4 November 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

Every four months or so, the Central Council of the Society meets. The Central Council is a big group: it includes the Society’s Executive Committee and representatives from each of the Society’s Branches, among others. These meetings are full of wide-ranging discussions about how the Society can best serve its members. That there are so many people from across the country who volunteer their time to serve the Society, and who care so much about our members, is something that I find very inspiring.

The Central Council met last week, and at that meeting Marie-Louise, the Society’s Executive Officer, announced that the Society has now reached a major milestone, with our 1000th member joining sometime in October. It is great to see that so many people are interested in supporting what the Society does, and I am glad that you are all here!

After the celebrations had subsided, the Central Council had a key item of business to attend to: the election of the Society’s new Vice President (who will go on to serve as President for two years after a year as VP, and then, after those two years as President, will return to the role of Vice President for a final year: a four-year commitment to the Society in total). I am very pleased to announce that Professor Ian Gordon, Director of the Statistical Consulting Centre at the University of Melbourne, was elected to the role. Ian has a long history of service to the Society and brings a wealth of Society experience to the role: in fact, he was awarded a Society Service Award in 2020 to honour his contributions to the SSA. I worked with Ian during my time on the Victorian Branch Council, and I am looking forward to working with Ian again. Welcome, Ian!

As we welcome a Vice President, we also bid farewell to a Vice President. Professor Adrian Barnett, SSA President 2018-2020, has now completed his four-year term of service to the Society. During these four years, Adrian introduced a raft of initiatives aimed at bringing greater benefits to our members, ensuring the diversity of our Society, and increasing the support the Society offers our early career members. These initiatives include the Society’s partnership in the production of Significance magazine, PhD Top-Up scholarships, and Fellowship Funding awards. On behalf of all of our members I would like to extend my thanks to Adrian for his work over the past four years. Thank you, Adrian!

Jessica Kasza
SSA President

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Congratulations to our Dennis Trewin prize winners for 2021!!!  

SSA Canberra is delighted to announce that Ali Shojaeipour (University of New England) and Xian Li (Australian National University) are the joint winners of the 2021 Dennis Trewin prize! Both winners received $1,000 and had the opportunity to showcase their high quality research at the SSA Canberra branch meeting in October.

The Dennis Trewin prize, named after the former Australian Statistician, is awarded for postgraduate research in statistics or data science conducted within the ACT or regional NSW. Applicants were asked to submit a short recorded talk on their research, which was then reviewed by an external selection panel. 

At the October branch meeting, Ali presented his research on the advantages and existing barriers in the biometric identification of cattle. The research involved the application of advanced deep learning techniques such as transfer learning and fine tuning to achieve a high accuracy method of identifying cattle using images of their muzzles. Compared to existing methods of cattle identification, this machine learning approach is significantly less intrusive and harmful to the cattle.

Following Ali’s talk, Xian presented his research on subbagging variable selection. Subbagging is a computationally efficient alternative to bagging that is especially useful in big data settings. Xian presented his theoretical results on the asymptotic properties of a subbagging estimator for variable selection, and demonstrated the effectiveness of this estimator using applied examples.

We would like to congratulate and thank Ali and Xian for sharing their research, Dennis and the selection panel for their involvement, and the SSA executive for providing sponsorship of the prize from overall society funds.

By Nelson Chua, on behalf of the SSA Canberra council.

Which Countries Are Meeting Their Paris Agreement Goals?

This past week everyone’s attention was back to climate change and emission targets.

Curious to see how Australia fits in with the rest of the world? To see a chart showing selected national emission reduction goals and projected achievements by 2030, click here.

NSW  Branch Oct (early Nov) Virtual Meeting: Statistical Methodology Development and Software Dissemination- Prof. Matt Wand

10th November 2021, on Zoom from 6pm AEDT.

Statistical Methodology Development and Software Dissemination

Professor Matt Wand has been involved in statistical methodology research since the mid-1980s. During the second millennium, the internet either did not exist or was in its infancy and software dissemination was primitive. The advent of the internet and the establishment of websites such as the Comprehensive R Archive Network, which officially started February 2000 - have had a profound impact on applied and methodological statistics.

In this lecture, Matt will discuss statistical methodology development in the context of this relatively new era of organised software dissemination. He will address specific questions like:

- Are traditional reward systems concerning promotion, grants, and other awards compatible with the organised software dissemination sea-change?

- Who are the heroes and role models?

- And what it is really like to produce and disseminate polished user-ready software after you have developed a new statistical method?

Register here

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

NSW Branch November Virtual Meeting: COVID-19 and Turnover in the Australian Labour Market - Dr. Gabriela Nodari

16th November 2021, on Zoom from 6pm AEDT.

Job turnover in Australia fell sharply at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but rebounded quickly from late 2020 to be at its highest point in more than a decade. This analysis explores the drivers behind the recent pick-up in turnover. Our results show that the increase in turnover has been broad-based across occupations and sectors, but most prominent amongst professionals and in the business services and household services sectors. The most common reason for leaving a job is to find a better one or seek a change; this partly captures workers ‘catching-up’ on job changes that were put on hold in 2020, but could also reflect workers re-evaluating career choices and switching to more stable jobs. Consistent with this, some contact-intensive occupations and industries have seen larger increases in employee exits relative to pre-pandemic levels. The increase in job turnover, if persistent, could lead to higher wages growth and labour productivity.

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

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

Biostatistics and SARS-CoV-2: research, policymaking, and communication

A talk by Professor Geert Molenberghs

25 Nov 2021, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM (AEDT), via Zoom

The ANU RSFAS invites you to an online seminar by Professor Geert Molenberghs, as he discusses the role biostatisticians can and actually should play a role in the response

The COVID-19 pandemic, induced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is literally a rare event in the course of history. We need to go back to 1918 for an even worse pandemic, the Spanish Flu, or H1N1, although we also had the tuberculosis pandemic in the interbellum; there was the Russian flu in 1890 (maybe also a coronavirus and not influenza), and the plague that literally haunted the world for several centuries.

When there are no antiviral means to speak of, and in the absence of vaccines, time-honored non-pharmaceutical interventions enter stage. Apart from controlling the epidemic, for better or for worse, they generate side effects, for society, its well-being, and for the economy. Based on data and imperfect evidence, the biostatistician contributes to understanding what has happened and is happening, is able to separate signal from noise in predictions for the short- and mid-term future.

Biostatisticians can, and actually should play a role in the response to the COVID-19 crisis, ranging from mathematical and statistical modeling, over day-to-day monitoring,to scientific and government committee work and policy making. We place the mathematical and statistical work done against the background of its use towards policy making, public communication, and outreach in real time. Attention is given to the post-pandemic era, in terms of pandemic preparedness.

Professor Molenberghs currently advises the Belgian government based on statistical analysis of the impact of COVID-19 control measures, occurrence of COVID-19 in different statistical and professional sectors and on COVID-19 related excess mortality.

Find out more and get the Zoom link here

AMSI Summer School 2022

A hybrid event hosted by University of Technology Sydney

10 January – 4 February 2022

Study up to two of the eight honours-level mathematical science subjects with specialist lecturers from around Australia. You can even take a subject for credit! Deepen your knowledge, explore a new branch of mathematics or get a fresh perspective on your research.

With program extras including social events, special lectures and a Careers Day featuring potential employers, there has never been a better time to expand your mathematical world. They welcome all honours and postgraduate students, and early career researchers in the mathematical sciences and cognate disciplines to join them.

Scholarships available.

For more information and to register click here

IAPA the Festival of Analytics Goodness

Join the analytics community in the Festival of Analytics Goodness

16 & 17 November 2021

Data and analytics stands on the cusp of reinventing  businesses, industries and economies. That’s a powerful place to be. That power is being used to benefit not only the bottom line but customers, citizens, communities, society and countries.

The IAPA National Conference “Advancing Analytics” is a celebration of analytics goodness across the globe.

Register now for 2 days of:

  • Inspiring keynotes from US & UK experts
  • Interactive roundtable discussions on key issues in analytics
  • Special interest deep dives led by community groups
  • Virtual networking with like-minded professionals
Find out more

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.

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.

ACSPRI 2021 Short Courses - Places left

There are still a few places left in ACSPRI’s 2021 short courses. So if you'd like to squeeze in some professional development before the end of the year, have a look at these courses:

Collecting Managing and Analysing Qualitative Interview Data
18-19 November 2021

Applied Qualitative Interviewing Methods
25 November 2021

An Introduction to Mixed Methods Research Design: Online
9-10 December 2021

Otherwise you can start 2022 with one of ACSPRI’s 5 day intensives. The 2022 Summer Program runs from Jan 17 - Feb 18 . Take advantage of our early bird discount and enrol before December 8.

Check out current job vacancies in SSA's Career Centre here

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