10 June 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

ANZSC2021 is less than one month away! The detailed program is now available here. There is such a broad range of statistical work going on across our country, and I can’t wait to tune in to hear all about it. The local organisers have been working hard to ensure that we have a great experience online – I’m looking forward to chatting with you!

It’s a bumper year for SSA conferences: not only do we have ANZSC2021, we also have the Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference from 26 July to 1 August. This conference is a great place for statisticians early on in their career to present their work in a friendly environment, and meet other statisticians from around the country. The abstract submission deadline has just been extended until 14 June! I’d encourage all of our early career members to submit an abstract – I’ll be there to see what the future of Australian statistics looks like! 

Jessica Kasza
SSA President

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UN & partners hold first expert forum for producers and users of disaster-related statistics

From 7-10 June 2021, the UN held the first expert forum for producers and users of disaster-related statistics. The expert forum, co-organised by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) and the Conference of European Statisticians (CES), among others, was an important milestone to connect different expert communities including policy makers, analysts, disaster-risk managers, researchers, and statisticians using or producing disaster-related information.

The target audience included experts from NSOs, disaster-risk management authorities and other related governmental agencies, international organisations, academia, NGOs and the private sector.

The Director of the African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Oliver Chinganya, said the forum was an opportunity to discuss pathways to build and strengthen a common statistical framework, including the network of experts among the multiple disciplines and areas of expertise. “There is a growing demand for disaster-related statistics and data in Africa in terms of scale, magnitude of hazards and vulnerabilities when a disaster occurs. Therefore, it is critical that the continent takes stock of the current demand and supply situation," he explained.

Read more about the inaugural forum here

Covid-19: Tests must be more rigorously regulated to protect public

In the UK, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has called for new standards for diagnostic tests to be introduced following testing failures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RSS’s Working Group on Diagnostic Tests, said that action was needed because tests such as the rapid Innova lateral flow test had come to market during the pandemic without evidence of their accuracy for many of their subsequent uses and had been marketed using claims that were not supported by strong studies.

The RSS has called on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to “review and revise the national licensing process for in vitro diagnostics to ensure public safety is protected.”

Read more

The Vic Branch of SSA is proud to present   

Julia for Statistics and Data Science -   Your first steps In statistics and integration with your current platform

8 Jul 2021– 9 Jul 2021 via Zoom

presented by Associate Professor Yoni Nazarathy from the School of Mathematics and Physics at The University of Queensland.

This two day workshop aims to enable R users and other data scientists to incrementally incorporate Julia in their workflow. After an introduction of Julia basics, the workshop focuses on the creation of a simple, yet computationally demanding simulation example. This Julia code is then incorporated in R and Python, illustrating how users may create new performant statistical software using Julia while maintaining existing code base in R or Python. With this exploration, participants will learn not just how to use Julia, but also how to integrate Julia into their day to day statistical analysis which may involve R or Python legacy code.

To learn more or register, please click here.

ECSSC2021 Video Competition 

Submissions will open shortly for ECSSC2021 Video Competition. Working on any research? Put a video together and demonstrate your ability to concisely disseminate your research to a wider audience. Any student or early career statistician (within 5 years of graduation) in a statistics related field is welcome to enter the competition (sorry – previous winners are excluded). There is no entry fee!

For inspiration, please consider viewing previous submissions and winners. All submitted videos have been posted in the SSA ECSSN youtube channel of Statistical Society of Australia.


Data Detectives on the Trail of Black Hole Mergers

Did you know that the first detection of gravitational waves was made possible by Bayesian computational methods?

Register now for this free talk on the key to advancing our knowledge of the universe and its history.

When: Thursday 22 July, online
Time: Lecture from 6:30pm – 7:30pm AEST

Presented by Professor Renate Meyer, The University of Auckland.

Suitable for Year 10 students and up.

Register here for the free event

Attention AStat Accredited Members

We are seeking expressions of interest from AStat accredited members wanting to join the Accreditation Committee. Get involved and help other members attain accreditation! Keep in mind that you would not be accredited yourself if it were not for the dedicated volunteers on SSA’s Accreditation Committee.

Committee tenure is usually for three years, but some committee members enjoy their time on the AC so much that they extend to six years! Meetings are held via Zoom every six weeks or so; sometimes just every other month. Accreditation applications are uploaded to Dropbox and the committee members are asked to read them prior to the meetings and then give their view on whether candidates meet SSA’s criteria for accreditation or not. In 2020 we received a total of 33 applications, many of them applications for reaccreditation which are usually very straightforward.

If you are interested, please contact me. If you would like to chat with someone on the committee before making a decision, please let me know and I will put you in touch with a committee member or the Chair.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

Research Bazaar 2021

The Research Bazaar is a worldwide festival promoting the digital literacy emerging at the centre of modern research.

Throughout 2021, events will be held at a number of university campuses around the globe. The aim of these events is to equip researchers from all career stages with the digital skills and tools required to do their research better, faster and smarter. A unique blend of academic and social life, ResBaz is an event unlike any academic conference you have ever been to.

You’ll see links to activities taking place in Perth, Brisbane, Armidale, and Sydney. Many of the course offerings at each of these sites include topics that our members have previously expressed interest in; such as short courses in visualization and data analysis in R and Python, high-performance computing, R Markdown, Julia, reproducible workflows, etc.

Find out more

SSA History Working Group: call for members

The SSA is calling for members interested in joining a working group to help record and preserve the history of the Society and of Australian statistics and statisticians. Initial work will involve compiling a set of profiles of prominent Australian statisticians, but additional activities focussed on recording the history of the SSA will be encouraged. Any members who are interested in joining this working group can get in touch with our Executive Officer.   

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.

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

SSA Career Centre

Unsure of when to begin a new job search? With SSA's career centre, you can start looking for your next job opportunity today. 

In a normal job market it can take up to six months to find an acceptable position, and the interviewing process can push out your start date even further. However, if job postings are unusually plentiful and competition is low, the chances of finding a job quickly improves. 

One of the best ways to ease job search anxiety is to set up Job Alerts on SSA's career centre. Use keywords and filters to start sending perfect opportunities right to your inbox!

Check out the Career Centre here

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. The Canberra Branch has extended the application deadline until 28 June 2021 and is now offering reimbursements to successful applicants who are already registered for the conference.

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

High School Day at ECSSC 2021

The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) will host the Early Career & Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC) 2021 virtually from July 26th to August 1st 2021. As part of the conference, we have set side a day (July 31st 2021) for our future budding statisticians! High school students (year 7 – 12), or teachers of high school and primary students are encouraged to join in the conference.

During the day, registrants will gain hands-on experience in a workshop targeted at the Australian Curriculum for years 7-10 (stream 1) and years 11-12 (stream 2). In these workshops, students and teachers will be introduced to a freely available statistical program and learn how to conduct a real statistical analysis. Each workshop will go through the basics of programming for statistics, producing summary measures, visualising your data, and more.

In the afternoon, information will be available regarding possible career pathways in statistics and navigating statistical learning, addressed by a careers panel with panellists representing different stages of career progression.

Registration is free of charge for school students. Simply upload a copy of your student ID at the time of registration as proof of your student status. As part of your registration, you will also have access to all other conference days which include an amazing line-up of keynote speakers from all occupations, and a diverse range of selected talks from early career & student statisticians.

We'd like to thank  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.

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