SSA November 2019 eNews

Welcome to the November edition of the SSA newsletter

The last few days would have been tense for many members of the SSA community. As I write this, the fire danger is still rated very high in NSW with numerous fires ongoing, 80 fires ablaze in QLD, and many more still burning in other parts of Australia. I hope you and your families have all come through these last few days unscathed and that you will remain safe during the long hot summer yet to come. I take my hat off to the brave men and women risking their life to keep others safe, and the fantastic people helping out in emergency shelters or hosting people who were forced to flee their homes.

On the one hand I don’t want to watch the news anymore, because hearing about people’s harrowing experiences really affects me emotionally, but on the other hand seeing people rally together and support each other warms my heart and makes me so grateful to be living in this beautiful country.

Please stay safe everyone! 

Marie-Louise Rankin, 
Executive Officer, SSA


NSW Branch September Meeting

Brain Fibres and Statistics

Pierre Lafaye de Micheaux delivers an excellent talk to the New South Wales branch on depth notions for curve data with application to brain fibre research.

Now read on.


NSW Branch October Meeting

Liz Stuart draws big numbers at the NSW Branch

Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health professor Liz Stuart tells a big Sydney audience about dealing with unobserved effect moderators. Read more here.


Vic Branch

Statistics is the Crown Jewel of Data Science (Belz Lecture 2019)

On 31st October, our 51st Belz Lecture, Statistics is the Crown Jewel of Data Science, was delivered by Antony Ugoni, Director of Global Matching and Analytics at SEEK, to large crowd of 200 people.  Read more here


QLD  Branch October Meeting

Automated technologies for Systematic reviews and Meta analysis

This month, a seminar on automated technologies for systematic review and meta analysis was held at the University of Queensland on the 1st of October. Traditional methods for systematic reviews are time consuming and resource intensive to undertake from conception to publication. Findings may be out of date at publication. Dr Alexandra Bannach-Brown described current software and tools to automate parts of the systematic review and meta-analysis process to reduce the time and resources required to complete systematic reviews, thereby producing high quality, relevant reviews. 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


SA Branch October Meeting

Interesting Cases from 35 years of Statistical Consultancy

Dr David Baird is a biometrician with 35 years’ consulting experience, including working with AgResearch for 25 years, where he developed their two-colour microarray analysis suite. David has been one of the main developers of the Genstat statistical package for over 25 years. Examples of his consultancy work include biosecurity eradication programmes and statistical consulting for the NZ Earthquake Commission. David had some very interesting cases to present in a very entertaining way. Read more here.


Young Statisticians Conference 2019

October’s hallmark event was the 2019 Young Statisticians Conference. Young statisticians, Ms Farzana Jahan and Ms Aminath Shausan from Queensland University of Technology won the competitive SSA-QLD branch financial grant for the 2019 Young Statisticians Conference. Ms Farzana Jahan described her experiences in 2019 Young Statisticians Conference here.

SSA-QLD Newsletter correspondent,

Jeeva Kanesarajah, PhD Candidate,
The University of Queensland, School of Public Health


SSA Leads Support for the Introductory Data Science in Schools Project (IDSSP)

The Introductory Data Science in Schools Project is an international project aimed at promoting the teaching of and introductory data science course in schools. The project has reached a key stage, and the SSA is delighted to support the project as they move to the next stage of raising funds to develop the course materials. Read more about the project here.


Update from the Bayesian Section

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.

The symposium on Data Science and Social Good will be held at QUT, Brisbane, on Friday, November 29. The purpose of this symposium is to promote the merger of data science and social good, share success stories, discuss challenges and potential solutions, extend networks, and explore directions for new research. Click here for more details and to register.


B&B networking event

The B&B networking event brought together like-minded individuals to network and chat followed by the NSW Branch October meeting, including a presentation on observed and unobserved effect moderators by Prof Elizabeth Stuart from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A special thank you to everyone who attended, and the NSW Branch and the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Section who supported the event.


SSA Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Section Pilot Mentoring Program in 2020

The Biostatistics & Bioinformatics is piloting a 12-month mentoring program in 2020 and are looking for 10 mentor-mentee pairs to take part. Further details can be found on our website.

We are looking for experienced biostatisticians to assist as mentors for this program and have extended the deadline to submit an expression of interest to 30th November. If you would like to be a mentor, please provide your details in our google form.

If you have any questions about the mentoring program, please direct them to Karen Lamb at

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Karen Lamb on behalf of the SSA Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Section


Sydney lockout laws review highlights vital role of transparent data analysis

A recent article in “The Conversation” by Sally Cripps and Roman Marchant demonstrates how the choices of data collection, pre-processing and analysis can affect policy decisions. Read the article here


Betty Allan Travel Award

Last month SSA announced the creation of the Betty Allan Travel Award. Named after CSIRO’s first statistician, this award ($3000) will support travel of one early career female Stats Society member and/or CSIRO/Data61 staff member currently working or studying in the field of statistics in Australia, to a suitable location and/or conference anywhere in the world. This award will be available once a year.

It is jointly funded by the Statistical Society and CSIRO. Applications are now open and will close on Friday, 29 November 2019.

For more information about Betty Allan and this award, please go to the SSA website. 


UWA Career Mentor Link 2020 Program

The UWA Career Mentor Link 2020 Program would love to welcome more Analytics Professionals on board to mentor our Data Science students in Perth. Find out more here.


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.


Science & Technology Australia announces departure of CEO

In early November Kylie Walker, CEO of Science & Technology Australia announced her departuree from the organisation. After 3.5 years with STA Kylie will take up a position as CEO of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), beginning in early 2020. Read the press release here.


Statistics in the Capital: The Knibbs missing!

For the final branch meeting of the year, the prestigious Knibbs lecture, SSA Canberra is honored to have Prof. James Carpenter speak about perspectives and issues regarding missing data in social and medical research, as he outlines a statistical framework to thinking about and handling missing data in practice. Prof. Carpenter is currently professor of medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Programme Leader in Methodology at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 10 December. Details will be available in due course on the Canberra branch meeting website. Save the date!

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


Upcoming webinars

18 November 2019 -  12:00pm - 1:00pm AEDT, A/Professor Agus Salim,  Modelling Molecule Dropout in single cell RNA-seq Experiment Leads to Improved Identification of Marker Genes

3 December 2019 -  7:00pm - 8:00pm AEDT, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, Communicating risk and uncertainty

Did you miss our webinars with Noel Cressie or Mark Griffin? You can catch them here. You will need to log in before you can view the page. 


A message from our YSC Sponsor - Unibank

The secret to good debt

It may seem like an oxymoron - however borrowing money may be a key strategy in building a stronger financial future.

While living in the black means your bank accounts are never diminished with debit interest - there is a role that debt plays as we progress through our lives and careers.

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Find out more.


Researcher Education and Development are pleased to invite you to attend a
2-part workshop 

Bayesian Logistic Regression in Practice, using R or Autostat

November 19, 2019 - Part 1: Understanding and elicitation - Gold Coast campus

November 28, 2019 - Part 2: Inference and implementation - Gold Coast campus

Click here for more information.

Please indicate your attendance by November 15, 2019


ATSIMA 2020 Conference

Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 July 2020

‘Nhe waŋana’ ‘Nhe djämamirriyaŋana’ ’Speak it' “You create it'

Transforming mathematics education for Indigenous learners

NOW OPEN - Registration and submissions to present

See conference website for details


SSA events you can look forward to:

Machine Learning with Python (closed for registration)
18 November 2019, Melbourne

RSkills Workshops: Building R Packages & R Markdown (closed for registration)
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!