24 February 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},  

In 2022, we are marking the Diamond Jubilee of the Statistical Society of Australia. Sixty years ago, in 1962, the decision was made to amalgamate the Statistical Society of New South Wales and the Canberra Statistical Society. Then known as the Statistical Society of Australia Incorporated (we dropped the “Incorporated” in 2015), Pat Moran was elected as the Society’s first president. The particular structure of the Society – where each member joins the national Society, but has their own local Branch – has persisted since then. In addition, members can join special-interest Sections on particular topics of interest that cut across geographical boundaries. We also have two Networks that cut across topics: one for our early career members, and one for statistical consulting.

Although the structure of the Society persists, there has been growth and change within the Society over the past 60 years. The types of data-minded professionals who join the Society and what the Society does for our members has evolved. For instance, anyone who might consider themselves to be a data scientist rather than a statistician is welcome in the SSA: we are a broad church!

2022 will be a year of celebration for the SSA. Keep your eye out for celebratory events and grant opportunities. I would also encourage you to share your memories of the SSA. When did you join? What was your first SSA event? Tell us why you joined, and why you’ve stuck around. We’ll publish collections of these memories in future newsletters. To get us started, I’ve provided a short piece about how much being invited to present at a Branch event as an early career researcher meant to me, included in the newsletter below. I look forward to reading your reflections.

Jessica Kasza

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2010: an invitation to speak in Adelaide

Jessica Kasza

Back in 2010, I was a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen. I’d finished my PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2009, and headed over to Denmark as soon as it was submitted. While I enjoyed my time in Copenhagen, it was a lonely period in my life: my partner and family were still all in Adelaide. I was keen to visit them! Luckily, in April of 2010, I got my chance: my graduation was taking place, and my former PhD supervisor had invited me back to Adelaide as a research visitor for a month. And the cherry on top: the South Australian Branch had invited me to present at their April meeting! For a statistician so early in her career, this felt like an incredible honour.

I tried to find my slides or a photo from that talk, but it seems that my record keeping in 2010 was quite poor. It is lucky that the SSA keeps better records than me: in the June 2010 edition of the Society’s newsletter, there appears a report of my talk written by Julian Whiting. I’m not sure I ever thanked Julian for this at the time, so please accept my thanks now: thank you Julian! Apparently, I spoke about the estimation of Bayesian networks in the presence of exogenous variables. While I don’t remember much about the presentation, and I am sure that my presentation skills have improved a lot since then, I do remember that the audience was very kind. I also remember that I enjoyed dinner afterwards with the South Australian Branch Council (I think we may have gone to Jasmin Indian Restaurant on Hindmarsh Square).

I realise now what a big impact that invitation to speak had on me: invitations like that are so important for early career people. I am glad to see that our Branches continue to extend invitations to people early on in their careers. I am always keen to see what early career statisticians and data scientists are up to!

Please send through your reflections on the Society to to help the Society celebrate 60 years. 

Statistical Study Applied to Europe’s Medieval Literature

Since starting to work with statisticians I have been amazed to learn about the many different areas where statistics have been to good use. Who would have thought, though, that statistics could be used to estimate the number of medieval European adventure and romance tales, written in six languages, that have been lost over time?

Researchers applied the same techniques as those used to account for undetected species in field surveys of biological diversity.

Find out more

Position on SSA's Executive Committee to be filled: VP Communications

Seeking a social media specialist!

The SSA is seeking a Vice President of Media and Communications. This person will work with the established Media and Communications team member to drive the SSA’s engagement with people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.! You can find more information about the role in the document here.

If you want to tap into your creative side, see yourself as a bit of a social media specialist and are keen to contribute to the SSA, or just want to know more, please get in touch with Jess Kasza or Marie-Louise Rankin.

Significance 2022 Early-Career Writing Competition

Are you an early-career statistician with a compelling data story to tell? Think you can take the jargon out of your stats chat? Keen to put your writing skills to the test? “Yes!”, I hear you cry! Well, I’m delighted to hear you say that: it sounds like the Significance 2022 writing competition is for you! The Significance magazine, a partnership between the Royal Statistical Society, American Statistical Association and the Statistical Society of Australia, is seeking applications for the ‘Statistical Excellence Award for Early-Career Writing’. As the SSA began its partnership with Significance mid-2021, we are particularly keen to encourage contributions from our members so get your thinking caps on to come up with some exciting content.


  • Students currently studying for a first degree, master’s or PhD in statistics, data science or related subjects;
  • Graduates whose last qualification in statistics, data science or related subjects (whether first degree, master’s or PhD) was not more than five years ago.
  • Note that you do not have to be a member of the SSA (or the other partner organisations) to enter.


  • Submit your best statistical writing in the form of a magazine article (1,500 to 2,500 words) on any subject you like as a .docx, .odt or .rtf file to, making sure to include the competition entry form.
  • Writing style must be accessible and engaging: you are not writing for a technical audience.


  • Articles will be reviewed by a judging panel with the winning entry (and up to two runners-up) published in Significance later this year.
  • Up to three finalists will win a full registration to the 2022 Royal Statistical Society International Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. 

Still not sure? Check out the 2021 winning entry for inspiration. The closing date is 31st May 2022; further details can be found here.

Do you have an Australia - EU research success story?

Science in Public are looking for Australia EU research success stories. Tell them about your successes and they’ll write up the best of them in their new publication for the European Delegation in Canberra. Simply email Science in Public with any story leads and they’ll take it from there. You can see the previous collection here.

Statistician Answers Stats Questions From Twitter

Jeffrey Rosenthal, Professor of Statistics at the University of Toronto, answers the internet's burning questions about statistics. What are the most common statistical errors? Why do polls get it so wrong? What's the worst casino game in terms of odds? How does probability work in roulette? In this YouTube video, Jeffrey answers all these questions and much more! 

The SSA Mentoring Committee is looking for members!

Would you like to become a committee member for the SSA Mentoring Program?

The SSA mentoring committee is about to start planning the third year of its successful mentoring program. The program provides an opportunity for emerging statisticians to develop personal and professional skills, as well as providing connections between statisticians from across the nation.

This wonderful initiative is developed and managed by the SSA Mentoring Committee (pictured below). We are a team of statisticians eager to increase the support available to our community for success in the workplace. The committee is dedicated to delivering a program that meets the needs of its diverse range of mentees . To do this, the committee is seeking expertise, experience and perspectives to ensure diverse representation of the statistics community. Do you have the fresh new voice we’re looking for? Please get in touch!

To express your interest in joining the SSA Mentoring Committee, or for more information, please email with a couple of paragraphs about yourself and why you are keen to get involved.

Scientific Programming Committee members needed  for the 2023 Australian Statistical Conference

The Scientific Programming Committee for the 2023 Australian Statistical Conference, co-Chaired by Dr Nicole White (QUT) and Dr Karen Lamb (University of Melbourne), is seeking new members to help plan the program for the conference taking place in December 2023. The conference theme is ‘Statisticians in society’, focussing on the key role statisticians play in communication across diverse areas that are key to our society. 

Interested? Please email Nicole White ( by 25th February to tell us a little more about yourself, including brief details of i) the statistical section you align most with (e.g., biostatistics, environmental, official), ii) employment sector (e.g., academic, industry, government), iii) how long you have been working as a statistician, iv) what prior experience you have in conference or event organisation, and v) what you will bring to the committee. Please note that no prior experience in conference organisation is required. We would love to hear from people keen to get more involved in the SSA and strongly encourage people who may not have participated in SSA activities before to reach out (including early career statisticians). We look forward to hearing from you!

SSA Events

Canberra Branch meeting: Dr Clara Grazian speaks about finite fixture modeling

SSA Canberra invites you to its first branch meeting of 2022, featuring Dr Clara Grazian who will speak about finite mixture modeling! 

1 Mar 2022, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM (AEDT) - online. 

From a Bayesian perspective, mixture models have been characterised by a restrictive prior modelling, since their ill-defined nature makes most of the improper priors not acceptable.  In particular, recent results have shown the inconsistency of the posterior distribution on the number of components when using standard nonparametric prior processes. 

We propose an analysis of prior choices associated by their property of conservativeness in the number of components. Among the proposals, we derive a prior distribution on the number of clusters which considers the loss one would incur if the true value representing the number of components were not considered. 

To register click here.

After the talk some of the Canberra locals will be meeting informally for dinner in Civic.

Find out more

WA Branch 2022 AGM

Tuesday, 8 March 2022 - 5:15PM (AWST), held online. 

Non-members of the SSA WA Branch are invited to attend, but cannot vote on AGM matters. Following the AGM, at 6:00PM AWST, we shall hear from Professor Emeritus Elvezio Ronchetti, speaking about

An Introduction to the Basic Concepts of Robust Statistics.

Robust statistics deals with deviations from the stochastic assumptions and their dangers for classical estimators and tests and develops statistical procedures which are still reliable and reasonably efficient in the presence of such deviations.

Find out more and register here

SSA Workshop: Introduction to Machine Learning for Health Data

12 -13 May 2022, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM each day, Adelaide

Craving an in-person event? SSA is proudly offering a 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. 

Find out more and register here

Other Events

International Women in Data Science Day 2022

7 March 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM AEST - (1:00 PM - 2:00 PM AEDT)

Celebrate International Women in Data Science Day (WiDS) 2022 by joining the ADSN for an engaging panel discussion featuring some of Australia's top women in Data Science, including the current President of SSA as well as a Past President.

"Raising the Bar for Australian Data Science"

The panel will explore how we as a Data Science Network can increase recognition of Data Science as a discipline in its own right, and representation in terms of more inclusive participation. Also, they will investigate where and how we should best apply our Data Science.

Find out more and register here

 Science Week 2022 13-21 August 2022

This year's theme is Glass: More than meets the eye.

An estimated 1.3 million Australians took part in the 2021 festival and it generated more than 5,000 media hits. Get involved in 2022.

Grants are now open in NSW and NT:

Find out more


CIPHER 2022 (Current Innovations in Probability-based Household Internet Panel Research)

3 -4 Mar 2022, held online in Los Angeles, California, USA

Population-representative probability-based online panels are more critical than ever: they enable us to understand the problems facing households and communities right now, and to study the scope, type, duration, and distribution of the effects of the pandemic in the longer term.

The annual Current Innovations in Probability-based Household Internet Panel Research (CIPHER) Conference continues to be the flagship platform for continued learning, offering an opportunity to connect with the global research community that uses this tool across a range of fields and disciplines.  

CIPHER is free to attend virtually, but registration is required. Please click here


SAE 2022 (Small Area Estimation, Surveys and Data Science)

23 -27 May 2022, held at University of Maryland, College Park, USA and online

This international conference will serve as a bridge among statisticians, survey methodologists, engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, and others interested in combining information from multiple databases in developing reliable inferences at granular levels. In addition to traditional topics in SAE, the conference will cover a few emerging topics in survey and official statistics (e.g., nonprobability sampling, probabilistic record linkage, data fusion, etc.) In principle, this will be an in-person conference following the University of Maryland, College Park, guidelines. However, in view of the on-going pandemic, international participants can join the conference virtually. 

For more information and to register please click here.


AIFS 2022 Conference (Australian Institute of Family Studies)

15-17 June 2022, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

AIFS 2022 Conference will imagine a future where putting families at the centre drives the work of researchers, policy makers, and service providers.  AIFS 2022 Conference is a must if you are a researcher or policy maker, or if you design, deliver or evaluate services for families, children and their communities. 

For more information and registration click here

Sunbelt 2022 International Social Networks Conference

12-16 July 2022, held in Cairns, QLD and online

The Sunbelt 2022 International Social Networks Conference offers a fabulous opportunity for social network researchers, practitioners and enthusiasts to share knowledge, experience, know-how and to reconnect, wherever they are in the world, whatever the situation.

A hybrid event at the Cairns Convention Centre, the special theme this year is ‘Social Networks, Disaster Recovery and Environmental Governance in the Face of Climate Change’. Organised sessions include networks and health (including COVID-19), organisational networks, policy & governance networks, social media, and network methods, just to name a few.

Share your research with your peers, or to find out how Social Network Analysis can help your community or organisation.

Registrations are now open.

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

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