16 September 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

This week the US based website Go Banking Rates published a list with the ten most promising careers for Gen Z workers. The list features jobs that did not exist when I finished high school back in the day, such as wind turbine service technicians (projected job growth between 2020 and 2030: 68%), solar photovoltaic installers (projected job growth: 52%) and information security analysts (projected job growth: 33%).

However, some classics still made the top ten, such as nurse practitioners. (projected job growth: 52%), restaurant cooks (projected job growth: 49%) and, you’ll be pleased to hear, statisticians (projected job growth: 35%).

If you work at a university where the decision was recently made to close their  statistical department, you may want to print out the article and leave it on your Vice Chancellor’s desk. You can read (and print!) the full article here.

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

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WA Branch - April meeting – Luke Prendergast on “Meta-analysis: common traps and misconceptions”

On Tuesday 13th April, 2021, the Western Australian branch was pleased to have Professor Luke Prendergast to present at the monthly branch meeting. The title of his talk was “Meta-analysis: common traps and misconceptions”

Luke is Associate Head of School, School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and Director of the Statistics Consulting Platform at La Trobe University. He has worked on Meta-Analysis for the past 6 years in his career. He gave a talk on certain flaws and misconceptions in meta-analysis and provided recommendations on how these flaws could be overcome using examples from published research. He mentioned that some of the flaws may be due to researchers lacking adequate training in meta-analysis.

Read Fadzai Chikwava's complete article about Luke’s talk here.

WA August Meeting - Investigating Epigenetic Clocks

Western Australia’s SSA August branch meeting took on something of a festive air in what looks set to become an annual event – a special joint meeting with the Australasian Region of the International Biometrics Society. The presentation by A/Prof Nicola Armstrong from Curtin University provided an interesting introduction to the topic of epigenetic clocks. The title of her talk was “Investigating Epigenetic Clocks”. These clocks estimate “biological” age from blood or other tissues by measuring modifications to the epigenome, such as levels of DNA methylation (the accumulation of methyl groups to DNA molecules), that occur as a direct consequence of ageing.

Read the full article by Bethy McKinnon here


Two SSA Members receive prestigious federal grants

Congratulations to SSA members Dr Susanna Cramb and Dr Margarita Moreno-Betancur, who were amongst those awarded National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grants. The announcement was made on Tuesday by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Investigator Grants consolidate separate fellowship and research support into one grant scheme that provides the highest-performing researchers at all career stages with funding for their salary (if required) and a significant research support package. These grants provide the investigator with flexibility to pursue important new research directions as they arise and to form collaborations as needed, rather than being restricted to the scope of a specific research project.

Dr Susanna Cramb of the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Faculty of Health received funding for the research project PLACE (Prioritising Location-based Analysis and Consumer Engagement) for Change. This research uniquely incorporates both complex spatial analyses and lived consumer experience to identify priority areas and propose actionable solutions to help reduce health inequities for cancer, diabetes and injuries. Location plays a key role in Australia’s health inequities yet is usually ignored or aggregated to large regions. This hinders identifying appropriate, localised solutions.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s (MCRI) Dr Margarita Moreno-Betancur’s project will tackle “big data” problems in longitudinal studies by developing new statistical methods for analysing pathways to disease. “Existing tools simply do not work in data-intensive studies such as those using large-scale biomarker datasets or real-time measurements in clinical care,” she said. “I’m aiming to address this critical gap through an integrated research program that will develop solutions, including dissemination to health researchers, as well as advanced capacity in the critical discipline of biostatistics.”

Both recipients received funding support through SSA’s Fellowship Funding initiative. 

Fellowship Funding Support

For 2022 the SSA is once again offering Fellowship Funding Support for our members applying for ARC DECRA and Future Fellowships (Level 1): $3000 to complement your Fellowship activities.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2021. 

For more information and the application form, see the website here.

2022 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize is now open

The 2022 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize is now open. The Prize is awarded for the best paper in the field of official statistics written by a young statistician. In addition to monetary prizes, the first-place winner receives travel funds to present the paper at an international conference. Due to COVID-19, details of the conference are decided in conjunction with the winner and may include the IAOS 2022 Conference in Krakow, Poland.

Note that the IAOS board member with oversight of the YSP, and inspiration for young Australian official statisticians, is Gemma Van Halderen, whose career began at the ABS. Please spread the word to young statisticians you know working in official statistics to consider submitting their work for this prize. IAOS conferences not only are occasions for heads of agencies to confer; more importantly they are an opportunity for people providing methods support to official collections, or contributing to the efficiency or scientific integrity or design of official series and operations to interact with peers from other agencies, or other institutions working on analogous problems. This should be an incentive to provide a paper.

The closing date is 11 February 2022.

Information on the Prize and how to make a submission is available here.

AAMT Scholarship for teachers of Indigenous students

The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers are inviting teachers of Indigenous students to apply for a scholarship to be part of their AAMT conference at the end of September 2021.

Find out more and apply here.

SSA Vic Branch Event: Industry Showcase Night

21 Sep 2021, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM (AEST) via Zoom

For this event, we have the pleasure of hosting a handful of inspiring early career speakers and mid-career speakers, working in industry, who will speak on their experiences. The speakers have been invited to share what they’ve learned, what they’ve achieved, what they’ve enjoyed and what surprised them, as well as, perhaps, what they don’t like, what they haven’t learned, and so on. We also have a number of senior industry speakers who have been invited to provide their sage advice, their insights and general guidance to those interested in developing a fruitful career in industry.

Each speaker will give a 10 minute talk, followed by a panel discussion of about 30 minutes. There we will do some socialising, as well as have an opportunity for audience members to freely approach each other and the speakers.

Find out more and register here.

NSW Branch September Meeting: Sieve bootstrap memory parameter in long-range dependent stationary functional time series 

presented by Prof. Hanlin Shang

29th September 2021, on Zoom from 6pm AEST (Date correction!)

We apply a sieve bootstrap procedure to quantify estimation uncertainty of long-memory parameter in stationary functional time series. To estimate the long-memory parameter, we use a semiparametric local Whittle estimator, where discrete Fourier transform and periodogram are constructed from the first set of principal component scores, via a functional principal component analysis. The sieve bootstrap procedure uses a general vector autoregressive representation of the estimated principal component scores. It generates bootstrap replicates that adequately mimic the dependence structure of the underlying stationary process. For each bootstrap replicate, we first compute the estimated first set of principal component scores and then apply the semiparametric local Whittle estimator to estimate the memory parameter. By taking quantiles of the estimated memory parameters from these bootstrap replicates, we can construct confidence intervals of the long-memory parameter. As measured by coverage probability differences between the empirical and nominal coverage probabilities at three levels of significance, we demonstrate the advantage of using the sieve bootstrap in comparison to the asymptotic confidence intervals based on normality.

Register here

QLD Branch September meeting: Statisticians and the reproducibility crisis

Tuesday 28th September 2021, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM AEST (Branch meeting at 16:30 followed by a seminar-discussion at 17:00) – via Zoom

Statisticians play a key role in almost all scientific research, and so are also key to tackling the reproducibility crisis which is undermining the value of much scientific research. Our role may be particularly important given that many problems with irreproducible papers are due to problems in the study design, statistical analysis and interpretation of results. We must promote more efficient, replicable and credible science, starting today, by being the role-model statisticians that we need for tomorrow.

Four speakers (Dr Sabine Hoffmann, Dr John Maindonald, Dr Terry Neeman and Professor Adrian Barnett) will give their perspective on statistics and the reproducibility crisis, and also give their opinions on how statisticians can help improve the quality of research. We hope to have at least 20 minutes for discussion after the speakers' presentations, so please come along and share your thoughts on this hugely important topic.

Find out more and book your place.

Data Visualisation with R

SSA is pleased to announce this workshop, held on  

6 Dec 2021, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, online

presented by Professor Di Cook and Dr Emi Tanaka.

Data visualisation is a key statistical tool for effective communication and to understand aspects of data and models. The statistical language R is used widely for data analysis and visualization, e.g. the BBC Visual and Data Journalism team uses ggplot2 R-package to create production-ready charts. This workshop will teach you how to create production-ready graphics using the grammar of graphics implemented in ggplot2 R-package. In addition, the workshop will teach you how to construct more complex plots, including maps, and discuss inference for statistical graphics to understand if what we see in a plot is really there. The workshop will be hands-on with plenty of practical examples.

For more information and to register click here.

September Environmental-Statistics Seminar (Jenny Wadsworth, Lancaster)

Unfortunately this event had to be cancelled.

The NSW Branch of SSA is pleased to offer the following two-day online workshop:

An Introduction to Bayesian Modelling Using Greta

presented by Professor Nick Golding

on 16 Nov 2021 – 17 Nov 2021.

Nick Golding is an infectious disease modeller with a focus on globally-important pathogens. Nick's work combines mathematical and statistical modelling, ecology, public health, and research software engineering.

After this course you will be able to:

  • Fit and predict from Bayesian generalised linear models in greta
  • Check model convergence and fit (including prior and posterior predictive checks)
  • Summarise MCMC outputs
  • Be able to fit more advanced models including mixture and hierarchical models
  • Create visualisations and tables of the model outputs for use in understanding model fit and for publication.
For more information and to register click here.

Missed any webinars or branch events?

We recently uploaded new recordings to the SSA website. Only SSA members have access to these recordings:

Can a digital, geospatially enhanced data ecosystem incorporate Indigenous defined protocols, principles and approaches to achieve data democracy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? -Darren Clinch

Biostatistics collaborations in Health and Social research: The road taken- Alberto Nettel-Aguirre

The Science of Survival in Game of Thrones - Reidar Lystad

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