28 October 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

On Monday this week, members of SSA had the opportunity to attend a Mental Health and Well-being webinar, presented by Desiree Dickerson. It was an hour well-spent because Desiree equipped her webinar audience with helpful tools for living in a world impacted by COVID. She advised us to be kind to ourselves, and even rewrite the rulebook if we are struggling with (usually self-imposed) rules. She advised us not to be so hard on ourselves if we are just not as efficient as we were pre-COVID. Desiree presented very well and I am sure most people will find her webinar extremely helpful. A recording of the webinar will be available here until 8 November.   

During the Q&A following Desiree’s talk, one of our younger members, an international student, asked for advice for battling home-sickness. She told us how she was regularly thinking about abandoning her studies in Australia to go home, because she misses her family dreadfully.

I know from personal experience how bad homesickness can be. I still miss my family in Germany, even though Australia has been by home for 25 years now.  If I feel like this, at my age, with a wonderful husband and two mostly wonderful children around me, how would a young person feel, who has been here only a few years and has no family whatsoever?

According to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australia hosted 545,541 students on a student visa during the first half of 2021. These are young people having to rely on Zoom and Facetime to see their mums and dads. There are no trips home to get a refill of love and hugs.

I am writing about this today, because I know that many of our members are academics, who probably deal every day with students who have not had the opportunity to be with their family for almost two years. If you are not already doing so, please keep an eye out for them and offer support. Now that the restrictions have eased, consider going out for lunch with them. Have them over for a Sunday roast or BBQ. Make it a regular thing. Be their family for a while.

And if you are a young student struggling with homesickness: reach out to the people around you and tell them how you feel. I’m sure there are many people in your life who would be more than happy to “adopt” you temporarily.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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A numbers game’: the hidden work of football statisticians

If you have an affinity for numbers, studying statistics is an excellent choice. Now if you love sports AND statistics, becoming a sports statistician is a no-brainer! In his article “‘A numbers game’: the hidden work of football statisticians” (The Guardian, 27 October 2021) Richard Foster explains how statisticians are involved in the sport itself and any media coverage of the games. “Before any Premier League is broadcast live, a statistician will compile a 25,000-word document detailing every eventuality.”  

Want to know more? Read the article here.

APBG Scholarship Winners AnnouncedAPBG Scholarship Winners Announced

Congratulations to Bob Xia and Sarthak Das

The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group (APBG) are pleased to announce the winners of the APBG Statistics and Data Science Collaboration scholarship. We would like to congratulate Bob Xia (Statistician) and Sarthak Das (Data Scientist) for being selected for this award. Thank you also to all the candidates for their applications, which were of a very high standard.

Bob and Sarthak will work together on a large simulated dataset provided by the APBG to find an algorithm that best fits the data. They will explore the different approaches biostatisticians and data scientists have of answering important clinical questions. We look forward to hearing from them at an upcoming APBG meeting. 

This scholarship opportunity was provided by APBG, in partnership with the SSA.  The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group is a not-for-profit association of pharmaceutical industry statisticians in Australia, whose mission is to ensure high statistical standards within Australia to assist in the decision processes which provide safe, efficacious and cost-effective health care products produced in a regulated environment for the health and quality of life of people.

For more information on the scholarship, please see the original posting

Time Series Data Minding with Python

18 -19 November 2021, online

The WA Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia warmly invites you to a workshop on Time Series Data Mining with Python, presented by Dr Manuel Herrera of the University of Cambridge (UK). This workshop consists of two sessions, on 18th (Thursday) and 19th (Friday) of November 2021.

Manuel is a Research Associate in distributed intelligent systems at the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge and a Royal Statistical Society Fellow. He works on engineering statistics and predictive analytics for smart and resilient critical infrastructure, having many years of experience on the management and maintenance of the UK national infrastructure.

This two-day workshop aims to enable students and practitioners in data science to add methodologies of time-series data mining to their skill-set for future applications both for academic and industry projects. After an introduction to Python for time series analysis, the workshop explores data mining techniques for pattern extraction in time series, ranging from dimensionality reduction to anomaly detection. Participants will benefit from data wrangling for time series analysis with Python on the first day and a practical overview of time-series data mining tools on the second day.

Find out more and register here

The Vic Branch presents: Algorithmic Fairness: Choices, Assumptions, and Definitions by Shira Mitchell.

Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021, 8:00 AM (AEDT), held online

A recent wave of research has attempted to define fairness quantitatively. In particular, this work has explored what fairness might mean in the context of decisions based on the predictions of statistical and machine learning models. The rapid growth of this new field has led to wildly inconsistent motivations, terminology, and notation, presenting a serious challenge for cataloging and comparing definitions. This article attempts to bring much-needed order. First, we explicate the various choices and assumptions made—often implicitly—to justify the use of prediction-based decision-making. Next, we show how such choices and assumptions can raise fairness concerns and we present a notationally consistent catalog of fairness definitions from the literature. In doing so, we offer a concise reference for thinking through the choices, assumptions, and fairness considerations of prediction-based decision-making.

To register click here

QLD Branch Meeting: Statistical Methods in Meta-Analysis with Applications in Health Sciences

24 November 2021, 3:00pm AEST, online (followed by a branch meeting at 4:00pm AEST)

Although originated in education (c.f. Glass, 1976), and widely used in health sciences, meta-analysis is now being used to estimate the common effect size in almost all disciplines. At the age of evidence-based decision-making meta-analysis has been increasingly used to synthesize the findings of multiple independent studies on the same topic often as part of systematic reviews and with conflicting outcomes. Meta-analysis refers to the statistical analysis of summary results from independent primary studies focused on the same intervention or treatment effect to decide on policies, or clinical practices, or programs. The main objective of meta-analysis is to find an estimate of the common effect size using data from all relevant independent studies and present the results in a forest plot representing confidence intervals along with some key summary statistics. Like many other statistical methods, heterogeneity is an important issue in meta-analysis, and hence measuring heterogeneity is an essential part of it.

Register here

ABS-SSA Symposium on Data Access and Privacy

13-14  December 2021, via Zoom

This symposium is about public data access and privacy and will bring together key stakeholders from the Australian Public Service and academia to consider recent developments and share experience in enabling data access for research while ensuring confidentiality.

This event is free but you are required to register.

Register here

IASS Webinar 11 "Positioning Households Surveys for the next Decade"

presented by Haoyi Chen, from United Nations' Inter-secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys,

Tue, Nov 23, 2021 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM AEDT, online

Household surveys play a critical role in meeting national data needs. A recent mapping exercise found that approximately one-third of all Sustainable Development Goal global indicators (80 out of 232 indicators), covering 13 different goals, can be sourced from household surveys. Despite their fundamental role in national statistical systems over the past decades, household surveys are facing funding challenges and scepticism on their continued utility within the changing data landscape. Within this context, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing challenges for household surveys, given limitations on face-to-face survey operations as a result of social distancing and other restrictions in many countries. A survey conducted by the UN Statistical Division and the World Bank in May.

Find out more and register here

Australian Trials Methodology Conference 2021

6 Dec 2021– 7 Dec 2021, online

This event is being convened by the Australian Trials Methodology (AusTriM)

The organising committee warmly invites you to join them at their first Australian Trials Methodology Conference, which will take place fully online over the 6th and 7th of December 2021.

The meeting program will showcase cutting-edge trial design and analysis approaches in a way that is thought-provoking yet still accessible to bio-statisticians, methodologists and trialists (across any clinical discipline) alike.

To see the extensive list of speakers and find out more, click here.

Canberra Branch Workshop: **Advanced** Data visualisation with R

presented via Zoom by Professor Di Cook and Dr Emi Tanaka

on 8 Dec 2021 until 9 Dec 2021,

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM AEDT

This workshop will build upon the skills and experience acquired from the "Data Visualisation with R" workshop, which Emi and Di have run successfully several times across multiple SSA branches, as participants dive deeper into advanced programming with ggplot2 and extensions for interactive graphics, web apps, and so on.

Find out more and register here

2021 Statistical Science Lecture (SSL) with Scott L. Zeger

Saving Medical Dollars, Trillions at a Time: A Statistical Perspective

The School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS) at the University of Wollongong is hosting the 2021 SSL, to be given by

Scott L. ZegerJohn C. Malone Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA. 

11.00am AEDT on 3 November 2021, via Zoom.

Register here

SSA Equity Membership Scholarships

The SSA’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee has established an Equity Membership Scholarship program to allow people for whom paying the full SSA membership fee would lead to financial hardship to become members of the SSA. Winners will receive one year of SSA membership and be invited to take part in the 2022 SSA Mentoring Program as a mentee. More details and the application form can be found here

Deadline: 8 November 2021.

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).

Deadline: 4 November, 5pm AEDT.

Find out more and apply here

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

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.

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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