4 February 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

As I write this, my thoughts are with our members and their families in Perth. I hope you and your homes have been safe from those ferocious bush fires and remain so.

If you have a look at the newsletter items below, you’ll see that the world seems to be slowly waking up from summer ”hibernation” and we have a few events to advertise. I am sure that many more will be added over the coming weeks, as our branches finalise their plans for the year ahead.

When I was scrolling through the newsletter items I noticed how much opportunity there is at the moment for members to get involved with SSA. Whether mentoring is your thing, or you see yourself as a social media guru and are keen to make good use of your expertise…There is something here for you. Or maybe being able to talk to  your favourite politician has always been on your bucket list? Science Meets Parliament could give you that opportunity. Scroll down and find out more. Lastly, the branches are always happy to hear from members who would like to get involved. 

Have a good week ahead and stay safe,

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

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Apply The Lessons Of Covid To Climate Risk: Scientists

Australia must apply the same expert science-led approach to climate change as it has to the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s peak body for science and technology has urged.

Science & Technology Australia says the nation’s success at navigating the pandemic and managing risks proactively is a model for how to tackle climate risk and transition to a net-zero economy.

STA President Associate Professor Jeremy Brownlie said Australia’s COVID strategy was among the best in the world, using scientific evidence to inform policy, save jobs and protect the public.

“The last year has clearly demonstrated that to protect lives and livelihoods, we need to listen to the scientific evidence and use it to guide policy,” he said.

“That’s a lesson we also need to apply to the increasingly urgent challenge of climate change.”

“The terrifying bushfire season last summer in Australia was a sign of things to come.”

“If we don’t transition to a net zero emissions economy, we’ll see further lives lost, lasting damage to our unique flora and fauna, and more local communities devastated by fire and drought.”

Read the full media release here

SSA Mentoring Program

Are you an early or mid-career statistician looking for support to grow and develop your career? Or, are you a more experienced statistician looking to share your skills and experience with a new generation of statisticians? If either of these sound like you then this program may be for you!

Following a pilot mentoring program hosted by the Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Section in 2020, the Statistical Society of Australia is excited to be launching a new mentoring program for all members of the Society. We are looking for up to 20 mentor-mentee pairs to take part in the 6-month mentoring program.

Our aim

This program will connect early and mid-career statisticians to experienced mentors to provide them with career guidance and to share their experiences to help them achieve their professional goals.

Curious? Find out more.

Webinar: Introducing the SSA Mentoring Program

17 February 2021, 1:00PM-2:00PM AEDT

Dr Karen Lamb, University of Melbourne and SSA Continuous Professional Development Committee Member

Recognising a need to build better connections between early-career and more established statisticians in Australia, Karen led a pilot mentoring program through the Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Section in 2020. The program involved 10 mentor-mentee pairs from around Australia and ran for 12 months. Karen joined the Continuous Professional Development Committee in 2020 to expand the program broadly across the SSA and has formed a Mentoring Program Committee to support her.

This webinar will provide an overview of the benefits of a mentoring program for the SSA, a discussion of the findings from the mentoring pilot program and an introduction to the Mentoring Program Committee and the program to be launched in March 2021.

Register here

Do you know someone who is stuck for a career choice? Are you trying to get them interested in  becoming a statistician? The ASA’s “This is Statistics” website offers a little quiz, to help them out. I got “Data Journalist”. What are you?

In 2021, ‘Statistician’ Continues to be a Best Job
(from the ASA's "This is Statistics" - 14 January 2021)

From monitoring pandemic impacts, to election projections, to social justice causes, the biggest issues of these times all have one thing in common: Statisticians and data scientists play an important role. So, it’s no surprise the new year’s job rankings put statisticians and data scientists high on their lists, continuing a trend of high rankings on such lists in recent years.

The U.S. News & World Report 2021 100 Best Jobs rated Statistician as the #6 overall Best Job, the #5 Best STEM Job, and the #2 Best Business Job—jumping even higher from 2020. Data Scientist also made the list, ranking as the #8 overall Best Job, the #6 Best STEM Job, and #2 Best Technology Job.

Want to know more? Click here.

What do new variants of the coronavirus mean for us?

Where do these variants come from? What risk do they pose? How will they affect our vaccines? And what can we do about them?

Read Liam Mannix' article (The Age) here

The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes - 2021 - Health and Healthcare

You are invited to contribute to The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA), by sponsoring a question or questions.

Proposed questions to be included in the 2021 survey must be confirmed by 2 April 2021.

AuSSA is an important source of data for the scientific study of the social attitudes, beliefs and opinions of Australians, how they change over time, and how they compare with other societies. This year's survey will include questions on attitudes towards health and healthcare.

Click through for more information about the 2021 survey

AuSSA is a high quality, nationally representative postal survey, with a sample (drawn from the Australian Electoral Roll) of at least 1100 adult Australian citizens in total, sampled at four periods over the year: May, August and November 2021 and February 2022.

Researchers belonging to ACSPRI member organisations may partner with ACSPRI as sponsors of AuSSA entitling you to include additional questions. The fee will be $1,000 (exc GST) per question (i.e. per 'tick') for the full sample of 1100, or $400 to be included in any one of the 4 sub-samples. After each quarter you will receive the data from the ISSP Health and Healthcare module, comprehensive demographic variables along with the data from your sponsored questions.

If researchers are interested in this opportunity or wish to find out more about it then they should contact us via return email at If you could circulate this email to any colleagues, staff and research students who may benefit, it would be much appreciated.

Adam Zammit
Director of Operations, ACSPRI and Academic Surveys Australia

Call for members of the SSA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

The SSA is calling for members who are interested in contributing to the newly-established Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. The EDI Committee, chaired by the SSA President, will meet every one to two months via Zoom, and members are expected to serve a term of one to two years. The EDI Committee will be charged with making recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding how the SSA can ensure that it is a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. Expressions of interest close on February 26, and can be made at the form available here

The Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC) 2021 will be held on 26 July to 1 August 2021. We are delighted to announce that we will be holding our conference virtually!

Early Bird Registration is now available!

When you register for the conference, it helps to be logged in as a member of SSA. This allows the system to auto-fill your contact information and enable any member-only registration types.

This year, we are giving high school students, who may be interested in a career in statistics, the opportunity to join our online conference free of charge. Please feel free to pass on this information to the high school students in your life.
Keep up-to-date and bookmark the official conference website.

Register here

Want to get involved with SSA?

Getting involved with your professional association does take some extra time, but it is a great way to meet other professionals at all career stages in your area of interest. At SSA we find that those members actively engaged with the Society tend to get more out of their membership.

If you have been thinking of how you can get involved, maybe this is the opportunity to need to take the plunge? We are seeking volunteers for the following vital roles:

2 x Social Media Enthusiasts

Main task:

  • Assist in maintaining the Society’s Twitter and/or Facebook account by posting about events, news and curating content for both platforms

Ideally you are

  • Able to dedicate up to 20 hrs a year
  • Familiar with the structure of major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Versatile, and adaptable

Some prior knowledge of social scheduling and analytics tools such as Hootsuite, or Tweetdeck would be beneficial but not essential.

1 Video Editor

Main task:

  • ·         Assist with editing SSA’s webinar and seminar videos and upload them to SSA’s
  • YouTube channel

Ideally you would be able to

  • ·         Dedicate up to 20 hrs a year

Some prior knowledge with video editing would be beneficial (imovie, adobe etc.).

Does this tweak your interest? Contact Carmen Lim for more info and to apply for any of these volunteer roles.

ViCBiostat Summer School 2021 (Week 1): Multiple Imputation - Workshop 

Online from 15 Feb 2021 to 19 Feb 2021

Multiple imputation has become a de facto standard for handling missing data in epidemiological and clinical research. With a combination of lectures and computer practicals (Stata and R), this workshop will cover advanced topics in multiple imputation that are critical in modern research studies.

Please join us for this series of online, half-day workshops. For further information please contact or series convenor Dr Cattram Nguyen.

For more information click here

Spatial and Temporal Statistics Symposium

Online from 17 Feb 2021 to 19 Feb 2021

The STSS is sponsored by MATRIX and AMSI, and is designed to get PhD/Masters/Honours students with similar interests together, although we definitely welcome more senior researchers. The program includes a couple of tutorials, a couple of keynotes, and invited talks from academics and industry professionals, with space allowing for a number of talks from students on the topic. Registration is free and funding is available for post-symposium collaborative projects.

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Distinguished Professor Noel CressieUniversity of Wollongong (keynote)
  • Doctor Andrew Zammit MangionUniversity of Wollongong (Tutorial)
  • Doctor Michael BertolacciUniversity of Wollongong (Tutorial)
  • Doctor Susanna CrambQueensland University of Technology (Invited academic talk)
  • Doctor Petra KuhnertCSIRO (Invited industry talk)
Further information can be found here

Save the Date!

SA Branch Meeting - Wednesday, 17th February 2021

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM ACDT (from 6:30 PM AEDT) via Zoom

Stay tuned for more information about the February seminar from the SA Branch.

Previously advertised

Science Meets Parliament 2021

SSA is delighted to announce that in 2021 it will be once more involved in Science & Technology’s Science meets Parliament . This year marks the 21st time STA has held this flagship event since it was created in 1999.

For the first time ever, it will be held in a mostly virtual format. This will enable it to be both COVID-safe and bigger than ever - with virtual attendance opening up access for STEM professionals and politicians across the country.

For 21 years, STA has been developing the advocacy skills of STEM professionals and connecting them to decision makers to nurture strong relationships between the STEM sector and Government, policymakers and the Parliament.

The SmP21 event series will be delivered from 2 March – 1 April. It will include pre-conference sessions from 2 – 11 March, the main conference from 15 -17 March, Parliamentary meetings from 18 March – 1 April, a National Gala Dinner to be held in person on March 29, and several other great add-on sessions to be announced in coming months. A very strong line-up of excellent speakers will start being announced shortly.

More details, including the program, can be found here.

SSA will sponsor one member to attend STA’s signature event. Early career statisticians are particularly encouraged to apply. Please email your expression of interest, explaining your reasons why you think this event could be of benefit to you, and your CV to before 8 February 2021.

In addition, 2021 STA are offering members the opportunity to apply for eight scholarships to attend the 21st-anniversary Science meets Parliament.

Two (2) Scholarships are open to STEM practitioners in each of the following categories: 

  • Indigenous STEM Scholarships for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people
  • STEM Pride scholarships for people who identify as LGBTQI+
  • Regional STEM scholarships for STEM practitioners who work in remote or regional Australia (>150km from a major capital city)
  • Technology scholarships for STEM practitioners working in the technologically based areas of engineering and information technology.

Applications should be made directly to STA and will close on 17 February 2021, with recipients to be contacted by 23 February and an announcement made shortly after.

Any questions about this additional opportunity should be taken up with Science and Technology Australia.

You will find more information and the application form here.

The Science & Technology Australia STEM Ambassador Program 

The Science & Technology Australia STEM Ambassador Program connects STEM professionals with their local MP to help bridge the gap between science and government in Australia.Science & Technology Australia STEM Ambassadors represent electorates across Australia and have been matched with their local MPs from the political spectrum who have expressed a desire to build stronger scientific networks.

For more information check out the Program Outline and the Statement of Expectations

Applications for the 2021 Program close midnight, 7 February 2021

Find out more and apply here

If you have news from the Australian statistical community to share in Stats Matters and Events, please get in touch with us! We love getting feedback too.

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

02 6251 3647 |