4 August 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},   

Last week, CSIRO published the report “Our Future World: Global megatrends that will change the way we live”. It’s an update of a report compiled ten years ago, when any thoughts of a global pandemic were – in most of our minds – disaster movie stuff, and who knew back then that the Ukraine is the food pantry of the world, a pantry that would be padlocked in year 2022?

The report defines a “megatrend” as “a trajectory of change likely to have a substantial and transformative impact on individuals, organisations and societies. Megatrends typically unfold over years or decades and occur at the intersection of multiple interconnected trends that are narrower in scope. The trends which comprise megatrends are often classified as geopolitical, economic, environmental, social or technological (GEEST). “

CSIRO’s report contains the following chapters: 

  • Adapting to a changing climate
  • Leaner, cleaner and greener
  • The escalating health imperative
  • Geopolitical shifts
  • Diving into digital
  • Increasingly autonomous
  • Unlocking the human dimension 

From climate change, to health, to globalisation, to AI, the report delves into many of the topics that play on our minds. A word of warning: It makes for scary reading. Did you know that the cost of natural disasters in Australia alone is projected to reach $39.3 billion per year by 2050? That’s up from $13.2 billion in 2017! Or were you aware that while globally the expenditure for research and development is rising, with China and Korea in the lead, Australia has gone backwards? Here in our country the share of GPD expenditure for research and development has declined from 2.1% in 2011–12 to 1.8% in 2019–20.

I tried to close with something uplifting, but to be honest, I couldn’t find much in the report. I was pleased to read that social cohesion in Australia improved because of the pandemic. I’m still looking for other positives.

The report is interspersed with meaningful quotes from well-known people – it’s well worth having a look. 

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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Launch of National Science Week 2022 (13-21 August 2022)- Celebrating First Nations Sciences of the Land

Today is the launch of National Science Week 2022, an annual celebration of science and technology. According to the “National Science week” website, this week-long event is “a chance for all Australians to meet our scientists, do science, and celebrate its crucial role in Australia’s society and economy. Each year, a vast array of events run across the nation to give more Australians the chance to get involved in science.”

Science & Technology Australia (STA), in partnership with Canberra’s Questacon and The Australian National University (ANU), hosted the official launch of National Science Week in Parliament House this morning. In a media release, published to mark the occasion, STA commented on key findings from a major new study. This study found that “Australians see science as indispensable, say it was our salvation in the pandemic and is the key to tackling existential threats such as climate change.” You can read the full media release here.

A list of National Science Week events can be found here. 

Andrew Zammit-Mangion awarded 2022 ENVR Early Investigator Award

Congratulations to SSA member Associate Professor Andrew Zammit-Mangion on having been awarded the 2022 ENVR Early Investigator Award by the Section on Statistics and the Environment of the American Statistical Association (ASA).

This prestigious early-career award recognises outstanding work in environmental statistics, including the development of statistical methods for modelling and analysing environmental data.

Find out more

Significance out now!

The August 2022 issue of Significance is out now in digital formats, with articles on measuring domestic violence in lockdown, medieval stats, university rankings, Mexican dogs, the 'garden of forking paths', and much more.

Find out more

Calling superstars of statistics!

Science and Technology Australia is searching for the next batch of STEM Superstars! If you're a woman or non-binary person who is keen to spread the word about statistics (or any other STEM discipline), then you can find more information about the Superstars of STEM program here.

The SSA would love to see more of our members join the Superstars of STEM ranks: if you have a look through the Superstars from previous years you'll find some SSA faces. Do you want to join them and tell the world about how wonderful statistics is? You've got until August 14 to apply!

STA's annual Professional Scientist Employment and Remuneration Survey

As statisticians, we understand the importance of data: and now Science & Technology Australia (STA) is asking for some of yours!

Science & Technology Australia and Professionals Australia invite you to participate in the annual Professional Scientist Employment and Remuneration Survey.

Through this survey, you will contribute to the most comprehensive benchmark report of scientist remuneration and employment conditions in Australia. The survey will also provide important insights into the unprecedented and continuing impact that COVID19 has had on Australia’s scientific workforce.

Your responses will provide an important glimpse into Australia’s science sector which, in turn, will help us advocate with and for this sector to Government, policymakers and the Australian public. The more scientists who participate, the more comprehensive and meaningful these results will be.

What do people need to know?
The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
It is entirely anonymous.
It is open to all science professionals in Australia.
All survey participants can enter the draw to win one of two $500 JB HiFi vouchers.
The survey closes on 7 August 2022.

Take the survey

The Sydney Mathematical Research Institute (SMRI) International Visitor Program: applications open

The IVP2022 Round 2 applications are now open. Researchers in the mathematical sciences from international and Australian universities who wish to do research at SMRI either individually or as part of a group of collaborators are warmly invited to apply.

This round is for visits taking place between July 2023–June 2024 for general applicants, and March 2023–June 2024 for Australian citizens/permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Applications will close on 9 August 2022 (11.59pm AEST).

Applications with the information requested in the terms and conditions can be made through the webform found on the IVP webpage.

Applications from female and gender-diverse researchers, researchers employed in developing countries and/or researchers belonging to other groups which are underrepresented in the mathematical sciences, are particularly encouraged.

SSA Events

Joint SSA WA Branch & IBS-AR (Australasian Region of the International Biometric Society) August Meeting:

Non-parametric and semi-parametric models for analysing longitudinal data

presented by Dr Kefei Chen, SAGI West, Centre for Crop Disease Management (CCDM)

9 August 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (AWST), held at room 300.219, Life Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley

General linear mixed effect models are the standard workhorse for statistical analysis of longitudinal data. However, analysis of longitudinal data can be complicated for reasons such as difficulties in modelling correlated outcome values, time-varying covariates, nonlinear and non-stationary effects. Nonparametric and semiparametric statistical approaches have been proposed to take advantage of their flexibility and making less assumptions, in particular for longitudinal data with temporal uncertainty, and unknown complex relationship between outcomes and covariates. I will present a comparative study on full parametric linear/nonlinear mixed modelling, nonparametric methods with Bayesian additive Gaussian process modelling (AGPM) and semiparametric methods with (shape constrained) generalised additive mixed modelling (GAMM, SCAM) in the analysis of longitudinal data in agricultural research. The nonparametric and semiparametric statistical approaches offer a good balance of flexibility and interpretability along with improved performance and accuracy.

Register here

SSA Vic does Pub Trivia

SSA Vic will be reserving tables at The National Hotel in Richmond for anyone keen to gather, chat and play pub trivia!

Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, 9th August 2022. 

Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm trivia kickoff

Where: The National Hotel, Richmond.
Please register, so that we know how many tables to reserve.

Just for members: You can collect a drink token for use at the bar.

See you there!

Please register here

Webinar: Kernel Stein discrepancy minimization for MCMC thinning in cardiac electrophysiology

The SSA Bayesian Section invites you to a webinar by Dr Marina Riabiz, "Kernel Stein discrepancy minimization for MCMC thinning in cardiac electrophysiology.", held on 29 Aug 2022, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (AEST), online.

Dr Riabiz will present a novel method that retrospectively selects a subset of states, of fixed cardinality, from the sample path, such that the approximation provided by their empirical distribution is close to optimal. This is based on greedy minimisation of a kernel Stein discrepancy, and it is suitable when the gradient of the log-target can be evaluated and an approximation using a small number of states is required.

For more information and to register click here.

SSA SA August Branch Meeting: The design and analysis of a two-phase experiments involving human subjects

17 Aug 2022, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM (ACST), held at 182 Victoria Square, Flinders University, Adelaide, Level 10, Room 10 and online

The design and analysis of a two-phase experiments involving human subjects: a case study

Speaker: Chris Brien, Adjunct Associate Professor, UniSA STEM, The University of South Australia; Senior Biostatistician, The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, University of Adelaide

Two-phase experiments were introduced in 1952 by the Australian statistician George McIntyre. Their use has been most prevalent in agriculture experiments, especially plant breeding experiments. However, there is the potential for their application to be much more widespread. This potential is not being realized because of a lack of awareness of multiphase experiments within the statistical community.

A potted history of two-phase experiments will be given and an explanation of what constitutes a two-phase experiment provided, using a scenario in a sports science context as an introductory example. The use of the anatomy of a design for understanding the confounding in the experiment will be outlined.

The case study involves a pain-rating experiment reported in a 1997 paper by Solomon, Prkachin, & Farewell. The data from a subset of the experiment was analyzed by Farewell and Herberg (2003) and by Jarrett, Farewell and Herzberg (2020) using analyses-of-variance. A further re-analysis using linear mixed models that has been described by Brien (2022) will be outlined. Suggested improvements for the design of future experiments, based on the results of the re-analysis, will also be presented.

Register here

DIY R Package Workshop

12 Oct 2022, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (AEDT), held online

The NSW branch is pleased to offer a DIY R Package workshop.

Do you have a few custom functions on heavy rotation? Perhaps you have a piece of code that you regularly share with colleagues? Maybe you’ve developed a new statistical model and want to share it with the world? Why not put it all in an R package?! This interactive workshop will equip you with the basic skills to create an R package of your own! We will walk through the package building process and apply the same workflow to your own function. We will learn about testing and continuous integration and implement them using Github Actions.

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

Other events

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