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  • 22 Jun 2023 9:14 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Royal Statistical Society (RSS), the leading membership body advocating for the importance of statistics and data, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sarah Cumbers as its new chief executive.

    Taking up the role in September 2023, Sarah will lead on the RSS’s varied programme of activities, including its accreditation schemes, publications, conference and events, and policy work while enhancing its role as the membership body for all those interested in the good use of data.

    Sarah is currently the evidence and insights director at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a global charity dedicated to engineering a safer world. During her time at the organisation, Sarah led on its flagship programme, the World Risk Poll, a unique global survey on public perceptions and experience of risk and safety, as well as its What Works for safety programme.

    As an advocate of evidence-based policy and practice, Sarah is also the chair of the Evidence Quarter, a community interest company that brings together evidence-minded organisations to increase collaboration and tackle joint challenges. Previously she spent much of her career at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), working across a number of roles including evaluation of medicines, management of information services, and development of guideline methodology.

    The RSS was previously led by Stian Westlake, now executive chair of the Economic and Social Research Council. Sarah takes the role over from Nicola Emmerson, the Society’s director of membership and professional affairs, who has led the organisation on an interim basis since May.

    Commenting on the appointment, Dr Andrew Garrett, president of the RSS, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Sarah to the RSS as our new chief executive. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in evidence-based policymaking as well as substantial experience of leadership in non-profit organisations.

    “I know Sarah will take the RSS from strength to strength in its role advocating for our members, the discipline and the importance of data and evidence for the public good.”

    Dr Sarah Cumbers commented: “The potential value of statistics and data, and the dangers of misuse, have never been more evident than they are in our world today. The RSS has a crucial role to play in ensuring that statistics are well used and understood – and I am looking forward to joining the Society at such an exciting time for our members.”

  • 31 Mar 2023 1:08 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Dear Marie-Louise,

    This week, enacting legislation for the new $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund secured passage through the Australian Parliament. The fund will be a powerful new investment in our country’s future. It will spur and scale Australia’s economic development and diversification - and be powered by home-grown science. Science & Technology Australia warmly welcomed this historic moment.  

    This new fund will help to deepen Australia’s scientific and technological innovation – which is key to strengthening our national prosperity, creating jobs and securing new income streams. And it significantly boosts Australia’s pool of investment capital for next-generation materials development, value-adding and advanced manufacturing – the foundations of a strong, modern economy. In turn, this helps to turbo-charge sovereign capability and economic complexity.

    A constellation of stars from the worlds of science, technology and policy converged on Canberra for Science Meets Parliament 2023: On the Hill. More than 400 scientists packed into Parliament House for a day of inspiration and engagement with decision-makers. 

    It was a record-breaking success. More than 40 per cent of the Parliament took part - with 87 meetings across eight hours and a strong turnout of Parliamentarians at the gala dinner. And this was achieved amid one of the busiest legislative fortnights in living memory. Such strong support is a testament to the respect for science among Parliamentarians - and the esteem for Science Meets Parliament. And it is made possible by the stellar support of the foundation partners - the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and the Office of the Chief Scientist.

    What a powerful program. A diverse array of Australian science leadership greats - led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC - shared insights, working up to a superb National Press Club address by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic.  

    Powerful speeches about the power of science also centred the gala dinner - with inspiring words from Minister Husic, Parliamentary Friends of Science co-chairs Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, and Shadow Science Minister Paul Fletcher. Paul Girrawah House warmly welcomed us to Country, and gala dinner partner ANSTO CEO Shaun Jenkinson reminded us of the power of sovereign science expertise, following a welcome reception hosted by AbbVie. Photo highlights are here. A huge thanks to everyone who made it such a success.

    Got a clean tech concept to boost sustainability in agriculture and food production and processing? Then enter our SparkLabs Cultiv8-STA competition to win up to $100,000 of investment and a place in a prestigious 6-month accelerator program. Entrants must be a Science & Technology Australia member. The winner will get mentoring, networking and business development support to help bring the next generation of clean agri-food technologies to market. SparkLabs Cultiv8 will run an information webinar on Wednesday 5 April at 2pm AEDT. Register here.

    Don’t miss the chance to share your ideas on what should be in Australia’s next set of official national science and research priorities. This is a chance for Science & Technology Australia’s membership to offer insights on the complex challenges that Australia can tackle by taking a more coordinated and concerted science and technology focus, and the opportunities Australia should seize. The consultation deadline has been extended to next Thursday - 6 April. You can make a submission here.

    Finally, Science & Technology Australia is drafting a submission to the Universities Accord review. To feed any short, sharp, tight content into this process, please email STA’s Policy Director Sarah Tynan by COB Monday to feed ideas into our submission, which is due before Easter. More detail on the Accord is here.  

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

  • 30 Mar 2023 11:41 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Royal Society Publishing has recently published special issue of Philosophical Transactions A entitled "Bayesian inference: challenges, perspectives, and prospects", compiled and edited by Christian P Robert, Judith Rousseau and Michael I Jordan. The articles can be accessed directly here 

    You can purchase the print issue at the reduced price of £40 per issue by contacting sales@royalsociety.org.

    Royal Society Publishing is also looking for new theme issues. If you are interested in submitting, please visit their website or contact the Editorial Office.  

  • 6 Mar 2023 2:21 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The nation’s peak body representing 115,000 Australian scientists and technologists strongly supports an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and will advocate for a resounding yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

    With support from across our grassroots membership network including STA’s three Indigenous member organisations, Science & Technology Australia has declared its formal backing for the historic movement for a constitutionally-recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

    STA has more than 135 member organisations representing more than 115,000 professionals working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics across Australia.

    “History has its eyes on us,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.

    “The call for Indigenous constitutional recognition and a Voice to Parliament has been made by generation after generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and campaigners across the past century, including in the generous invitation to the Australian people in the Uluru Statement From The Heart.”

    “Now all Australians will have a chance to answer that historic call when we get to vote in the referendum later this year.”

    “Science & Technology Australia will advocate for a resounding yes vote in a profound moment of national unity –  and will support our members to engage the nation’s science community in this historic opportunity.”

    The Voice referendum won’t affect Indigenous sovereignty – a fact confirmed by constitutional law experts – and Treaty negotiations will continue across the country. Indigenous leaders have campaigned for decades and decades for a constitutionally-enshrined Voice.

    In its Reconciliation Action Plan, Science & Technology Australia honours the long tradition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges in science, technology and engineering – the oldest continuing cultures anywhere on the planet.

    Science & Technology Australia President Professor Mark Hutchinson said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are Australia’s first scientists, technologists and engineers.

    “Our vision is for a reconciled and united Australia. A nation which faces the truth of our past with honesty and courage. A nation which works to rectify injustice and bring healing to those who live with pain and trauma, and a nation that stands together against racism and discrimination,” he said.

    “We want all Australians to see the inspiring first cultures of this land as a great source of shared national pride – and a Voice will bring us another step closer to that goal.”

    About Science & Technology Australia
    Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our  flagship programs include Science Meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors


    Media contact: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828


  • 27 Feb 2023 2:12 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    This is a friendly reminder that nominations for the inaugural Horizon Lectures, to be given at  the Australian Statistical Conference (ASC2023) in Wollongong, 10th- 15th December 2023, will close tomorrow.

    The Horizon Lectures aim to recognise emerging leaders in Australia’s statistics community and their contributions to advancing statistical practice across academia, government, and/or industry. Lectures will be awarded to mid-career statisticians working in any discipline who have made an impact within their field(s) of expertise and have demonstrated leadership in building capacity in statistical expertise within Australia. 

    Up to three (3) Horizon Lectures will be awarded for presentation at ASC2023. All Lectures will be presented together as a plenary session to all conference delegates. Lectures can be on any area of statistics in line with the awardee’s expertise. Each awardee will receive up to $2,500 to cover conference and travel costs. 

    Nominations involve a written statement (up to 1,000 words) summarising how the nominee meets the award selection criteria. Nominees must be a member of the SSA and be employed as a statistician in Australia. Nominations must be supported by another member of the SSA.

    Full details on eligibility, award selection criteria and submission are available in the nomination form, available on the conference website. Nominations must be submitted by 5 pm AEST, 28th February 2023. Late nominations will not be accepted. 

    Questions about the Horizon lectures can be sent to ASC 2023 Scientific Programming Committee at asc.ozcots2023@gmail.com.

    Kind regards

    The ASC23 Scientific Program Committee

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:36 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Are you a statistician or data scientist? If so, we want to hear from you. We need your assistance in helping us shape the future of our organisation.

    The Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) is committed to being the leading voice in statistics in Australia. To help us prioritise our activities, we need to understand the needs and interests of our members and the wider data science community. To that end, we have created a survey that will inform our strategic planning process. Would you please take a few moments to fill it out by 5pm AEDT on Monday 13 March.

    The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and will help us to gain valuable insights into what our current and future members need and expect from the SSA. Your responses will be confidential, and the results will be used to guide the development of our strategy for the next 3-5 years.  

    To access the survey, simply click on the following link:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y9V66JF

    To make this a successful process, we need to hear from as many people as possible.

    Thank you in advance for your participation in this important initiative. We look forward to receiving your feedback and working with you to shape the future of our organisation.

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:34 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    1 Jun 2023 (AEST) – 31 Oct 2024 (AEDT), online-weekly one hour classes-this is 6 courses offered over the next year

    Due to the high demand for the Sampling Course in 2022 and strong interest in other courses from the International Program in Survey and Data Science (IPSDS) Masters program the Social Research Centre and Statistical Society of Australia have partnered again to expand IPSDS course offerings in Australia.

    If you are interested in the Item Nonresponse, Sampling, Big Data/Machine Learning for Surveys and/or Weighting courses please register your interest so that we can determine whether there is sufficient demand. 

    To show your interest click here.

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:33 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The ASC 2023 Scientific Programming Committee (SPC) is currently seeking expressions of interest from SSA members interested in undertaking the peer review of abstracts for the conference. All areas of statistical expertise are welcome. The Australian Statistical Conference, partnered with the Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS), will take place in Wollongong from 10th-15th December 2023.

    Each reviewer will be responsible for blind reviewing up to 20 abstracts of up to 300 words aligned with their area of expertise and each abstract will have 2 reviewers. Review criteria and information on how to review the abstracts will be provided once the call for reviewers closes. Reviewers must be available to review abstracts between April and May 2023.

    Selection of reviewers will be based on SSA membership and area of expertise, with the number of reviewers based on the number of abstract submissions. If you are able to review abstracts, please complete the online registration form. Abstract reviewer registrations will close on 31st March 2023

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:32 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The Society awards a gold medal, the Pitman Medal, at most once annually, in recognition of outstanding achievement in, and contribution to, the discipline of Statistics. Honorary Life Membership honours outstanding contribution to the profession and the Society, while a Society Service Award may be awarded to a Society member in recognition of sustained and significant service to the Society.

    An Awards Committee, chaired by the President of the Society, makes recommendations to the Society’s Central Council as to appropriate Award recipients. Pitman Medals and Honorary Life Memberships are usually announced at the Society’s Conference.

    Members of the Society are encouraged to propose suitable recipients of the Pitman Medal, Honorary Life Membership or a Society Service Award. Suggestions, with brief supporting information, should be emailed to the undersigned.

    Doug Shaw, Secretary

  • 27 Feb 2023 12:31 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Members are advised that the Executive position of Vice President will become vacant at the Society’s Central Council Annual General Meeting in 2023. The SSA Rules provide for a Nominating Committee, consisting of the current Executive and the Branch Presidents, to solicit nominations and submit a list of nominees to Central Council. Should an election be required, Central Council will then arrange a ballot of all financial members of the Society.

    Details about the role of SSA Vice President can be viewed here.

    Members of SSA are invited to submit nominations for the position of Vice President. Nominations must be in writing and signed by the nominator(s), and must be accompanied by a written and signed statement from the nominee accepting the nomination.  Nominations should be submitted to the SSA President or to a Branch President before 31st March, 2023. 

    Doug ShawSecretary

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