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  • 15 Jul 2021 9:11 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    A reminder that SSA Vic are offering financial support to our members for the attendance of statistical workshops, conferences, winter/summer schools and short courses; both national and international, in 2021. This includes for example, the ECSSC 2021 

    Members are invited to apply for funding via one of the two schemes: 

    1.        (Conferences 2021) We are offering up to $200 of total funding, per member, for the registration and travel expenses associated with attendance of national and international conferences; or

    2.     (Summer & Winter Schools/Short Courses/Workshops 2021) We are offering up to $150 of total funding, per member, for the registration cost of short courses or workshops for their statistical development. 

    Members may apply to both schemes, however the total amount of funding available per member is $250 (e.g., if a member has received $150 for a Workshop, and then applies for conference expenses, then they will only be eligible for $100 from the Conference scheme). Members who were funded in 2020 are also eligible for funding in this 2021 round. 

    To be eligible for access to funding, the applicant must satisfy the following criteria: 

    1.        The applicant must be a member of SSA Vic at the time of application. (Membership is only $20 for students!)

    2.     Provide invoices/evidence of registration and expenses that the funding will be used to cover. 

    Members seeking more information may email for more information, by including the subject line “SSA Vic Funding Applications 2021”.

    Please use this form to apply for either funding schemes.

    We hope that this funding program will help alleviate the financial burden of our members and look forward to receiving your applications.

  • 8 Jul 2021 3:40 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) awards the Pitman Medal (named after E. J. G. Pitman), at most once annually, in recognition of outstanding achievement in, and contribution to, the discipline of Statistics. 

    SSA is pleased to announce

    Rob J Hyndman FAA FASSA, Professor of Statistics and Head of the Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics at Monash University, 

    as the Pitman Medal winner in 2021.

    Rob Hyndman is one of the world’s most recognised statisticians and is internationally recognised for cultivating widespread interest around forecasting. He has authored about 200 papers, chapters, or books on statistical topics since 1991. His most important contributions are in the areas of time series forecasting, forecast reconciliation, energy forecasting, and demographic fore- casting. The methodology developed in Hyndman’s research papers is used in many fields including epidemiology, demography, energy management, optometry, meteorology, operations research, pharmacology, environmetrics, tourism, ecology, satellite imaging, and chemistry. Google Scholar calculates more than 29 400 citations of his work (17 900 in the last five years). His H-index is 62.

    Rob Hyndman has been Editor of three statistical journals as well as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Forecasting from 2001–2004 and 2019.

    Hyndman was a Director of the International Institute of Forecasters from 2005–2018. He was Secretary of the Victorian branch council of the Statistical Society of Australia for several years in the late 1990s. Also, he was the Victorian representative on the Central Council of the Statistical Society of Australia for some time in the 1990s.

    Hyndman is frequently asked to advise the Australian Bureau of Statistics on methodological is- sues, most recently to correct the well-publicised problems they had with unemployment seasonal adjustment in August 2014. He was also a member of the ABS Methodological Advisory Committee from 2010–2018.

    He has been on the scaling committee for the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (overseeing the calculation of the ATAR for all Victorian VCE students) continuously since 1994.

    He has been on the ATAR technical group (and its predecessors) for the Australian Conference of Tertiary Admissions Centres (overseeing the calculation of the ATAR for all Australian Year 12 students) continuously since 2003.

    He has been on the Indigenous Statistical and Information Advisory Group for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare since 2017.

    Hyndman’s work with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging involved reducing the forecast error in the budget for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from nearly $1 billion per year to less than $50 million per year (out of a budget of $7 billion at the time). His methods continue to be used for forecasting the PBS budget nearly 20 years later.

    Hyndman was the founding Director of Consulting for the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at Monash University, and founding Director of the Monash University Business and Economic Forecasting Unit. In these roles he has collaborated with more than 100 commercial clients, in Australia, New Zealand, China, USA, India, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

  • 8 Jul 2021 3:35 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The E J G Pitman Young Statisticians Prize is awarded for the most outstanding talk by a “young statistician” at an Australian Statistical Conference. The prize is only open to members of SSA or – in the case of ANZSC2021 - to members of SSA or NZSA, and a ‘young statistician’ means a person enrolled for a degree who is studying either full-time or part-time without age limit, or a person who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree within the past five years, or a person awarded a postgraduate degree within the past year.  The prize winner is selected by a committee of members of the Society appointed by Council.

    At the closing ceremony of ANZSC2021 today, Adrian Barnett commented on how difficult the selection of the winner had been, as so many deserving presentations had been seen during the course of the conference. After thanking the panel of judges involved in making the decision, he was pleased to announce that the Pitman Prize winner for 2021 is Elizabeth Korevaar, who presented “Evaluation of statistical methods used to meta-analyse results from interrupted time series studies: a simulation study”.

    Congratulations, Elizabeth Korevaar!

  • 7 Jul 2021 3:44 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

      mikemacmarketing, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons 

    Can artificial intelligence answer important medical questions?

    A collaboration between a biostatistician and a data scientist.

    $2,000 scholarships available for two successful applicants

    The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group (APBG) is providing a fantastic opportunity for undergraduates or new graduates in the data science and statistical fields to work together on this important conundrum.

    Biostatisticians and data scientists often have different approaches to answering important clinical questions.  Classical statistical regression methods used for prediction modelling are well understood in the statistical sciences and the scientific community that employs them. These methods tend to be transparent and are usually hypothesis driven but can overlook complex associations with limited flexibility when a high number of variables are investigated. In addition, when using classic regression modelling, choosing the ‘right’ model is not straightforward. Non-traditional machine learning algorithms, and machine learning approaches, may overcome some of the limitations of classical regression models in this new era of big data, but are not a complete solution as they must be considered in the context of the limitations of data used in the analysis.

    In this project, you will receive a large dataset with an underlying correlation structure.  You will work together with your assigned collaborator to discover the algorithm that best fits the data.

    You will be expected to meet with the APBG steering committee to present updates on your project, provide a written report, code, and present your findings at our annual meeting which is to be held in December 2021.

    Applications are welcomed from undergraduates or graduates of Data Science or Statistics or related fields who are based in Australia or New Zealand.

    Grant amount: $2,000 each for successful applicants (one data scientist, one biostatistician).

    How to apply: Send your one-page CV, plus a covering letter explaining why you would be suitable for this opportunity to by 15 August 2021.  Successful applicants will be notified by the end of August 2021.

    This scholarship opportunity is provided by APBG, in partnership with the SSA.  The Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics Group is a not-for-profit association of pharmaceutical industry statisticians in Australia, whose mission is to ensure high statistical standards within Australia to assist in the decision processes which provide safe, efficacious and cost-effective health care products produced in a regulated environment for the health and quality of life of people.


  • 2 Jul 2021 1:23 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    This week’s Intergenerational Report highlights the vast structural challenges ahead for Australia’s society, economy and federal budget. In the coming years, we face a slowing economy, a huge productivity challenge, a dropping birth rate, and a long-term COVID hangover. This sharpens the imperative for clever investments now to put Australia on a path to become a global science and technology superpower. Science and technology are the answer to every one of these challenges. We made this case in STA’s media commentary this week, syndicated nationally and in The Canberra Times and Business Insider

    STA’s lifeblood is our members. We are always delighted to welcome the leadership of our member organisations to serve in STA’s governance structures. This month, Women in STEMM Australia co-chair Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea joins STA’s Policy Committee. Ecological Society of Australia President Dr Bek Christensen and former Statistical Society of Australia President Professor Adrian Barnett were reappointed for a second term. Joining the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee are Dr Susanna Cramb of the Statistical Society of Australia, Dr Erin McGillick of Reproductive Health Australia, and Dr Tara Roberson of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. Susannah and Erin are also Superstars of STEM. We warmly welcome them to all their new roles!

    Following last year’s excellent virtual event, STA will host the official launch of National Science Week 2021. Register now for this free online event as we explore The Science of Recovery, Resilience & Renewal with an outstanding expert panel.

    Next week, we will proudly launch our Reconciliation Action Plan. It sets out a clear path with measurable actions over the coming year. We will soon be inviting you and your members to join us for this important online event. We also congratulate Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt - CEO of STA member organisation Deadly Science - whose new book The First Scientists is now available for pre-order. We can’t wait to read it, Corey!

    Finally, this week we are delighted to welcome our newest member of the STA family - Cruxes Innovation. Cruxes runs research translation coaching and mentoring programs to help researchers to work with industry to apply brilliant science and research. Their membership of STA is especially timely as momentum grows in the opportunities for Australia on research translation. Please join me and the STA Board in warmly welcoming Cruxes - and its leaders Jonathan Lacey and Emily Chang - to the STA community.

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

  • 23 Jun 2021 2:30 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Science And Technology Will Enable Us To Seize The Future.

    Together, they are key to solve humanity’s most complex challenges – and to forge new opportunities for Australia.

    To enable them to play this pivotal role, we need to safeguard and strengthen our sovereign science,  technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) capabilities.

    Our competitor nations have a clear-eyed strategic understanding about how a strong STEM system unleashes economic growth and creates jobs, seeds new industries, and leads to major breakthroughs to save lives.

    Australia should be every bit as ambitious in its STEM capabilities as other nations across the globe.

    In this blueprint, we outline a bold policy vision for how Australia can achieve this.

    Through clever strategic investments, leveraged global collaboration, and a coordinated national strategy, we can seize advantages for our nation – and keep pace with the world.

    And this will enable us to tackle the next big challenges we face at home and abroad.

    Science and technology have been at the forefront of Australia’s approach to managing intensifying bushfire seasons and a global pandemic. They are essential in the urgent rebuilding of our economy.

    A stronger STEM capability will help to save and improve lives - and translate more of our world-leading research into products, services, jobs and industries in Australia.

    This blueprint offers Science & Technology Australia’s policy vision on:

    • A national strategy to extend crucial science and technology capabilities;
    • An ambitious target of levelling-up R&D investment to 3 per cent of GDP to keep pace and compete with our international rivals;
    • A new $2.4 billion research translation and commercialisation fund to turbo-charge more of Australia’s ideas and innovations into products, services, and jobs;
    • A major new initiative to inspire school students to grow their skills, knowledge, and love of STEM in order to arrest the alarming slide in maths and science skills among school students;
    • Policy deeply informed by research and evidence;
    • Increased and deepened internationally collaborative research and engagement; and
    • A diverse and inclusive STEM workforce.

    The policies are mutually reinforcing, and of equal importance to the STEM sector.

    We commend this policy vision to you.

    See our vision here.

  • 23 Jun 2021 11:44 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Statistical Society of Australia wishes to emphasise our support of trans people and the gender diverse community: within the SSA, and more broadly. The SSA is committed to ensuring the statistical community in Australia is welcoming and inclusive, and will not tolerate anti-transgender bias, including discrimination in any form.

    As statisticians, we are often involved with the collection and analysis of data on gender and sex. The SSA encourages all researchers to collect data on gender and sex in an inclusive way, in compliance with the Federal Sex Discrimination Act. We encourage our members to ensure that data collection for gender and sex can accurately and adequately reflect both cis and trans people in studies that they are involved in. We recommend consulting the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, available here.

    The SSA wishes to thank Transgender Victoria for their advice in the preparation of this statement.

  • 22 Jun 2021 1:36 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Science & Technology Australia (STA) has been offering its flagship event, “Science Meets Parliament” since 1999. It’s objectives are

    • To stimulate and inform parliamentarians of how science contributes to and informs public policy, and
    • To assist in professional development through providing participants with an insight into political, policy, media and parliamentary processes.

    Science meets Parliament plays an important part in Science & Technology Australia’s advocacy effort, as it demonstrates, with real examples, how Australia benefits from public and private investment in science. It is also a terrific networking and professional development opportunity for participants.

    In 2021, “Science Meets Parliament” was delivered virtually from 2 March to 1 April. Two lucky members were chosen to represent SSA at this year’s event. We always ask them for a written report on their experience, and here is the first one, written by Jason Whyte:

    Science Meets Parliament 2021 - Part 1

    Unlike you, gentle reader, few of our parliamentarians have a science qualification. So, they may not appreciate the contributions made by statisticians to Australia’s interests. Science Meets Parliament (SMP) provides an opportunity for statisticians to increase their visibility, and to inform parliamentarians of the scope and value of our work. Through this, SMP aims to forge lasting relationships that will allow scientists to contribute to the processes of setting national priorities and policy development. No pressure….

    Unlike the pre-coronavirus SMPs held in Canberra over two days, the 2021 instalment featured around a month of Zoom-like information sessions for delegates scattered across Australia. Those with a full registration would also join three or four other delegates for an online meeting with an MP or senator.

    A statistician seeking to engage with SMP for the first time may find the process somewhat daunting (cough!). To help with this, some SMP sessions featured advice from experienced delegates or Canberra insiders on how to approach your scheduled meeting. Some suggestions seem particularly appropriate for statisticians considering SMP participation.

    In the session “Preparing to meet a parliamentarian”, I wondered if details of my work might be off-putting, and asked:

    “I'm concerned that my meeting might play out like an episode of "First Dates": I want to meet again but the MP is not so keen. Any tips on what materials are likely to best complement my presentation?”

    Kylie Walker, CEO Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering, advised: “Sweep right back out for that big picture.” (That is, think beyond than your own specific area of work and its direct implications.)  “I’d be interested to hear about the some of the broader applications of the field rather than your specific area if it’s too conceptual to be able to explain succinctly to a non-technical audience.”

    Dr Tien Huynh from RMIT (2017-18 Participant and one of the “Superstars of STEM”) suggested: “The three main areas that I thought were really important for most parliamentarians that you can’t get wrong are Environment, Health, and [the] Economy, and amongst those you’ll find maths and statistics in every single part.” Also, it’s appropriate to connect your work to what your field is trying to achieve: “You have to make that linkage for the parliamentarian so that they can see the relevance of what you are doing.”

    An SMP meeting can be interrupted when your parliamentarian is summoned for a vote. However, this may give a delegate the opportunity to talk to the parliamentarian’s political staff.

    The SMP programme covered this possibility with the session “How to Engage with Advisors”. The panel included Mr Harry Godber, a former Adviser to the Turnbull & Morrison Governments on “tech, innovation, financial regulation & space policy”, and now Head of Strategy at Flare HR. Godber’s advice included some questions to think about before your meeting: “What is the value you provide to Australia as a whole? What could it add to the government’s policy platform? Can you provide case studies?”

    “Be very concise in your pitch. What can you provide? What are you asking for? Don’t talk in the abstract so that the meeting doesn’t address these points.”

    In preparation for my meeting, I found my MP’s maiden speech quite instructive. I learned that we grew up in demographically similar areas, and we also had intersecting concerns in education and environmental management.

    Following the conclusion of the information sessions, my group of SMP attendees spent around an hour with our MP, zooming in from her home on April 1st. Each delegate gave a short presentation and responded to questions. The MP seemed to show a genuine interest in these contributions.

    Immediately following the meeting I sent the MP links to my publications and outreach activities relating to our discussion. After almost three months, I am yet to receive a reply. Perhaps some MPs really don’t have the time for a second meeting, or maybe I had spinach in my teeth? Delegates may wonder what data there is on meetings between scientists and parliamentarians that have led to continuing relationships. If only there was some professional body that had the skills to look into this….

    By Jason Whyte

    Interested in attending Science Meets Parliament next year? Keep an eye out for of search for expressions of interest in the SSA newsletters from early 2022.

  • 18 Jun 2021 11:07 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Next week is the final sitting week of Parliament before the mid-winter break. As always, STA will be active on Capital Hill on behalf of you and your members. On Tuesday, we’ll host a Parliamentary Friends of Science event for MPs and Senators on science and evidence informed policy. Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley and CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall will join me on stage for an engaging discussion. We’ll also unveil STA’s refreshed policy vision next week - with our President Jeremy Brownlie doing the honours in Canberra. This blueprint is the result of almost a year of deep consultation with the science and technology sector. We look forward to sharing the final document with you ahead of it being made public.

    Our annual survey of the science workforce - a collaboration with Professional Scientists Australia - is in the field. Thank you to those who have already shared the link with your membership, staff and networks - and encouraged them to complete it. This survey is an invaluable source of data in our advocacy for scientists and technologists across the country. Please remind your networks to take the survey before it closes on June 27. 

    Don’t forget to register for our exclusive event for STA members next Tuesday on how to access the Global Talent Visa. This is a terrific opportunity to hear directly from the Department of Home Affairs about current eligibility for this visa - and especially valuable if you or your employing institution are seeking to recruit brilliant overseas STEM talent.  

    Congratulations from all of us in the STA community to Professor Bronwyn Fox on her appointment as CSIRO’s next Chief Scientist. Bronwyn is a materials and engineering scientist, a Fellow of both RACI and ATSE, and was founding director of Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute. We’re delighted for her and for CSIRO on this excellent decision.  

    As part of our commitment to reconciliation, STA plans to make a submission shortly to the review of the Australian school curriculum. As the peak body for Australia’s STEM sector, we support a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture, history and contemporary circumstances being taught to Australian school students. We encourage other STA member organisations to offer similar support. You can make a submission by 8 July.

    Finally, this week we convened our first training session for our third cohort of STA STEM Ambassadors, and the last formal training session for our second cohort of Superstars of STEM. We wish them all well for their next steps - and are excited to watch their stars continue to rise.

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 


    As a first step to develop the next research infrastructure roadmap, the Government is asking researchers to participate in a survey about current national research infrastructure use. The questions ask how you currently use or interact with Australia's NRI, what you need from NRI now and in the future, and what you see as the emerging trends, challenges and opportunities for NRI. The survey takes around 30 minutes to complete and is here - it closes Wednesday 30 June. 


    Further information: Peter Derbyshire, STA Policy Manager -

  • 9 Jun 2021 5:18 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    SSA Canberra is inviting student members of SSA Canberra branch to apply for financial support to attend the virtual Australia and New Zealand Statistical Conference (ANZSC, 5-9 July 2021) or the Early Career and Student Statisticians Conference (ECSSC, 24 July - 1 August, including pre-conference workshops). The grant will reimburse the fee you pay for the appropriate registration/workshop costs, with the maximum amount being $200 in total. 

    To be eligible for the grant, you must either be a student member of SSA Canberra Branch, or have applied to be a student member with SSA Canberra, at the time of submitting your registration grant application. Membership is only $20 for full time students, so it is definitely worth joining just to apply for the grant! 

    Application details:

    Please prepare the following documents and a submit a single PDF form containing:

    1. A brief resume/CV of up to 4 pages.
    2. Which costs and amounts you would like SSA Canberra to reimburse; note that you can select any combination of costs from the two conferences.   
    3. A short document (max 200 words) describing the anticipated benefits to you that will result from your attendance at the conference/workshop, and declaring any other financial support offered to you for this conference/workshop.
    4. (Optional) If you are presenting, your submitted talk/poster abstract for ANZSC2021/ECSSC2021. 

    Please send these via email to by 5pm on 28 June 2021, but we will evaluate applications on a rolling basis. 

    Outcome and show me the money!

    Successful applications will be notified by email no later than 4 July 2021. If you are successful, we will request you to send us relevant registration receipts/invoices, and SSA Canberra will reimburse you the awarded amount.  

    Successful applications should:

    • Acdgeknowle the financial support of SSA Canberra during their presentation (if you present);
    • Contribute a short piece about their experience to the SSA Stats Matters newsletter, to be sent to

    If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at

    We look forward to your application,
    SSA Canberra

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