7 October 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name}, 

I know that many of our members continue to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Although these restrictions are easing with increasing vaccination levels, it seems that we will all be operating under some level of restriction for some time yet. There is no doubt that these are challenging times for many of us! To help provide our members with some strategies for managing their mental health and wellbeing, we’ve scheduled a webinar on this topic on the afternoon of October 25: find more information and register here. I’ll be there to get some tips!

But that’s not all we’re offering our members on October 25! At 1pm AEDT, we’ll be running a session on the mysteries of peer-review. If you’re an early-career member who is just getting started with writing papers and/or reviewing papers, or someone who just wants a few extra tips, come along to hear from some experts. You can get more details and register here.

Keep your eye on the Society’s events calendar: there is a lot going on at the Society!

I am always keen to hear from our members about what we can do to better serve you: what would you like to see more of? I’m particularly interested in hearing from our members regarding early career memberships: what are your thoughts on the Society’s current early career membership structure (where student membership is followed by a year of transitional membership)?

Jessica Kasza
SSA President

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SSA SA Branch Monthly Presentation:

On 15th of September 2021 Professsor Julie Simpson from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health presented her work on “Mathematical and statistical modelling: An integrated powerful tool for selecting new antimalarial combination therapies”. She shared her wonderful experience of working with the multiple organisations and pharmaceutical companies. In her presentation she showed how a biologically informed within-host model could be developed to successful malaria control. She also showed how Bayesian framework has informed the selection of antimalarial combination therapies which improved individual treatment outcomes. There was good discussion following the presentation and the member thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. On behalf of council members and attendees I would like to thank Professor Simpson for taking time to present to SA Branch.

Murthy N Mittinty

Why Australia Needs A Diaspora Census

Being statisticians, you are aware that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) counts every person and home in Australia through the Census, with the last one having been held on 10 August 2021.

In his article “Australia Needs A Diaspora Census” (21 September 2021, Eurasia Review) author Stewart Nixon, Research Scholar at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, points out that while the Census information is important in helping our government make decisions about domestic transport, schools, health care, infrastructure and business, the Census does not consider a significant number of Australians: those living abroad. He explains that in 2021 it would have been more important than ever learn more about our expats.

Thanks to the pandemic, many Australians overseas have found themselves in desperate circumstances and capturing their data would have been vital for the government to be able to plan adequately  for this group. According to the United Nations, in 2019 roughly 577,000 Australians were estimated to be living overseas.  In his article Stewart concludes: “Developing a census-equivalent for the Australian diaspora would help reinforce inclusive citizenship and provide a vital input to future diaspora engagement policies.”

Read Stewart Nixon’s complete analysis here

Central Australian landscape dominated by Tjanpi, photo by Sara Winter

The Tjanpi Award for best Student paper in Environmental Statistics

The SSA Environmental Statistics section proudly announces a new annual student prize for best student paper in environmental statistics.  To be eligible a student must be:

  • An author of a paper that has been accepted in the previous 12 months, having made a substantial contribution to the work
  • A student at the end of semester 1 this year (June 30 2021)
  • A current member of the SSA and the Environmental Statistics Section

The winner will receive $500 and will be asked to present in an invited session at the next annual stats conference (in 2023).

Find out more and apply here

The SSA Vic Branch’s 2021 Belz Lecture will be presented online by Professor Andrew Forbes on

Tuesday, 12 October 2021, 6pm AEDT.

Andrew will speak about

Tales of clinical trials, tribulations, twists and turns

In this era of COVID-19 we constantly hear about case numbers of people infected, vaccines and epidemic modelling, and, particularly early in the epidemic, randomised clinical trials of treatments for COVID-19-infected patients. In my experience, the general public’s perception of clinical trials is that they are limited to evaluation of new drugs or treatments for particular conditions. Arguably, among some statisticians (including an earlier version of myself), there may be a perception that the statistical issues and analyses of randomised trials are formulaic and rather routine, due to the reliance on the virtues of randomisation. However, this is certainly not the case and there is a fascinating world of randomised trials both inside and outside of drug development. In this talk I’ll focus primarily on trials outside of drug development and discuss my experience with a diverse array of such trials and some unanticipated twists and turns that needed addressing from a statistical or practical perspective.

Find out more and register here

Do you want to have some fun after the Belz lecture? Missing the social interactions or meeting new people in this new era of "social" distancing? Well, here is a great opportunity for you to have some fun and get to meet people! Come join us in a game of virtual escape room. Whether you are totally new to escape room or experienced guru, we have a variety of experiences to accommodate you.

The virtual escape rooms are from

We can only accommodate a maximum of 60 people so please register early if you would like to join!

Do you prefer to just have a chat or cannot commit for 60 minutes for the escape room? We'll have a zoom breakout room for you to have a causal socialisation so come join the event even if you don't want to participate in the escape room.

Find out more

SSA Peer-Review Seminar and Panel Discussion-25 Oct 2021,
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (AEDT), Online

Are you curious about the peer-review process used by academic journals? Have you been asked to review a paper for a journal but not sure where to start? Do you want to improve your own academic writing and chance of getting published?

In this seminar, Dr Myra McGuinness will provide a general overview of the peer-review process. This will be followed by a panel discussion on reviewing statistical methodology papers with Professor Kate Lee, Professor Andrew Forbes and Professor Alan Welsh. This session is targeted at students and early-career statisticians, but we welcome anyone with questions about peer review to join.

It is free for members but you do need to register.

Register here

SSA WA Branch: Next Generation Supercomputing at Pawsey:
Is Pawsey supercomputing getting ‘quikka’? Is it what need?

Presented by Dr Pascal Elahi, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Announcing the October meeting of the Statistical Society of Australia, W.A. Branch.

The invited speaker is Dr Pascal Elahi of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. All visitors are welcome to attend this meeting.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021, 6pm, Cheryl Praeger Lecture Theatre, The University of Western Australia

Join Pascal Elahi during our next meeting to learn about the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre: it's vision, current facilities, and upcoming supercomputer Setonix. Pascal will showcase what has been done with current systems and will let us imagine what Setonix, which will be at least 30x more powerful and far greener, can do for Australian researchers. How might you access this state-of-the-art system? Pascal will discuss how Australian-based researchers can access it for free through merit allocation schemes. He will provide an overview of the workshops, internships and co-funded positions run by Pawsey and how it engages with scientific communities to upskill the next generation of researchers on new technologies increase the impact and scope of their science.

Members and visitors are invited to mingle over wine and cheese from 5:30PM. onwards at the venue.

Following the meeting all are invited to dine with the speaker at a nearby restaurant. Visitors are welcome.

For those that cannot attend in-person, the presentation will be streamed live over Zoom. Please register on this page to get the connection details.

For further information please contact the WA Branch Secretary 

Learn more

SSA WA Frank Hansford-Miller Fellowship: Research in engineering statistics: Current trends and future challenges

The WA Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia pleased to announce that the Frank Hansford-Miller Fellow for 2021 is Dr Manuel Herrera of the University of Cambridge. Due to travel restrictions, Dr Herrera will deliver his lecture via livestream from the UK.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021, 6:00PM AWST

Further information on the Fellowship is found here.

Research in Engineering Statistics: Current trends and future challenges

Dr Manuel Herrera - Research Associate, Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge (UK).

The field of engineering statistics broadly focuses on how to use statistical methods to solve engineering problems, ranging from manufacturing processes to asset management. The first part of this talk will deal with this topic but from the opposite direction: What does it mean to face an engineering problem for a statistician? This question is often overlooked, although it is key to the development of novel procedures and insights both for engineering and applied statistics. Beyond the technical challenges that data handling and analysis may pose, from an applied point of view, it is necessary to solve an engineering problem efficiently and in an explainable way. The statisticians need, firstly, to reach a proper comprehension of the engineering framework and, secondly, to adapt any methodology development to the current data availability and a suitable model-interpretability level. Both aims represent, today, a shift in the engineering statistics paradigm. The first involves working towards a multidisciplinary approach as an innovative way for problem-solving in engineering. The latter revolves around engineering systems becoming intense generators of data, since they are often associated with new disruptive technologies such as the IoT and cyber-physical systems. Consequently, big and complex data are now ubiquitous in engineering and new research directions in network science and time series mining are trending for analysis of (spatially distributed) networks and streams of multiple time series.

The talk, therefore, will address the challenges that multidisciplinary and explainability approaches pose to statisticians. In addition, it will provide an overview of problems and methodologies for dealing with engineering problems of today. This encompasess examples on criticality analysis of telecommunication systems, maintenance of transport systems, resilience assessment of water networks, and optimal management of smart ports.

Find out more and register here

Machine learning with Python

13 Nov 2021, 9:00 AM (AEDT) – 14 Nov 2021, 12:00 PM (AEDT), held online. Zoom link available upon registration

The Statistical Society of Australia warmly invites you to a workshop on machine learning with Python, presented by Patrick Robotham from Linktree. 

Patrick is a Staff Machine Learning Engineer at Linktree. He works to build production ready machine learning and statistical models and has 7 years of experience in industry.

This two day workshop aims to enable data scientists to incrementally incorporate Python in their workflow. After an introduction of Python basics, the workshop focuses on developing Python models in a workflow framework that is most commonly seen in a production environment. Participants will benefit from a gentle introduction to Python on the first day before learning some powerful modelling concepts and tools on the second day. 

Find out more and register here

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.

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