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17 November 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},.

I am writing this introduction to the newsletter as our Early Career and Student Statistician Miniconference (ECSS Miniconference) comes to a close. For three days members and non-members, students, early career and more senior statisticians were treated to a smorgasbord of talks, networking and learning opportunities and insights into the many ways the career of a statistician can evolve. 

The talks were all interesting, but not being a statistician myself, I was particularly drawn to those where the presenters outlined their career path. I found it fascinating to hear how their experiences got them to where they are now. For an outsider like me it certainly looks like being a statistician is a most rewarding career-choice. Another highlight was James Goldie's keynote speech "Telling climate stories with, and around, data". Using the topic of climate change as an example, James offered helpful communication strategies for scientists addressing the general public. James would know, as he is the Data and Digital Storytelling Lead, 360info, hosted at Monash University.

I get a special thrill out of events such as the ECSS Miniconference, because they are a rare opportunity for me to see members of SSA in person (well…on Zoom). I love being able to put a face to a name I have only seen in writing over the years!

Can I just say, the word “Mini” should have been dropped from the name of this conference ages ago, as it is a serious understatement. 

Jodi Phillips' conference set up at home

The conference was a massive event, nothing “mini” about it, and you would not believe that planning for it only started a few months ago.

The people who put their hand up to organise events like this conference always deserve our praise and appreciation. This applies even more so when they do a stellar job, like the organisers and helpers of the ECSS Miniconference did. Thank you! You made this a very successful event.

I’d like to give a special mention to committee members Daniela Vasco (ECSS Network), Lucy Conran (WA Branch), Jie Kang (NZSA) and Shih Ching Fu (WA Branch). Well done! Then there are the tech volunteers, without whom an event like this conference would have been impossible to run: Mark Wicht and John Yeung. And finally, let me give a big shout-out to SSA’s very capable Event Coordinator, Jodi Phillips, who has put her family life on hold while throwing herself fully into this conference.

Looking forward to the ECSS conference in 2024!

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer 

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SSA 60th anniversary slide

The Random Sample - Episode 70 Out Now!

The Random Sample  - Image pf presenters

The Statistical Society of Australia reached a big milestone in 2022, as iwe celebrated our 60th birthday!

In this episode, we celebrate that anniversary as we explore what the SSA  offers its members, look back at some of its history, and peek into the future, especially with the recent emergence of data science.

Just search for "The Random Sample" where you get your podcasts, or click here

SSA Canberra “rego grant” prize winner Rui Shen discusses how they used to their grant

Rui Shen, an Honours year student in statistics at the Australian National University and recent winner of an SSA Canberra “rego grant” prize, shares his experiences with how he used the grant to attend the recent times-series analysis and forecasting with R workshop:

"Thank you for offering me the Statistical Society of Australia (Canberra Branch) ‘rego’ grant. This grant motivated me to participate in and concentrate on the ‘Time series analysis and forecasting using R’ workshop. During this two-day workshop, I learned the ‘tsibble’ data structure to manage time series and forecasting time series models, which are useful in handling the analysis of large collections of time series. Specifically, on day 1, I explored how to wrangle time series data with tidy tools, calculate time series features, and visualise the time series data. On day 2, I studied how to select a good forecasting model and ensure the forecasts are coherent. Through this workshop, I have a deeper understanding of graphics, transformations, seasonality and trends, and features of time series data. In forecasting, I also have a preliminary understanding of exponential smoothing, ARIMA models, dynamic regression and hierarchical forecasting. This workshop used some R packages extensively, such as ‘tidyverse’, ‘fpp3’, ‘GGally, and ‘sugrrants’, which also strengthened my R language programming skills. Moreover, this workshop has explanations of knowledge, the application of R code, and 20 small lab session exercises to deepen our understanding of what we have learned. I enjoyed the two-day workshop very much.

I will continue to be passionate in my future studies with gratitude to SSA Canberra. Your continued support has already influenced many students and researchers. Thanks again for offering me this grant. I believe I can do better in my future study and career.


Rui Shen"

COVID-19 Mortality by wave

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published its report on COVID-19 Mortality by wave yesterday. It makes interesting reading by breaking down COVID related death rates by age, virus variant, and socio-economic background, but also by geographic origin of those who died from COVID. "During the Delta wave Australians born overseas had a rate of death close to 4 times higher than that of people born in Australia, with rates particularly high for those born in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe." Lauren Moran, ABS Director of Health and Vital Statistics, commented.
"The disparity decreased during the Omicron wave, and since July 2022 the death rate of those born in Australia has been higher."

By Marie-Louise Rankin

Read the full analysis here.

Mentioned in previous newsletters:

The SSA Mentoring SSA Mentoring Program 2023 - Now open for applications

The SSA is excited to invite you to participate in the 2023 mentoring program!
Open to all members of the Society, the program will connect early and mid-career statisticians with experienced mentors to provide them with career guidance and share their experiences to help them achieve their professional goals.
See here or the SSA Mentoring website to find out if you are eligible and for more information.
To register your interest please complete the form by Sunday 11th December.

The 2022 Tjanpi Award for Best Student Paper in Environmental Statistics

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 Tjanpi Award, the annual student prize for best student paper in environmental statistics, sponsored by the SSA Environmental Statistics Section.  Find out more.

SSA Events

SSA NSW Branch workshop: A crash course on using machine learning methods effectively in practice

22 Nov 2022, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (AEDT) @ 12 Second Way 430 Active Learning Space, Room 430, 12 Second Way, Macquarie University

The SSA NSW branch and School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Macquarie University are offering this in-person workshop presented by Prof. Benoit Liquet-Weiland and Dr Sarat Moka. 

Deep learning can be viewed as a sub-discipline of machine learning and hence this first workshop provides an overview of key machine learning concepts and paradigms. The participant is introduced to supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and the general concept of iterative based optimization for learning. This course also presents a simple non-linear auto-encoder architecture. Aspects of model tuning are also discussed including feature engineering and hyper-parameter choice. The workshop includes machine learning demonstrations using R and Python software. This first workshop will equip attendees for the follow up workshop on “Mathematical Engineering of Deep Learning”.

Please click here for more information and to register. 

WA Branch End of Year Function

Tuesday,29 November 2022, 6:30 PM

Fibber McGee's Irish Pub & Steakhouse, 711 Newcastle St, Leederville

The WA Branch are pleased to invite members and guests to our End of Year Function. This is our final event for 2022 and an excellent opportunity enjoy one another's company as the silly season approaches.

Join us for a festive three course meal -- subsidised for members and their guest. Payment will be taken on the night so please bring along sufficient cash.

Your first drink is compliments of the WA Branch with subsequent drinks purchased at the bar.

The restaurant is licensed and there is no BYO.

Register here

SA Branch November Meeting with speaker Associate Professor Arul Earnest

Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 6:00 – 7:00 pm (Adelaide Time)

182 Victoria Square, Flinders University, Adelaide, and online

5.30 pm: Refreshments and networking

6.05 pm: Seminar Presentation

To adhere with SA Health Covid Safe guidelines and maximum capacity of available facility, please inform us by email to if you are planning to attend the meeting in person.

7:30 pm: A dinner will be held for those attending in person. Please RSVP to

See event listing on SSA website

NSW Branch: 2022 Annual Dinner

5 Dec 2022, 7:00 PM (AEDT), Aerial Function Centre, UTS 

The afternoon begins with the 23rd annual J.B. Douglas Awards, followed by the Annual Lecture by Professor Marijka Batterham starting around 6pm, and then dinner from about 7pm. 

The 23rd J. B. Douglas Awards
Each year the J. B. Douglas award showcases NSW postgraduate students' research work. As usual, we will have several talks by research students nearing completion at NSW institutions. Nominees are still being finalised, we will send a separate announcement closer to the day.

2022 Annual Lecture
This year, we are very happy to have Professor Marijka Batterham, Director of the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia and the Statistical Consulting Centre give the Annual Lecture. Details of the talk will be made available closer to the date.

2022 Annual Dinner
To register, please follow the link here. A discount is given to early career and student members.

New dates!

The Necessary SQL - An Introduction to SQL with Daniel Fryer

6-February 2023, 9:00 AM (AEDT) – 7 February 2023, 5:00 PM (AEDT), Online via Zoom

This course is a gentle, fast paced introduction to SQL. Their objective is to build a strong foundation and intuition for SQL programming, with an emphasis on retrieving and transforming data in a robust and testable manner. The course is suitable for beginners with no prior programming experience, but includes plenty of additional material for experienced programmers that are new to SQL. 

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

IASS Webinar 23: Bridging Big Data and Sampling Methodology: What is "big" and where is the "bridge"

30 November 2022, 12am AEDT

With Fulvia Mecatti

While the BigData-native statistical community is growing larger, sampling statisticians seem to grow divided between enthusiastic and worried. Is BigData also a big step ahead to extract trustful information and actual knowledge from data? Is BigData underplaying sampling theory? Supplanting it as a low-cost futuristic option? In this webinar I shall try and decipher the multifaceted relationship connecting BigData and Sampling methodology, starting with the blurry definition of BigData, discussing the non-probabilistic data generating mechanism, passing through different kind of data, of application contexts and goals, to end with some very personal considerations and views.

Register here

ACSPRI Summer Program

There's 3 weeks left to take advantage of the ACSPRI 2023 Summer Program's early-bird course fees. Be sure to enrol before 7 December to get the discount, and secure a place in ACSPRI's popular courses. 

7 December is also the deadline for applying for either of our two HDR Student scholarships:

  • The Indigenous HDR Scholarship, administered on behalf of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, is available to support Indigenous HDR students by covering the cost of ACSPRI course fees.
  • The Christine Critchley Memorial Scholarship will cover the course fee for one full-time student at an ACSPRI member institution to attend a course in the Summer Program.

For details about the application process for either of these scholarships, please follow the hyperlinks. 

For information about all of ACSPRI’s scheduled courses, please visit their events page.

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