28 April 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},  

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) released a report just this week, highlighting the deplorable situation of math at secondary school level in Australia. The report is sub-titled: “Mathematics enrolments reach all-time low” and explains that “While during the past decade typically around 71-73% of Year 12 students were enrolled in one or more mathematics subjects, things took a turn for the worse in 2020, with a sudden drop in math subject enrolments to a mere 66%.”

This information is based on AMSI’s data collection over many years. You can read the full report here.

The Australian picked up on the report, calling it a ‘Wakeup call’. warning that this development could lead to skills shortages in vital hi-tech industries, which could put Australia at a disadvantage compared to other countries. You’ll need a subscription to the paper to be able to read the article. AMSI Director Tim Marchant was quoted to say: “Action must be taken now – these students are our future workforce.” 

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the academics who, while having enjoyed a decent and costly education in Australia, find that they have reached their limit in this country. In the Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece “Australia spent a million dollars training me – and now I’m leaving”, (21 April 2022) Miro Astore explains why he needs to go overseas to continue his research into the causes of cystic fibrosis. About to complete his PhD in biophysics, and having received offers from several overseas universities, he has decided to move to the US in October. He has had enough of the job cuts, the funding cuts, and the overall lack of recognition of the research sector in this country. You can read all about his many reasons for taking his work overseas here. Reflecting on a friend’s comment about who was going to talk to his five-year-old nephew and teach him all this interesting stuff, the author writes: “I think it’s a good question. What are we going to do when we’re sending all the passionate and creative people to other countries? How can a government claim to be managing the economy well when it invests a million dollars to train somebody, while gutting the sector in which they’re being trained?”

Perhaps some food for thought at the right moment. 

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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Congratulations Andrew Zammit Mangion!

Andrew Zammit Mangion has been awarded the 2022 Early Investigator Award from the Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) Section of the American Statistical Association. Andrew’s citation reads: For highly impactful methodological and interdisciplinary research in spatio-temporal statistics applied to investigating causes and effects of a changing climate, for the development of important computational-statistical tools and related software, and for service to the profession.

[From the ENVR website: “The Early Investigator Award is meant to encourage and recognize newer members of the environmental statistics community. To be eligible for the Early Investigator Award, a nominee must… have made outstanding contributions to environmental statistics and show potential for future distinction…”]

Italian nurse acquitted of murder after statistical analysis

Earlier this week Mirage News published the article “Italian nurse acquitted of murder after statistical analysis” (Mirage News, 25 April 2022), about Italian nurse Daniela Poggiali, who was convicted of murdering two patients under her care in 2014. The story attracted the interest of Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Statistics Richard D. Gill of the University of Leiden. Looking at the evidence, Gill, working together with an Italian colleague, Julia Mortera, quickly found that the prosecution had used “Mickey-Mouse statistics” to establish “evidence” of Poggiali’s guilt. Some of the figures were easily refuted when looking at Poggiali’s work ethic and the fact that she worked more hours than many of her colleagues, making it more likely for her to be present when the deaths occurred. Other research into the case involved Gill and Mortera looking at work procedures, noting, for example that the time of death of patients was the time the death was recorded, not the actual time a patient died, which again changed the evidence.

The article makes a fascinating read and demonstrates the many interesting opportunities a career in statistics can lead to.

Read the article here

Celebrating 60 years of the SSA: Diamond Jubilee Fellowships


To celebrate 60 years since the formation of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) as a national association of statisticians, in 2022 the Society is offering up to 4 SSA Diamond Jubilee Fellowships, worth up to $5000 each, to help further the careers of our early/mid-career members. These SSA Diamond Jubilee Fellowships are intended to celebrate this Society milestone and to offer a boost to our early/mid-career members whose careers may have been limited by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, eligibility criteria, and to apply, see here.

News from SSA’s Official Statistics Section

The International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) published a statement on Ukraine this week, expressing deepest sympathy and support to the Ukrainian people and to all those in Russia and Belarus, who along with the international community, ask for an immediate end to the war. You can read the full statement here.

Contributions sought for special issue: “Applied Biostatistics & Statistical Computing” in Applied Sciences (MDPI).

You are invited to contribute with some of your work, whether it is a review article or an original manuscript to this issue, following the MDPI guidelines. This might be a nice opportunity to promote advanced PhD students or postdocs by enabling first-authorships for them. So, you are welcome to share this message with your team members and network contacts. 

Author Benefits

Open Access:  free for readers, with article processing charges (APC) paid by authors or their institutions.

High Visibility: indexed within Scopus, SCIE (Web of Science), Inspec, CAPlus /SciFinder, and many other databases. 

Journal Rank: JCR - Q2 (Engineering, Multidisciplinary) / CiteScore - Q2 (General Engineering) 

Note that manuscripts are reviewed and published without delays, independent of the final deadline for submissions. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. 

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2022.

SSA PhD/Masters Top-Up Scholarships 2022

Are you undertaking a PhD or Masters degree with a project in the development of statistical or data science methodology, in the assessment of statistical or data science methodology, or in the development of statistical/data science software? The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) wants to support you! You may be eligible to apply for an SSA PhD/Masters Top-Up Scholarship. Up to 4 Scholarships, worth $2500 each, will be awarded to SSA student members. Find out more here.

Applications close on 12 May 2022.

Bill Venables Award for new developers of open source software for data analytics

SSA's Statistical Computing and Visualisation Section is pleased to announce the creation of the Bill Venables award for new developers of open source software for data analytics, sponsored by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDT). The goal of this award is to encourage new open source software development from the Australian community with a view to support efforts to develop and share data science and statistics methodology.

The application deadline is 24 May 2022. More information is available here.

SSA Events

Introducing the Statistical Consulting Network Monthly Meet-Ups

29 Apr 2022, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM (AEST), held online

Come along with your thinking cap, maybe a problem, and some lunch!

SSA's Statistical Consulting Network invites you to their monthly meet-up, a virtual lunchtime meeting where statisticians help each other out with problems that they aren’t sure how to deal with.  This will be a virtual meeting held on Zoom at lunchtime on the last Friday of each month, 12:30-1:30 PM (AEST).  We will start each meet-up in the common room for announcements, or occasionally a special topic discussion, then go to break-out rooms in smaller groups to discuss problems that attendees have brought along with them.

For more information click here

SSA-AMSI Data Science Review: your chance to investigate the Australian Data Science landscape

Together with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) is launching a review of Data Science in Australian universities. This review, to be chaired by D/Prof Kerrie Mengersen of QUT, will investigate the opportunities and challenges for statistics within the Australian data science landscape. The review panel will include 3 SSA members: we are seeking expressions of interest from SSA members interested in joining the panel. If you’re interested, please send your nomination to, with a brief outline of your experience and motivation for joining the panel by COB on Friday May 6.

If you want to know more, D/Prof Kerrie Mengersen, Prof Tim Marchant (AMSI Director), and A/Prof Jessica Kasza (SSA President) will host a webinar at 3pm AEST on Tuesday the 3rd of May to discuss the purpose and arrangements for this review. You can register for this event here

Other Events

Like the layers of an onion: Transparency and reproducibility for quantitative research
Online, Friday 29 April, 10am – 11:30 am AEST

Prof Ben Marwick (University of Washington) will describe an emerging consensus on ways of improving the computational reproducibility of social and natural science research. A ‘layered reproducibility’ approach to organise the various technologies available to enhance reproducibility in terms of effort to implement and payoff will be described. This webinar is presented as part of the University of Wollongong Data and Decision Science Initiative.
More information / Register

AI for Good and the Bootstrapping Problem - Monash Prato Dialogue | Online, Thursday 5 May, 6pm AEST

There is a ‘bootstrapping’ problem with calls to align AI with social good, a problem that also impacts related suggestions to develop more virtuous or responsible models of AI innovation. In this Monash Prato Dialogue distinguished lecture, Professor Shannon Vallor from the University of Edinburgh will confront the problem of cultivating virtues and social goods of a new moral shape, and the radical cultural transformations this may entail. More information / Register

AMS-AustMS Workshop on Bridging Maths and Computer Science
31 May – 3 June, The University of Sydney

This 4-day workshop will bring together Australasian researchers in mathematics and theoretical computer science, fostering exchanges and collaborations. The workshop will focus on two themes:

  • ·         Computational Complexity and Cryptography
  • ·         Graph Theory and Combinatorics

Each day will involve plenary talks by both a member of the mathematics and computer science community, and time devoted to open problems and interesting research directions, as seen by both communities. 
More information / Register

AMSI Winter School 2022
20 June – 1 July

This year’s Winter School on New Directions in Representation Theory will be hosted by The University of Queensland from 20 June – 1 July. Join the mailing list to keep up with announcements!  
More information / Join the mailing list

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