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22 September 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

Earlier this week we said “good-bye” to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth. I think many of us were surprised by how much her passing affected us. Personally, I never spent much time thinking about what it would be like when she  passed away, but when I heard the announcement of her death, I certainly felt deep sorrow.

I don’t have the words to sum up the moment, or to describe where this feeling of bereavement may have come from, so I am very grateful to SSA member Rosie Ching, who allowed me to use her words here:

“(…) We mourn the passing of the Queen, a steadfast, unwavering figure who’s been there all our lives. A truly remarkable, incredible life lived, a symbol of unity, stability, motherliness, peace. May our lives be blessed. A piece of ourselves goes with everyone gone before us who meant something to us.”

Thank you for these beautiful words, Rosie.

Queen Elizabeth’s passing presents us with a public holiday tomorrow, which is why Thursday’s newsletter is being sent out a day early.

I know the impromptu public holiday does not sit well with everyone, especially those in the medical profession and people running a business. For me, even though I’m in my fifties, I still get the same pleasure out of an unexpected day off as I did during my childhood in Germany, when we would get “Hitzefrei” (time off from school because of hot weather) or in Boston, where it would be the odd snow day (time off school due to heavy snowfall).

Still, it is Australia’s National Day of Mourning tomorrow. In our household, we will mark the occasion with a glass of champagne, shared with good friends, and toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a life well lived.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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SSA 60th anniversary slide

SSA Vic Branch Early Career Panel

On the 20th of September the SSA Vic branch ran an early-career panel where we heard from Anna Quaglieri, Michael Couch, Susan Wei, Swen Kuh, and Will Mackey about their career journeys in statistics and data science. It was so valuable to hear from a diverse range of careers in academia, the public sector, and private industry. The pathways to the panelists' current jobs were varied too, with a couple of presenters giving the sage advice that opportunities come and go, you just need to be open to the ones that arrive at the right time!

The event was a great success, with many questions flowing in from in-person audience members and via the SSA Vic Community Slack. Following the conclusion of the panel the in-person attendees spent time chatting over pizza and getting to know each other. As someone from academia it was great to be hosted in Servian’s office; what a comfort a nice modern building and well-stocked fridges are!

Ben Harrap

News from the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

“The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is writing to bring to your awareness opportunities for researchers under the new Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022 that came into effect on 1 April. Under this legislation, Australian universities can request access to a broad range of data held by government organisations in order to undertake research that is in the public interest. 

We believe this new piece of legislation holds significant potential for social science researchers, and have produced this explainer post outlining the Act’s scope and limitations as they apply to Australian researchers. It also outlines the steps required of research teams to gain access to government data under the Act if desired.”

Thank you, Professor Annette Dobson, for sharing this information with me earlier this week.

Joint statement by ISI and IAOS on El Salvador’s decision to dissolve DIGESTYC

"The International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) have been informed of a decision in El Salvador, to dissolve the Dirección General de Estadística y Censos (DIGESTYC) and to transfer the functions of the National Statistical Office to the Salvadorian Central Bank. The corresponding law for the dissolution and transfer of the tasks of DIGESTYC, introduced at the end of July 2022 upon the initiative of the Government, has already been adopted by Parliament.

ISI and IAOS express their grave concern about the risks involved in this decision. The risks particularly relate to the mission of El Salvador’s official statistics as well as their professional independence, the qualification of staff and the confidentiality of statistical data."

Read the full statement here

ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC) 2023

Walk through Ottawa with ISI President and Statistics Canada’s Chief Statistician.

Watch the video with ISI President Stephen Penneck and Statistics Canada’s Chief Statistician Anil Arora welcoming you to Ottawa.

Watch the video here


SSA-AMSI Data Science Review 2022

SSA is collaborating with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) on a national Review of the role of Data Science in Australian universities.

To help us understand the needs of academia and industry,we invite you to  omplete our 10-minute survey and share your Data Science experience.

Complete Survey:

We are looking for a wide range of students, academics, university and industry professionals to share feedback.

Please forward this email to colleagues that may also be interested in contributing. The confidentiality of all responses is assured, with only collated summary information to be released as part of the Review's final report.

The survey is open until Friday, 30 September 2022.

Thank you for your support – your response is greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Gordon, SSA President

Jessica Kasza, SSA Vice President

SSA Events

SSA NSW Branch: Early Career and Student Statisticians Career Event 2022

29 September 2022, from 6pm AEST

The New South Wales branch of the Statistical Society of Australia warmly invites all undergraduate, postgraduate and early career statisticians and data scientists to attend our annual event for Early Career and Student Statisticians.  The event will take place at the Courtyard Cafe of the University of Sydney

We have spectacular speakers from several industry sectors and academic backgrounds. They will share stories from their careers and provide insights into their professions. For example, have you wondered what you can do after doing a statistics degree, or what other statistics professions are like? Then this event is for you!

Find out more and register here

SSA QLD Branch October Meeting: clusterBMA: Combine insights from multiple clustering algorithms with Bayesian model averaging

5 Oct 2022, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM AEST, online

In this talk, Owen Forbes will introduce clusterBMA, a novel Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) methodology that combines inference across multiple algorithms for clustering of a given dataset. BMA offers some attractive benefits over other existing approaches for ensemble or consensus clustering. Benefits include intuitive probabilistic interpretation of an overall cluster structure integrated across multiple sets of clustering results, flexibility to accommodate various input algorithms, and quantification of model-based uncertainty. We present results from a substantive neuroscience case study, and two simulation studies. This method is implemented in the freely available R package “clusterBMA”, which will be demonstrated during the talk and can be accessed here

Find out more

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

SSA & NZSA ECSSNs joint event: From PhD to post-doc: navigating life as an early-career researcher

13 Oct 2022, 1:00 PM (AEDT), online

The SSA & NZSA Early Career and Student Statistician Networks invite you to the webinar presented by Dr Rheanna Mainzer.

In this talk, Rheanna will share her experience navigating the transition from PhD student to bio-statistician. She will shed light on the day-to-day activities of a post-doc (both within a university and at a research institute) and describe some of the lessons she has learned along the way.

Find out more

SSA Vic Branch Belz Lecture

20 Oct 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (AEDT)

University House at the Woodward, Level 10, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

The SSA Vic Branch are delighted to have Dr Dina Neiger, Chief Statistician at Social Research Centre, present this year's Belz Lecture. The lecture will be delivered online and in-person and will be followed by the annual

SSA Vic Branch Belz Dinner

20 Oct 2022, 7:45 PM – 10:00 PM (AEDT) (same venue)

The Vic Branch warmly invites members and guests to the Belz Dinner, held at University House at the Woodward from 7:45PM.

Join us for the three-course dinner and beautiful views.

To register for the lecture, please click here.

To register for the dinner, please click here.

Estimands, Estimators and Estimates: Aligning target of estimation, method of estimation, and sensitivity analysis

20 Oct 2022, 9:00 AM – 21 Oct 2022, 5:00 PM (AEDT), Macquarie University Sydney City Campus

SSA and the Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics  Group (APBG) are pleased to present the event.  This course will focus on estimands and related statistical methodologies that are commonly used in clinical trials. We will share our experiences and try to provide some guidance on their use in clinical trial practice. The target audience includes statisticians working in industry (pharmaceutical companies), academia (universities, medical centers, or research hospitals), or government (AIHW/TGA), and also graduate students who are interested in clinical trial methods. The difficulty level of the course is intermediate, at a second-year graduate course

The learning objectives are three-fold: (1) to understand the fundamentals of the estimand framework and be able to apply it in clinical trials; (2) to identify an appropriate primary analysis method that targets the estimand of interest, fully aligned with the ICH E9(R1) Addendum; and (3) to implement appropriate main and sensitivity analyses.

Canberra Branch Workshop:Time series analysis and forecasting using R

9 Nov 2022, 9:00 AM (AEDT) – 10 Nov 2022, 5:00 PM (AEDT)

Room 5.02, Marie Reay Teaching Building, The Australian National University

The SSA Canberra Branch warmly invites you to an in-person workshop on Time series analysis and forecasting using R, taught by Professor Rob J Hyndman (Monash University) and Associate Professor Bahman Rostami-Tabar (Cardiff University, UK).  It is becoming increasingly common for organizations to collect huge amounts of data over time, and existing time series analysis tools are not always suitable to handle the scale, frequency and structure of the data collected. In this workshop, we will look at some packages and methods that have been developed to handle the analysis of large collections of time series.

For more information and to register click here.

SSA and NZSA ECSS Miniconference 2022

15 -17 Nov 2022, online + In-person (Perth)

We are pleased to be holding a National “Miniconference” jointly hosted by the Early Career and Student Statisticians Network (ECSSN) of the SSA, the Student and Early Career Statisticians Network (SECS) of the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA), and the WA Branch. This event is a “hybrid” event that includes two days of online-only presentations followed by one day of in-person presentations in WA. The latter shall also be streamed online.

Find out more

Save the date: ASC and OZCOTS 2023

10-15 December 2023, University of Wollongong, NSW

Find out more

Other events

8th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2022

Conference dates: Wednesday, 23 November – Friday, 25 November 2022

Venue: Online via Zoom

Abstract submissions close this Friday 23 September

The Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated (ACSPRI) welcome presentations on any aspect of social science methodology.  The conference attracts a wide variety of papers from HDR students to very established researchers. We encourage researchers at all levels to submit abstracts.

IAOS-ISI 2023 Conference in Livingstone, Zambia: Submit your paper by 30 September 2022

The 17th IAOS Conference and 3rd ISI Regional Statistics Conference will be held in Livingstone, Zambia from 4 -6 April 2023. It is jointly organized by the IAOS, ISI and the Zambia Statistics Agency – ZamStats.

Find out more

International Job Vacancies

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics is currently recruiting for the following positions based in Montreal, Santiago, Dakar and Beirut. 

Current positions in SSA's Career Centre

Head of Biostatistics


Burnet Institute

Biostatistics is a key growth area within Burnet ...


New South Wales

University of Sydney

Opportunity to provide statistical support to ...

Research Fellow Cancer Research

New South Wales

The University of Sydney

Full-time or part-time, 2 year fixed term opportunityLaunch ...

View All Jobs

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.