13 August 2020

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

I hope you are keeping well during these unprecedented times. At SSA we are very lucky, because despite the struggles that many people are facing at the moment, our membership number remains on the incline. This is very heartening to see because it means SSA remains relevant even while there is so much so worry about. 
If you are like me it's not necessarily big worries that wear you down, but simply the way one day blends into another, with few highlights breaking up the routine. There is not much that can be done about that right now, but I do hope that some of the events listed below give you something to look forward to.

Stay safe,

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer, SSA

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Message from the SSA and NZSA Presidents

Had 2020 been an ordinary year, ANZSC would already have been and gone. But 2020 is far from an ordinary year! Although ANZSC has been pushed back to July 5-9, 2021, this does not diminish the excitement that we, the Presidents of the Statistical Society of Australia and the New Zealand Statistical Association, have for this event. We can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones from around Australia and New Zealand in July 2021.

So why should you come along to the Gold Coast on July 5-9 2021 for ANZSC? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Catch up on the latest in statistical theory and practice from our region;
  • Hear from some leading statistical thinkers from around the world, including Professor Frauke Kreuter and Professor Iain Johnstone.
  • Socialise with colleagues and enjoy delicious food at the conference dinner.
  • See what the future of statistics has in store with presentations from our early career and student members.

2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, and we look forward to celebrating the resilience and strength of the Australian and New Zealand statistical communities at ANZSC 2021!

Jessica Kasza
President of the Statistical Society of Australia 

Vanessa Cave
President of the New Zealand Statistical Association

Help kids with statistics

Would you like to get involved in the national schools poster competition? We are looking for members who are willing to visit their local primary and secondary schools to explain the competition to students and teachers. This is a fantastic competition that engages children with statistics in a fun and creative way. Visits would occur this year and could be virtual depending on the local COVID-19 situation. Members will get a small honorarium to cover their costs. 

For full details contact Peter Howley

National Science Week Virtual Quiz

ACEMS is proud to host a National Science Week Virtual Quiz on Thursday, 20 August from 6 - 7 pm AEST. It will be 60 minutes of fascinating and intriguing science that promises to be fun for everyone to enjoy! While the panel ponders the series of scientific questions posed to them, they're offering you the chance to test your knowledge and win some great prize packs.

The event is hosted by ACEMS' Anthony Mays and he will be joined by a great panel including -

  • Dr Gary Beane is a Research Fellow at Monash University and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET).
  • Professor Jared Cole is a Theoretical Physicist and Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science at RMIT.
  • Dr Rheanna Mainzer is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biostatistics and Data Science at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
  • Dr Jen Martin founded and leads The University of Melbourne's acclaimed Science Communication Teaching Program and is a member of the Homeward Bound Teaching Faculty.
  • Tom Gordon studied Astrophysics, Science Communication, Space Science and Education and is a Senior Science Communicator at the School of Physics at The University of Sydney.

The Quiz will be delivered by Zoom Webinar.

Click here to register

Still on the subject of puzzles: How safe is your back-yard party while COVID-19 is raging?

Awash in coronavirus data, misinformation and tremendous uncertainty, we need to put our risk analysis skills to the ultimate test. 

For the numerically inclined, the challenge is how to calculate the magnitude of personal risk in order to better inform our personal decisions. This month’s Quanta Magazine Insights puzzle is an effort to find the best sources of useful pandemic data, make sense of the numbers, find best practices on parsing the data, and reach reasonable conclusions while spotting misinformation, false conclusions and specious claims.

Read Pradeep Mutalik's column here

Media Release - Science & Technology Australia - 12 August 2020:

Results of a nationwide survey of over 1,000 professional scientists and researchers shows COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the science workforce in Australia.

In a first snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on scientists’ jobs and wages, a survey by Professional Scientists Australia and Science & Technology Australia found despite the frontline role of scientists in the pandemic, they too had been hit by job losses and wage freezes.

In The Initial Employment Impact Of The Covid-19 Pandemic On Australia's Science Workforce, scientists reported job losses, pay freezes, changes to job roles, and limitations on their ability to work due to juggling working from home while caring for children.

At the same time, as an indicator of the central role science is playing in Australia’s response to the pandemic, the survey found almost six in 10 scientists said Australians now placed greater value in science and our nation’s professional scientific workforce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the complete media release here

Are your privacy settings up to date?

When signing up with SSA for the first time, your privacy settings in our database will be set to private by default. You can choose to keep your personal details private or decide to share some or all details with other members only or even with everyone. Simply log into your SSA membership profile , go to the Privacy setting and make your selection. It is recommended that you check the settings from time to time to make sure you are still happy with the way you set them up before. To find out how to do this, please check out this guide. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate ask for assistance.

The Canadian Journal of Statistics

Special issue on “COVID-19: Statisticians in Action – Call for Submissions

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Canadian Journal of Statistics (CJS) plans to devote a special issue to “COVID-19: Statisticians in Action .  They aim to showcase statistical research on the design and analysis of COVID-19 studies, discuss challenges posed by COVID-19 data, identify emerging issues, and demonstrate the importance of a strong statistical presence in collaborations with public health researchers and other scientists studying the pandemic.

The CJS invites the submission of research articles, reviews, or focussed discussions, welcoming papers on a broad range of topics, including the design and analysis of specific types of studies, the analysis of disease surveillance data, statistical issues related to demographic, epidemiological and genetic studies of the disease, and to the evolution of the pandemic and its impact on public health and the economy.

The submission deadline is December 31, 2020. A speedy review will be given to all submissions according to the usual CJS criteria. Please submit your paper through the CJS submission website, specifying that the submission is for the special issue on “COVID-19: Statisticians in Action”. 

The lead Guest Editor is Jerry Lawless (University of Waterloo), and co-Guest Editors are Don Estep (Simon Fraser University), Nancy Heckman (University of British Columbia), Eleanor Pullenayegum  (University of Toronto), Lei Sun (University of Toronto) and Denis Talbot (Université Laval).                            

Submit your paper here

Previously advertised - places still available!

The Statistical Society of Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the University of Melbourne are pleased to announce the following joined webinar:

Can multiple disparate data sources complement each other?

The case of researching economic disadvantage in Australia

to be held on 17 August 2020 from 1:00PM -2:00PM.

The webinar is the first in a series of two with a data integration theme. Through the lens of researching economic disadvantage in Australia, Dr. Anders Holmberg, Chief Methodologist at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Dr. Rajeev Samarage, Data and Analytics Lead at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic and Social Research within the University of Melbourne,  will talk about data quality and methodology considerations that arise when a research project uses many fundamentally different and disparate data sources. 

This is a free event, but you will need to register.

To find out more and to register click here

Discussion panel on Statistical consulting in the 21st century

We are proud to announce a special event: a panel discussion on “Statistical consulting in the 21st Century”, hosted jointly by the Statistical Consulting Network, the Canberra Branch and the Victorian Branch, on

Tuesday 25 August 2020, 11am – 12:30pm AEST (9am – 10:30am AWST)

Featuring the following speakers: 

Alice Richardson, Australian National University, will be moderating this event.

As part of the registration process, one of our speakers, eminent statistical consultant Doug Zahn, invites you to submit your “stumbling blocks in consulting” in communication for discussion!

For more information and to register, click here

Please join us for the following online workshop

Semiparametric Regression with R

to be held from 30 September – 2 October 2020 (11am-1pm AEST each day)

with Professor Matt P. Wand.

Semiparametric regression methods build on parametric regression models by allowing more flexible relationships between the predictors and the response variables. The presenter's goal is to provide an easy-to-follow applied course on semiparametric regression methods using R. This course is intended for applied statistical analysts who have some familiarity with R.

Matt P. Wand is a Distinguished Professor of Statistics at the University of Technology Sydney. 

For more information and to register, click here.

Application now open: Are you one of Australia’s next of Superstars of STEM?

Science & Technology Australia created #SuperstarsofSTEM in 2017. This trailblazing program builds a critical mass of high-profile women scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to serve as role models to inspire young women and girls into STEM. It aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about STEM careers – and lift the public visibility of women in STEM – to make gains towards more equal media representation of women in STEM.

Over the first three years of the program, Science & Technology Australia have developed the profiles of 90 women in STEM. These women acquired advanced communication skills and exciting opportunities to use these skills in the media, on stage and speaking with Parliamentary and industry decision-makers.

This week Science & Technology Australia launched the search to find their next 60 Superstars of STEM to be part of another brilliant and diverse cohort for 2021-22. 

Apply by 31 August 2020

Join us for the following webinar:

Random Effects Inference in Linear Mixed Models: The good, the bad, and the misspecified

held on Friday, 25 September 2020 at 12:00PM AEST via Zoom, exclusively for members of SSA and NZSA.

This event is presented by Francis K.C. Hui and Alan H. Welsh (Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & Statistics, Australian National University) and their talk is a culmination of two projects on the topic of random effects inference in linear mixed models.

For the abstract, for additional information and to register click on the button below.

Click here

Going to a conference/workshop this year? Check out the SSA Canberra young statisticians "rego" grant!

SSA Canberra is inviting young statisticians from the ACT and regional NSW, who are planning to attend a conference/workshop/short course in a field related to statistics or data science, to apply for financial support in the form of a "SSA Canberra registration grant". SSA Canberra will award an amount up to $200 AUD per successful application. 

Please click here for more information!

Data Science contacts across Australia- Can you help?

We would like to compile a list with statistical/data-science contacts. If you have a contact list that you could share, of if you would simply like to add your own details to the list, please contact me. Thank you!

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

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

Statistical Society of Australia |  PO Box 213 Belconnen ACT 2616 Australia 

02 6251 3647 |