3 June 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

Winter is truly here and when I look outside I see a miserable, drizzly day. All the more reason to put the kettle on, maybe get those Ugg Boots out, settle in with a cuppa and read below what SSA is up to. It is not a long newsletter this time – the perfect length for a sneaky break.

I hope everyone had a good start into the official Winter season. I wish to acknowledge our members and friends currently in lockdown in Victoria and hope that your world will look much better by the time you hear from me again a week from today. If you get bored at home, why not write something for our newsletter?

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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Significance June 2021 out now!


Discover how statistical ideas inform the design and implementation of biometric security systems, and how estimates of dangerous space debris are produced – all in the June 2021 issue of Significance, out now.

Also in this issue, Joseph L. Gastwirth and Qing Shi use three decades of data from a triennial survey of consumer finances to explore the changing face of wealth inequality in the USA, while Sheila Bird offers a personal account of the debate over rapid coronavirus screening in secondary schools in England.


Members of SSA have free access to Significance online. Click here  to find out how you get access. Once you have established your log in details you can also read the magazine on the go with Significance's iOS and Android apps.

Print issues will be mailed to subscribers soon.

Go to Significance online

SSA Member Webinar: A Desingularized Mean Field Approximation

presented by Dr Susan Wei (DECRA fellow, University of Melbourne). 

18 Jun 2021, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM AEST via Zoom

Unlike in regular statistical models, the posterior distribution over neural network weights is not asymptotically Gaussian. As established in singular learning theory, the posterior distribution over the parameters of a singular model is, asymptotically, a mixture of standard forms. Loosely, this means the parameter space can be partitioned such that in each local parameter set, the average log likelihood ratio can be made "normal crossing" via an algebraic-geometrical transform known as a resolution map. We leverage this under-appreciated result to propose a new mean-field variational family for Bayesian deep learning. Affine coupling layers are employed to learn the unknown resolution map, effectively rendering the proposed methodology a normalizing flow with the generalized gamma as the source distribution, rather than the multivariate Gaussian typically employed.

Susan Wei is a lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. She currently holds a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council (ARC). Her research interests include statistics, machine learning, and deep learning.

Register here

Science & Technology Australia and Professionals Australia's  annual Professional Scientist Employment and Remuneration Survey

Science & Technology Australia and Professionals Australia invite you to participate in the annual Professional Scientist Employment and Remuneration Survey.

Through this survey, you will contribute to the most comprehensive benchmark report of scientist remuneration and employment conditions in Australia. The survey will also provide important insights into the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 has had on Australia’s scientific workforce.

Your responses will provide an important glimpse into Australia’s science sector which, in turn, will help us advocate with and for this sector to Government, policymakers and the Australian public. The more scientists who participate, the more comprehensive and meaningful these results will be.

What do people need to know?

  • The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • It is entirely anonymous.
  • It is open to all science professionals in Australia.
  • All survey participants can enter the draw to win one of two $500 JB HiFi vouchers.
  • The survey closes on 27 June 2021.
Take the Survey

Due to a cancellation we now have availability again for the following workshop:

Introduction to Machine Learning for Health Data

8 Jul 2021, 9:00 AM – 9 Jul 2021, 5:00 PM, Flinders at Victoria Square,


If you are interested in detecting patterns associated with diseases and health conditions by studying large amounts of health records, but do not know where to start, SSA and Flinders University are proudly offering this 2 day course with Presenter Dr Oscar Perez-Concha, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney. This workshop introduces the basics for understanding and using machine learning algorithms.

Register here

2021 IAPA Top 25 Analytics Leaders Announcement Event

16 June 2021 from 6pm to 7pm (AEST), online event
Dress: Black tie

In it’s fourth year, IAPA has drawn together analytics and business leaders to select the top 25 analytics leaders in Australia for 2021. Join IAPA on 16 June 2021 in this virtual session as they announce the Top 25 and name the Top 10.

All analytics leaders in the top 25 will be included in a Top 25 Analytics Leaders report and on the IAPA website. Those ranked in the top 10 will be featured online and in the report.

The analytics leader ranked number one will be recognised nationally via an extensive profile in the Top 25 Analytics Report and IAPA website.

Register using this button

Scholarships available for attending ANZSC2021, ECSSC2021 and AMSI Winter School

Several branches of SSA are offering financial support to fund  participation at the Australian and New Zealand Statistical Conference 2021, the Early Career and Student Statisticians Conference and AMSI Winter School.

Schemes and deadlines vary slightly between branches. To find out what your branch is offering, please click on the appropriate blue box below.

QLD Branch
NSW Branch
VIC Branch
Canberra Branch

StatChat is back!

15 Jun 2021, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM  AEST via Zoom

Julie Simpson is our guest senior statistician for this month. StatChat gives members of SSA the opportunity to discuss statistical issues. Bring your questions and come to discuss and or just listen. 

Registration is free

CPD survey deadline extended until 7 June 2021

The deadline for SSA’s CPD survey has been extended until 7 June 2021. Thank you to everyone who has already completed this year's CPD survey. For everyone else this is another chance to have your say in the professional development opportunities that SSA provides, and what you would like to see offered in the future.

The survey will take between 5 to 10 minutes. Please follow this link .

We invite you to complete the survey, and we appreciate your time and feedback.

Thank you!

CPD Committee of the SSA 

ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Courses

This Winter, learn new, or polish your rusty methodology skills by enrolling in ACSPRI's online courses.

Ranging from 3 to 5 days, ACSPRI’s Winter Program courses are 'live' online, applied and capped at 12 participants.

Running from 28 June to 16 July, visit the Winter Program page to see the full list of courses on offer.

As well as their Winter intensives, ACSPRI is offering short, applied master-classes and workshops throughout the year. They have added new courses to the timetable, including repeats of popular courses.

Please feel free to contact ACSPRI on 03 8376 6496 or you can email them at

We would like to welcome our latest 

ECSSC Gold Sponsor


Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia (BCA)

The BCA is a consortium of Australian Universities offering an accredited national program of postgraduate courses in Biostatistics

Check out the BCA now.

We'd like to thank the BCA and our other generous sponsors:

The ECSSC is offering several courses leading up to the conference:

ECSSC Science Communication Series: Honing Your Pitch

16 Jun 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM AEST via Zoom

Convex Optimization for Statistical and Machine Learning with CVXR

24 Jul 2021, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM AEST via Zoom

Statistical Shape Analysis via Topological Data Analysis

25 Jul 2021, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM AEST via Zoom

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 |