring success. As part of this event, SSA Canberra was proud to sponsor two local students, Zhi Yang Tho and Yuehan (Joyce) Zhang, to attend the conference, listen and present their research, and most importantly expand their network and sow the seeds of future collaborations with other early career statisticians around Australia.

We are honored to have both present their experiences of YSC2019 here

Francis Hui, Warren Muller, Phil Tennant
On behalf of SSA Canberra


SA Branch September Meeting

Partial automation of sampling and data collection to yield better estimates for faba and canola seed emergence projects

The speaker for the September meeting of the SA Branch was Peter Josef Kasprzak. The talk mainly discusses his master’s work at the Biometry Hub, Adelaide University which looks at the use of sampling methods in agriculture trials. The ultimate aim is to make robust sampling methods available to end users such as farmers who may have little computational experience. However, first there has to be a proof of concept for a semi-automated sampling protocol in a typical agricultural scenario. The motivating scenario was a seed trial where the emergence of faba bean seedlings was estimated. Automatic data collection using drones was explored and computer vision and machine learning techniques for image processing was compared in a sampling context.

Please read the full article here.


SA Branch August Meeting

Colourful Statistics – Monitoring Indigenous Rock Engravings on the Burrup Peninsula, WA

The speaker for the August meeting of the SA Branch was a Statistical Consultant Dr Kathy Haskard. The talk mainly discusses her consulting work done at Data Analysis Australia jointly with Dr John Henstridge in 2017. Kathy was highlighted a number of statistical issues, practical difficulties and interesting learning from a statistical review of monitoring of ancient indigenous rock art annually over 13 years, including quantifying colour, spectrophotometers (L*a*b* scale) and spectrometers (reflectance spectra), BACI designs, varying design parameters, calibration, structured longitudinal multivariate data with irregularities, and mixed effects models.

 Please read the full article here


Vic Branch August Meeting

Trivia night in Melbourne

The Victorian Branch organised for some members to attend a quiz night on 14 August, and ended up with two teams from the 16 attendees. Congratulations should be awarded to 9 of the attendees who filled the team who came in first place! As well as congratulations to the other 7 members who were the team to correctly calculate the total running time of the theatrical release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy – exactly to the minute!

Elizabeth Korevaar


Vic Branch 

 Young Statisticians Showcase 2019

This month’s event was a showcase of talks presented by three young statisticians from the Vic Branch.  Read more here.


WA Branch September Meeting

Population Sampling a Mixed Method Study

In the September meeting of the WA Branch, Mr Matt Schneider (CEO of Optika Solutions) presented a talk on “Population Sampling a Mixed Method Study”.

The talk is available on You Tube and on this websiteSee here for more information about the talk. 


QLD Branch September Meeting

Shiny showcase

This month, a showcase on Shiny from RStudio was held at the University of Queensland on the 3rd of September. Prof Adrian Barnett, Dr Thomas Guillerme and Ross Dwyer described how they each use Shiny to display results and communicate research. For more information on this event, please click here.

SSA-QLD Newsletter correspondent,

Jeeva Kanesarajah, PhD Candidate

The University of Queensland, School of Public Health


A message from the SSA President on Climate Change

The Statistical Society of Australia now has an official statement on climate change and the urgent need for action. You can read the statement on our website here. The statement wording was made in collaboration with our Environmental Statistics Section and other experts, with thanks to David Warton. The statement was approved by the Executive committee in October 2019.

Please get in touch with me if you want to discuss this (e-mail).

Adrian Barnett


Greek statistician still faces wrongful criminal prosecution

It has been eight years since Andreas Georgiou (then head of the Greek national statistics office) was charged with “complicity against the state” and “slander”. Andreas was just doing his job, but was delivering unpopular facts and became a scapegoat for Greece’s financial problems.

Andreas has been supported by statistical societies around the world, including the SSA. The American Statistical Association (ASA) issued a recent update here. Continued support is needed, as Andreas is due to appear in court in January 2020.

The ASA is calling for all charges to be dropped, and the SSA support that call. Official statisticians are an important part of a country’s prosperity and planning. They must be allowed to do their job of delivering the best available information without fear of persecution when the results are unfavourable.

Adrian Barnett



to Professor Sir Peter Donnelly who was awarded the Genetics Society Medal 2020 in recognition of his work on statistical and population genetics. Read more here.


More Congratulations

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science has been awarded to Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger of the University of Western Australia, for her input in various categories of maths. These include contributions to group theory, permutation groups, combinatorics and the mathematics of symmetry. The PM's prize is the most prestigious awarded to an Australian in STEM. Cheryl is an inspiration to all young women who are considering a career in mathematical sciences, given the preference in the awarding of these prizes to tangible benefit disciplines such as the co-awardees implicated in a new treatment for cancer. Congratulations, Cheryl! read more here.


Update from the Bayesian Section

On the 23rd of October, Prof. Hugh Durrant-Whyte will be presenting a talk on “Zen and the Art of Bayesian Geology” at UNSW, Sydney. On the 29th of November there will be a satellite workshop of Bayes on the Beach, “Data Science for Social Good.” This workshop will be hosted by QUT, Brisbane. There will also be two satellite workshops on “Bayesian Logistic Regression in Practice” held at Griffith University on November 19 and 28.

Read more here.


Making a start on transforming Data Science education in Australian schools

16 years ago, SSA included in its initial (2003 – 2007) Strategic Plan something called Strategic Objective 8: 

Promote the development and adoption of a [national] statistics course for Years 11 and 12 at school, based on the best teaching practices that can be utilised, together with appropriate training programs for teachers.

What has happened since then? Nicholas Fisher provides an update here.


The International Data Science in Schools Project announces our publication of Curriculum Frameworks for courses for students & teachers: visit…. Next steps to be advised.
Interested? Email @!


ISI IFC High Level Meeting on Data Governance
Tunis, Tunisia, 22nd November 2019

Data governance was a topic raised at the 62nd World Conference of Statistics held at Kuala Lumpur in August. A meeting between heads of agencies in Africa and statistician representatives from world agencies is being held in November to explore how data collection can better be managed across national jurisdictional borders.It links with the UN agenda for sustainable development, and the Data Gap initiative endorsed by the G20.


Harnessing Our Innovation Potential – Male Champions of Change STEM

Male Champions of Change STEM have released the Harnessing Our Innovation Potential report. The report shares new research conducted by Accenture, surveying over 3000 women and men working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) careers in Australia.

The data shows that while women and men enter STEM with high levels of motivation to solve complex problems facing the world, women are more likely than men to consider leaving STEM. Women in STEM experience significantly more barriers to progression than men and unacceptably high levels of everyday sexism, pointing to a culture in STEM that excludes women, minimises their contributions and devalues their voices. Read more and download the full report here.  

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, spoke at the launch of the Male Champions of Change Harnessing our Innovation Potential report in Sydney on Wednesday 28 August. The full text of his speech is available on the Chief Scientist website.


Question of the month:

Who would you like to see deliver an SSA webinar?

Let us know here.



New micro-credential in biostatistics

The University of Sydney has introduced a new Sydney Professional Certificate in Biostatistics in Health. Designed for those wanting to specialise in biostatistics, the flexible short course will help professionals appraise, design, analyse and summarise quantitative health data and conduct regression analyses.

Find out more



A new "Members Only" benefit for all members of SSA

With origins dating back to 1478, Oxford University Press is the world's largest university press with the widest global presence. They are now offering members of the Statistical Society of Australia a 30% discount on all statistics titles  Please log in to the SSA Members Only page to get your discount code.


Branch Meeting Recordings

Missed a branch meeting? Not to worry! Many of our events are recorded these days and you can “attend” them in your own time by watching them on your PC or device.

Click here to see what is available and don’t forget to check back from time to time to find out what has been added. Recent videos include the QLD Branch October seminar as well as the NSW Branch September seminar.

Interested in last year's events? A couple of videos from 2018 can be found here. Remember that you will need to be logged in to have access.


RMIT ABC Fact Check

SSA's Jake Olivier, a professor at the University of New South Wales's School of Mathematics and Statistics, recently helped  ABC Fact Check with their investigation into the claims made by former deputy prime minister using some clever statistical approaches. Well done Jake! Read the details here.


A message from the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section

The Biostatistics Section of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) was recently rebranded to the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section. To help develop ideas to engage with interested bioinformaticians around the country, our section is looking for enthusiastic bioinformaticians who are interested in becoming active members of the committee steering the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section. As a committee member, you will have the opportunity to contribute to shaping the direction of this Section and organising events such as at the upcoming ANZSC2020. Membership involves participating in one teleconference approximately every 6 weeks and a few hours between meetings to assist in tasks including organising events, social media engagement and developing quarterly newsletters.

We invite both academic and non-academic members to apply to join the committee. The only prerequisite is that a committee member must be a current member or willing to become a member. There are many membership benefits. More information about the SSA Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section can be found here.


Open Banking – the future of banking is here

UniBank is a Silver Sponsor of YSC2019

What is Open Banking? 

Find out here.


B&B Networking Event 

21 October 2019, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM,University of Sydney

·       Co-hosted by the SSABiostatistics and Bioinformatics Section and the SSA NSW Branch, the B&Bnetworking event will be held at the University of Sydney prior to the Octoberbranch meeting.

·       This informal event aimsto bring together biostatisticians, bioinformaticians and other like-mindedindividuals to provide an opportunity for socializing and making connections.

·       All SSA and non-SSAmembers are welcome and encouraged to join this event.

·       Attendees are alsowelcome to join the following SSA NSW branch meeting at 6.30pm where ElizabethStuart (John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) will be presenting.

·       Light refreshments and drinks will be provided.


Upcoming webinars

28 October 2019 - 12:30pm-1:30pm AEDT,  Dr Mark Griffin:

An introduction to business analytics beyond statistical analysis

18 November 2019 -  12:00pm - 1:00pm AEDT, A/Professor Agus Salim, title tba

3 December 2019 -  7:00pm - 8:00pm AEDT, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, title tba

Did you miss our webinar with Noel Cressie? You can catch it here. You will need to log in before you can view the page. 


Statistics in the Capital...Surveys in the digital age

SSA Canberra is proud to host a joint meeting with ABS later this month, where we will have Dina Neiger and Paul Schubert discuss their perspectives on how the nature of surveys is evolving in response to these challenges of the “information age” and the place of probability surveys in the context of this complex landscape.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 29 October. Details will be available in due course on the Canberra branch meeting website

Francis Hui, Warren Muller, Phil Tennant

On behalf of SSA Canberra


2019 Statistical Science Lecture

The 2019 Statistical Science Lecture to be given by Peter Diggle, Distinguished Professor at Lancaster University, UK, is approaching. Peter’s talk will be a Public Lecture at 5.30pm on Wednesday 6 November at the university of Wollongng (28.101 - with pre-lecture drinks at 4.45pm). Please save the date and the time! Please use this  link to order your tickets.


SSA events you can look forward to:

B&B networking event
21 October 2019, Sydney

Network meta-analysis and population adjustment for decision-making
4 November 2019, Sydney

Machine Learning with Python
18 November 2019, Melbourne

RSkills Workshops: Building R Packages & R Markdown
19 November 2019, Melbourne

Bayes on the Beach 2019
25-26 November 2019,  Surfers Paradise

6-10 July 2020, Gold Coast

27 June - 1 July 2022, Darwin

See more events listed here.

Missed some of our newsletters?

Catch them all here.

The environmental stats section is now on Twitter. Their twitter handle is @EnviroStatsSSA

Are you AStat accredited? Is your accreditation up to date? Find out all about SSA's accreditation program here.


See our events listing to see what's coming up!