14 July 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},  

Looking into the world of statisticians as an outsider, I always thought there was bit of healthy competition going on between “statistician” and “mathematician” as a career choice. In recent years a third competitor entered the ring: the “data scientist”. To be honest, I had to google the difference between data scientists and statisticians, and I found this website helpful.  

Just this week a data science milestone was reached when the UK-based Alliance for Data Science Professionals (AfDSP) awarded certificates to the first cohort of data scientists to sign up to standards set by the Alliance itself. 

The AfDSP is a partnership between six organisations: the Royal Statistical Society (RSS); the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT; the Operational Research Society; the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications; the Alan Turing Institute; and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In 2021 these organisations formed an alliance to create industry-wide professional standards for data science, aiming to ensure an ethical and well-governed approach so that the public, organisations and governments can have confidence in how their data is being used. The Alliance’s memorandum of understanding states:

The Alliance recognises that some people work with data which impacts life and livelihoods. They do so to support better decision making across economies and societies. Amongst them today are people called data scientists, data engineers, data analysts and data stewards. They work in an area known as data science. Our objective is to assure the public’s trust in these people’s work in this area. We will do so by defining standards of professional competence and professional behaviour and we will qualify people against these. We will hold them accountable for their profession.”   

At the award ceremony for the first thirteen data scientists meeting the standards set by the Alliance, former RSS President and President of the Royal Society Adrian Smith said: “The work of the Alliance for Data Science Professionals is very welcome. Industry-wide standards and certification can play an important role in ensuring that ethics and good governance are properly embedded across the data science profession. They have the potential to both raise the quality of data-driven insights and provide confidence to the public over how their data is being used.”

You can read the RSS’ full media release here

More information about the AfDSP is available here.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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Election of Executive Members

Members are advised that the Executive positions of Secretary and Treasurer will become vacant at the Society’s Central Council Annual General Meeting in 2022. 

Members of SSA are invited to submit nominations for the two positions to be vacated. Nominations must be in writing and signed by the nominator(s), and must be accompanied by a written and signed statement from the nominee accepting the nomination.  Nominations should be submitted to the SSA President or to a Branch President before 21st July, 2022. 

Doug Shaw, Secretary

Canberra branch “2022 rego grants” for all members

SSA Canberra is inviting all its members to apply for financial support in the form of a “rego grant” to attend statistical conferences, workshops, visits to collaborators, and other related events in 2022. Successful applicants of the rego grant will be eligible for up to $400 AUD of total funding, with the funding coming in the form of reimbursements. 

Please click here to find out more. To apply and/or if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact .

Attention Vic members!  Workshop/conference funding support available!

SSA Vic are proud to announce that we will once again be offering financial support to our members for the attendance of statistical workshops, conferences, and short courses; both national and international, in 2022.  

Each member is eligible for up to $200 of total funding to cover the registration and travel expenses associated with the aforementioned activities.

Find out more

Science and Technology Australia (STA): Calling SSA members to join the Policy Committee or Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Are you someone who is passionate about policy? Or excited, driven, and intrigued by equity, diversity and inclusion? If so, then you may be interested in applying to join STA's Policy or Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committees. Find out more here, and let our president, Jess Kasza know if you're keen on applying to join one of these committees. This is a great opportunity for you to help STA achieve its mission, bringing STEM expertise to public policymaking, and championing STEM sector diversity and inclusion. 

SSA Events

Vic Branch -  July Meeting - "Really Useful Engines - Engineering Data Science"

with Miles McBain

21 Jul 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM AEST, Evan Williams Theatre, Peter Hall Building (Maths), University of Melbourne and Online

The Victorian branch is very excited to welcome Australian R legend Miles McBain to speak to us about “Very Useful Engines: Engineering Data Science”. In this talk Miles builds on previous expositions of individual Data Scientist workflows in an attempt to distil principles that can transform Data Science teams into Data Science engines.

For more information and to register click here.

Joint Canberra Branch + ABS Foreman Lecture -- How the ABS ensures that data from the Census is of high quality

26 Jul 2022, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM (AEST), in person and online

The SSA Canberra Branch invites you to the Foreman lecture (July branch meeting), which is held jointly with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and features four presenters from the ABS discussing the recent first tranche release of data from the 2021 Census of Population and Housing:

Teresa Dickinson PSM:  Teresa is a Deputy Australian Statistician and Senior responsible Officer for the Census. She has held senior positions in Official Statistics for 20 years in Australia and New Zealand.

Dennis Trewin AO: Dennis was Australian Statistician from 2000 to 2007. He is a former President of both the Australian Statistical Society and the International Statistical Institute and International Association of Survey Statisticians. Most recently Dennis has been a member of the Census Statistical Quality Assurance Panel for both the 2016 and 2021 Censuses.

Dr Louise Wangerek: Louise is acting Director of Census Futures. She has been an integral part of the team improving 2021 Census data quality through the use of administrative data. Prior to joining the Australian Public Service in 2006, she completed a PhD in gene therapy.

Annette Kelly:  Annette was the Director of Data Quality and Statistical Risk in the 2021 Census, leading the implementation of end-to-end processes to maintain high quality Census data. Annette has worked in the design and operations of ABS surveys for many years, with a focus on understanding and improving data quality.

How does the ABS ensure that the data from the Census is high quality and can be used with confidence? This Foreman lecture answers that question from several angles. 

For more information click here

MACHINE LEARNING WITH PYTHON- 23 Jul 2022 (AEST) – 24 Jul 2022, held online

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

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. 

For detailed information and to register click here.

SSA NSW Branch Meeting: July Event (in August) – Dr Shila Ghazanfar (DECRA Fellow at University of Sydney) - Mosaic single cell data integration

3 Aug 2022, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (AEST), held at Sydney Uni and on Zoom

Current horizontal data integration techniques use a set of common features, thereby ignoring non-overlapping features and losing information. In this talk Dr Ghazanfar will describe the current state of play for vertical, horizontal, mosaic and diagonal single cell data integration.

For more information and to register click here

Save the date: ASC and OZCOTS 2023

10-15 December 2023, University of Wollongong, NSW

Find out more

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