25 August 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},   

Today is Daffodil Day. The Cancer Council defines it as its “most iconic and much-loved annual campaign that raises life-saving funds for world-class cancer research. It’s a time of hope; where we come together to show our support for the 150,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer each year.”(1)

The Cancer Council’s website provides the following statistics:

  • At current rates, it is expected one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
  • An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year.
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – almost 55,000 deaths from cancer were estimated for 2019.
  • Compared to 1982, around 25,000 more people die each year from cancer. This is due mainly to population growth and ageing. However, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 24%.
  • More than 66% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia will survive more than five years after diagnosis.

The statistics above are scary. However, most of us understand lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, a lack of physical activity and poor diet can make us more susceptible to the disease. Did you know though that these factors are the cause in half of global cancer deaths? (2) This knowledge is power. Our health lies - to a large part – in our own hands.

This morning, I attended a Daffodil Day High Tea, which was a very pleasant way to mark the occasion and contribute to cancer research. It is thanks to many people who have donated before us, that a diagnosis of cancer these days does not go hand-in-hand with a death sentence. Not only that, but thanks to the extensive research, treatments, while still harrowing in most cases, are getting more and more sophisticated and less invasive than perhaps just ten or twenty years ago.

Here's to the donors for their generosity; the researchers for their expertise and patience; the survivors, for their resilience; and the victims for their fighting spirit, even if it wasn’t enough to save them.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

(1) Cancer Council, Daffodil Appeal

(2)The Lancet, “The global burden of cancer attributable to risk factors, 2010–19: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019”, 20 August 2022

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Julie Simpson announced as Moran Lecturer

The Scientific Program Committee of the 2023 Australian Statistical Conference (ASC) and Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS) are thrilled to announce Professor Julie Simpson as the Moran Lecturer of ASC2023. 

Professor Julie Simpson is Head of Biostatistics at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and Director of the Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health research (MISCH) Hub at the University of Melbourne. 

She has >25 years experience collaborating on multidisciplinary research projects with clinicians, laboratory scientists, epidemiologists and health policy-makers at universities and hospitals (and even refugee camps) worldwide, and has published over 300 papers. Her main area of research is the integration of biostatistics and mathematical modelling to improve the control of infectious diseases and statistical methods for handling missing data.

Save the date for ASC2023: 10-15 December 2023, Wollongong! 

NSW Branch July Meeting: Mosaic single cell data integration 

The July meeting of the SSA NSW branch was held on Wednesday, 3 August, with the talk delivered by Dr. Sheila Ghazanfar from the University of Sydney. The talk was titled “Mosaic single cell data integration.” She began her presentation by introducing an overview of single cell genomics. Because cell is the basic unit of life, being able to analyze cells on an individual level helps scientists gain valuable insights about how heterogeneity occurs in gene expression of different populations. Recently, the increase in the number of single cell sequencing technologies enable many new scientific discoveries; nevertheless, it motivates the need to integrate data from all sources and perform joint analyses efficiently. With that motivation, Sheila introduced the concepts of vertical and horizontal integration, and proposed StabMap as a new mosaic integration framework that incorporates both two above types. She discussed the main mechanisms, requirements, and some assumptions of the new method. Finally, she demonstrated that using StabMap helps identify differences in abundance along major anatomical axis of mouse.    

Linh Nghiem

Winners of the inaugural SSA Venables Award announced

Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural SSA Venables Award 2022:

Matt Cowgill, Martin Westgate, and Lydia Lucchesi, Sam Nelson and Petra Kuhnert.

This award was created by SSA’s Statistical Computing & Visualisation Section 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. Here’s Bill Venables talking about his experiences, and why this award is important.

The winners will present their software in an online event held on 8 September 2022. More information about the event can be found here.

Stat special issue: ‘Symposium on Data Science and Statistics 2021’

Stat has published a new special issue, ‘Symposium on Data Science and Statistics 2021’, co-edited by Brennan Bean, Donna LaLonde, Wendy Martinez, and Helen Hao Zhang. The theme of the 2021 symposium was Beyond Big Data: Shaping the Future and the 10 papers in the issue came from four tracks at the symposium: Computational Statistics, Education, Machine Learning and Practice & Applications. 

T-minus 10: Statistician writes formula to predict kids’ backseat tantrums

Are you planning a road trip any time soon? Any young children on board? If so, you should be aware of research published just this week, and announced in countless media publications, providing a formula to predict when you child or children will have a tantrum. Now this is what I call applied statistics!

Dr James Hind, a statistician from Nottingham Trent University, discovered the code that parents can use to crack the probability of backseat breakdowns:

T = 70 + 0.5E + 15F - 10S

(The Guardian, 22 August 2022)

Two thousand parents contributed to the study, providing valuable data, and I’m sure they had plenty of anecdotal evidence. I suspect most parents of young children knew this well before any study was conducted, but according to the research, food and entertainment will be your saviour. Being prepared for your road trip, armed with snacks, books or - dare I say it – an iPad - may delay or eliminate tantrums significantly.

On the other hand, having siblings present can bring the moment of the dreaded tantrum forward by ten minutes. I’m not sure how you get around this one unless you’re happy to leave your additional children at home? I must say, remembering those days when we would still do road trips with young kids, this solution might have been tempting.

Only joking! Those trips down to the coast, with the car packed to the rafters, the kids strapped into their seats with their little lunchboxes and brand-new books, were wonderful times indeed. 

Marie-Louise Rankin

 Early Career Membership Introduced

SSA recently introduced a new membership category: the Early Career Membership. This discounted level of membership is available to members transitioning or having transitioned from full-time university studies to employment within the last three years. The fee is half the cost of full membership, with all the benefits of full membership.

To upgrade a current student membership to that of Early Career Membership, a member just needs to tick the appropriate box when they renew their membership next time, or send me a quick email and I’ll do it for them.

Members holding Transitional Membership were converted to Early Career members earlier this week. SSA members who recently upgraded from transitional membership to full membership may be entitled to one or two more years of Early Career membership. If this is you, please contact me.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

News from the Statistical Education Section

Please remind your school, family, friend and colleague networks, of the National Schools Poster Competition – submissions are due online by 10 November 2022.

Statistics + X: what’s your X?

Students (from Grades 3 to 12) conduct small-scale versions of real-world investigations in teams, utilising and developing core STEM, cross-functional, statistical and data skills.

They create an informative e-poster presentation communicating their investigation and results clearly, concisely and creatively. 

To assist with ideas, or inspire interest, it is recommended the resources available at the website are viewed, which include links to:

  • Feedback comments for 2021 winning and honourable mention submissions for each Stage
  • Previous years’ winning and honourable mention submissions
  • Expert videos, PDFs of Tips and Rules, competition videos, free statistical analysis software and more .
Find out more

2023 Jan Tinbergen Awards for young statisticians

The ISI is pleased to invite submissions of papers for the 2023 Jan Tinbergen Awards for young statisticians. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2022.

The ISI Jan Tinbergen Awards are named after the famous Dutch econometrician and Nobel Prize winner, and are sponsored by the Dutch Stichting Internationaal Statistisch Studiefonds (International Statistical Study Fund Foundation). The aim of the Foundation is to offer assistance to developing countries in the field of statistics. The intention of the ISI Jan Tinbergen awards is to meet the Foundation’s aim and two of the fundamental objectives of the ISI:

  • defining and instituting constructive roles in supporting the development of young statisticians,
  • building statistical capacity in developing countries.

The competition is open to all young statisticians, regardless of their nationality. Papers should address statistical problems of real relevance in building statistical capacity in countries with limited statistical infrastructure.

The Awards are for best papers written for the biennial World Statistics Congresses (WSC) by young statisticians. The competition is split into two divisions. For each winning paper the Foundation awards a cash prize and assists the author’s participation in the next ISI World Statistics Congress where they will present their paper.

Find out more

International Day for Women in Statistics and Data Science (IDWSDS)

The Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) and the Portuguese Statistical Association (SPE) are proud to announce the launching of the International Day for Women in Statistics and Data Science (IDWSDS) with its first annual celebration event on 11 October 2022 (the second Tuesday of October in UTC time). They hope that this will be the annual event for the celebration of women statisticians and data scientists around the world.

They are seeking your organisation’s help to:

  • Communicate and spread the word!
  • Sponsor a session or group of dedicated sessions
  • Support the event by including your own activities
  • Assign a representative to help with the promotion of the event
  • Reach out to young people, e.g., hold a Florence Nightingale Day in October for students in middle and/or high school (training would be provided in the summer)

Note that this will be a virtual event in the spirit of the first CWS Around the World conference which means there will be a place for both live and recorded presentations and sessions and other contributions.

Please check the Twitter account @cwstat for updates and the website ( closer to the event. Submit your session ideas to

Find out more

SJIAOS and Official Statistics Platform 


Read about the September 2022 issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS and the related discussions on the Official Statistics Discussion Platform.


News from "Science In Public"

Help shape an ambitious climate agenda – attend the Better Futures Forum at UNSW Canberra, 6-7 September and join climate champions across all corners of society and the economy.  

CSIRO’s ON and Accelerate programs are now open. If your research is ready for a business/commercialisation bootcamp. These are free and IP remains with the researcher. 

Healing hearts with stem cells –  free online public forum tonight, hosted by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

Opportunities in Switzerland for available for Australian researchers, students and young professionals.

  • The Swiss government’s Excellence Scholarships are open until 30 November for early career researchers. They offer full support for cost of living (PhD up to 36 months and ca. AUD 2,900 per month / Research 12 months and ca. AUD 2,900 per month / Postdoc 12 months ca. AUD 5,200 per month) 
  • Two to three month Think Swiss Fellowships for undergraduates and master students will open in December (support for cost of living / AUD 2,700 per month).

Find out more online or contact Sébastien Monnet,, at the Swiss Embassy. 

SSA Events

The Statistical Society is pleased to announce the following events:

SSA/ASPAI AGMs 2022, followed by presentation "Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation"

30 Aug 2022 9:30 AM, AEST, held online via Zoom.

The 2022 Annual General Meetings of the Statistical Society of Australia, Inc and the Australian Statistical Publishing Association Inc will be held on Tuesday, 30 August 2022 from 9:30am to 10:15am AEST via Zoom.

The agendas, minutes of the last AGMs and any other documents for this meeting can be viewed and downloaded here.

The AGMs will be followed by a presentation commencing at 10:30am AEST, titled:

Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation

We are pleased to present a panel consisting of US researchers who are members of the Committee on Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation,  and who conducted a study to examine the measurement of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The research was undertaken to be able to make recommendations for specific measures that can be used in surveys and research, administrative, and clinical and other health settings. It was captured in the report Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation.

Find out more about the report and the panel members here.

The events are free, but you will need to register to receive the Zoom link.

Canberra Branch Meeting -- Impacts of COVID-19, social distancing and movement restrictions on crime in NSW, Australia, with Dr Joanna Wang

30 August, 5:45 pm AEST,  held online

The spread of COVID-19 has prompted Governments around the world to impose draconian restrictions on business activity, public transport, and public freedom of movement. The effect of these restrictions appears to vary from country to country and, in some cases, from one area to another within a country. This study examines the initial impact of the COVID-19 restrictions imposed in New South Wales by the State Government. We examine week-to-week changes in 13 categories of crime (and four aggregated categories) from 2 January 2017 to 28 June 2020. An interrupted time series approach with ARIMA specification was used to model the entire time series. Our results are broadly in accord with those of other studies, but we find no effect of the lockdown on domestic assault.

For the zoom link click here.

SSA Venables Award Winners 2022 seminar

8 Sep 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (AEST), held online

The Statistical Computing & Visualisation branch presents: SSA Venables Award Winners 2022 seminar: Software presentations from the three winners of the inaugural SSA Venables Award; Matt Cowgill, Martin Westgate, and Lydia Lucchesi, Sam Nelson and Petra Kuhnert.

To register click here

SSA & NZSA ECSSNs Joint Event: The Academia-Industry War: Surviving the conflict between two opposing ideals as a graduate student
15 Sep 2022, 1:00 PM (AEST), held online

Our Early Career and Student Statisticians Network from Australia and New Zealand proudly present Dr Timothy Bilton to be our first speaker of our first ever joint seminar series.

The world of industry-based research and academia typically use the same tools and methods but are often poles part in terms of research priorities and practical application of methods. This often leads to a lot of conflict between the two fields and in some cases the inability to collaborate. In this talk, he will discuss his first-hand experience of undertaking a PhD while simultaneously having one foot in academic and the other in industry.

To register please click 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

A step toward the future – supporting the 2021 Census with integrated administrative data

6 Sep 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (AEST)

Library at the Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands VIC 3008 OR via Zoom

As the results of the 2021 Australian Census are being released, join us and hear from Dr Louise Wangerek about some of the technical challenges faced in creating high-quality Census data. Those attending in person will have an opportunity to chat over dinner after the event concludes.


The Census is a snapshot of Australia and tells the story of how we are changing. The Census helps us understand what we need now, and into the future. Community groups, not-for-profit organisations, businesses and governments use Census data to make important decisions. Census data informs planning for schools, health care, transport and infrastructure. It is also used to help plan local services for individuals, families and communities.

Ensuring that Census data is high-quality and provides an accurate representation of all Australians is of the utmost importance. The 2016 Census Independent Assurance Panel's Report on the Quality of 2016 Census data noted an increase in over-imputation and that older persons were more likely to be imputed. Subsequent research found this increased imputation was due to incorrectly setting too many non-responding dwellings to occupied, and that the donors selected to represent these households tended to over-represent households with older persons.

This seminar will detail how ABS used integrated administrative data to improve 2021 Census data quality. The most important use was improving Census counts by addressing over-imputation. We also used integrated administrative data to prepare for unexpected events that might lower the Census response rate and as an independent confrontation source during quality assurance of Census data. The presentation will conclude with some possibilities on how we can expand our use of administrative data for future Censuses.

Speaker - Dr Louise Wangerek

Louise Wangerek is an Assistant Director in 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.

Register here

The 2022 AEM Annual Statistics Conference-27 Sep 2022 (CDT) – 29 Sep 2022 (CDT), held at Hargrove & Associates’ Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

The event will mark the first in-person AEM Annual Statistics Conference in more than three years.

“This year’s conference promises to be an informative, enjoyable and valuable experience for all attendees,” said AEM Senior Director of Statistics Mike Lietke. “Ultimately, the week will also feature much more to do than just participate in the Statistics committee meetings that are so important to our program.”

For the line up of speakers and to register please click here

If you have news from the Australian statistical community to share in Stats Matters and Events, please get in touch with us! We love getting feedback too.