SSA April 2019 eNews

Welcome to the April edition of the SSA newsletter!

If you have been reading your emails from SSA you will have noticed that we have been advertising a record number of workshops these last few weeks.  I have been tracking our workshops since 2008 and did you know that we are just one workshop away from our 100th event?! It is fantastic to see so much CPD activity by the branches and sections, and I hope we are catering to what you, the members, need. To make sure that we do, our CPD Committee is about to launch a survey on SSA's CPD program, and it would be great to receive as much feedback as possible when the survey goes out. Thank you in advance for your input!

Not the actual booksOn another note, I recently received the following message from a member: "I have about 100 books that I would like to give away. Some of them dating back to 1954. Eg. Tables of partially balanced designs with two associate classes, by Bose, Clatworthy and Shrikhande. Many of the books relate to statistics for practical application. Do you know of anyone who would like these books? Unfortunately I am not mobile, so they would have to be collected from me at my address in Queensland (Cannon Hill)." (The image above does not depict the actual books.)

If anyone is interested or has a good idea what to do with these books, please email me ( and I'll put you in touch with this member.

And lastly:  don't forget you only have another week or so to stock up on those chocolate Easter eggs!

Wishing you all a lovely Easter break!

Kind regards 

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer


2019 Lancaster Lecture: Expectations of Life: from Past to Present

Kerrie Mengersen, Distinguished Professor of Statistics at Queensland University of Technology, delivered the twelfth Lancaster Lecture to the New South Wales Branch on 20th March 2019.

The talk was delivered in an old haunt of Professor Lancaster - one of the below ground lecture theatres at the University of Sydney's Carslaw Building. In a nice touch, the decor of the theatre was exactly the same as when Lancaster taught there in the 1960s.

Kerrie's lecture was titled "`Expectations of Life': from Past to Present",  which incorporated the title of a Lancaster book. Throughout the talk she made reference to Lancaster's work and related it to current-day research. For example, Lancaster had some seminar papers on bivariate disributions in the late 1950s - and these were related to today's big data models which contain thousands of variables. Some vignette's on research by the impressive Mengersen applied statistics group were presented. Some examples included real-time cycling through central Brisbane based on air quality considerations, the Australian Cancer Atlasand a recent major paper in Statistical Science titled `Principles of Experimental Design for Big Data Analysis'.

The 2019 Lancaster Lecturer had called ahead saying that she wouldn't mind a bit of Asian food to celebrate a successful delivery After the talk, quite a big contingent headed down King Street, Newtown, to the famous Thai Pothong restaurant.

Matt Wand


Demonstrating Impact with Industry and Vic Branch AGM

On March 19 the Victorian Branch held its first meeting of 2019. The Branch’s AGM was followed by Dr Shirley Coleman discussing how she has demonstrated the impact of her work with industry partners. 

Dr Coleman’s seminar on demonstrating impact was a great insight into the mutually beneficial relationship between the Industrial Statistics Research Unit (ISRU, Newcastle University, UK) and small to medium enterprises (SMEs). In order to maintain funding, one of the requirements of university departments in the UK is to demonstrate the impact of the research they conduct. Dr Coleman walked us through a few examples where the research unit she directs has engaged industry to apply statistical thinking and methods to help SMEs make sense of their data. Read more here.


Conditional selection for sample coordination

The speaker for the March meeting of the SA Branch was Claire Clarke from the ABS, who discussed a method the ABS is developing to coordinate the samples selected for ABS business and household surveys. The ‘Conditional Selection’ method performs sample coordination at the unit level and allows considerably more flexibility in sample design compared with the method currently used. Claire outlined the basic principles of the method and explained the practical issues which have had to be managed prior to implementation. Read the full article here.


Proteins, Mass Spectrometry and Statistics

The April meeting of the Western Australian Branch heard Professor Inge Koch present a talk Analysis of Proteomics Imaging Mass Spectrometry Data. It was a particularly significant meeting as it also celebrated Inge taking up the role of Professor of Statistics and Data Science at the University of Western Australia. Read all about Inge's talk here.


News from the Bayesian Section

The Bayes Section is pleased to announce its new executive committee consisting of:  Dr Sophie Zaloumis (University of Melbourne), Dr David Frazier (Monash University), Dr Matt Moores (University of Wollongong), Dr Clara Grazian (University of New South Wales), A/Prof Sama Low Choy (Griffith University) and A/Prof Chris Drovandi (Chair, Queensland University of Technology).  Please stay tuned for more activities coming out of the Bayes Section! 

The Bayes Section is now on Twitter!  Please follow us at (@BayesSsa) to keep abreast of Bayesian activities happening locally and across the world. 

Recently it was announced that registrations have opened for the Bayes on the Beach 2019 conference.  For more details, visit this website

The team is in the process of organising a trip for Dr Anthony Lee (Senior Lecturer from University of Bristol, UK) to visit Australia, partially funded by the SSA and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS).  Anthony has extensive expertise in the theory and practice of computational Bayesian statistics.  Anthony will deliver tutorial-style presentations at Queensland University of Technology and Monash University in July, co-hosted by SSA and ACEMS.  More details to follow soon... 

Griffith Uni has continued to develop workshops to help social scientists transition from traditional statistical methods to Bayesian thinking. They are now opening up their statistical workshops to external participants. Contact Janet in the Researcher Education & Development team for more details.

The Bayes Section Executive Committee


Back in the black, but vision for science veers off track

A Budget Update from Science & Technology Australia

The 2019/2020 Federal Budget has missed the opportunity to invest in solution-making scientific and technological research and Australia’s world-class institutions and agencies that make it possible.

President of Science & Technology Australia, Professor Emma Johnston AO, said the Federal Budget was a mixed result for Australia’s science and technology driven future.

Read the full media release here.


AMSI News:

New Board Chair for AMSI

A new Board Chair was appointed for AMSI recently after the retirement of SSA Honorary Member, Dr Ron Sandland AM, who spent almost eight years in the role. Best wishes to Ron, and welcome to his successor on the AMSI Board, Dr Adelle Howse.


CHOOSEMATHS Mentoring is inspiring and supporting a new generation of female STEM students. 

Running nationally, the mentor program links Australian university students and maths professionals with Year 9 & 10 high school girls in order to strengthen engagement of girls and women in maths. 

We are seeking mentors (male and female!) who are enthusiastic about maths and who are excited to talk to students about maths has helped them on their own pathway. So if you are studying a STEM-related subject at university or if you are using maths in your job, we want to hear from you! 

Visit our website today to find out more about CHOOSEMATHS Mentoring and register your interest in becoming a mentor.


APR.Intern doesn't just open doors, it opens up new PhD talent, skills and thinking to industry by tapping into new worlds of innovation and opportunity. The program has just launched its national OPEN UP YOUR WORLD campaign, featuring the journey of former STEM PhD intern, now Senior Networks Engineer at Telstra, Amanthi Thudugalage. Watch the video here


New discounts for SSA members!

New discounts are now available to our members from CRC Press!

And don't forget your discount on Wiley publications: 35% off books (excluding text books), as well as reduced subscriptions to the magazine ‘Significance’.

To retrieve your discount code to use any (or all!) of these offers please log in as a member at and go to the "Members only discounts" page (beneath the "Members login" heading. 


Statistics in the Capital: Machine Learning in Actuarial Studies

SSA Canberra is delighted to have Dr Fei Huang speak at the April branch meeting. Fei is a senior lecturer in actuarial studies at the Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics at ANU. Her main research interests are in predictive modeling and data analytics of mortality, longevity and investment risks.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday 29 April. Details will be available in due course on the Canberra branch meeting website.

Francis Hui Warren Muller, Daniel Fearnley, Phil Tennant

On behalf of SSA Canberra 


The Early Bird Deadline for the following Sydney workshop, to be held on 16 May 2019,  is approaching soon:

Fast algorithms and modern visualisations for feature selection 

Register before 16 April 2019 to take advantage of significant discounts! For more information about this popular workshop with Samuel Muller and Garth Tarr please click here.

Other SSA events you can look forward to:

Semiparamentric regression with R, Sydney, 28 June 2019

Gaining skills in biostatistical consultancy, Melbourne, 4 July 2019

Network meta-analysis and population adjustment for decision-making, Sydney,
4 November 2019

Bayes on the Beach 2019, Surfers Paradise, 25-26 November 2019

Member News:

SSA Honorary member Professor Helen MacGillivray was featured just last month in AMSTAT news. Read about Helen and her illustrious career in the AMSTAT column "A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Women in Statistics".

The environmental stats section is now on Twitter. Their twitter handle is @EnviroStatsSSA

SSA Career Centre

Looking for a change? The SSA Career Centre may have options for you.

See current positions available here.

Are you an employer? Click here to see resumes of potential candidates.                                                     

See our events listing to see what's coming up!