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  • 24 Aug 2022 9:06 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    SSA recently introduced a new membership category: the Early Career Membership. This discounted level of membership is available to members transitioning or having transitioned from full-time university studies to employment within the last three years. The fee is half the cost of full membership, with all the benefits of full membership. If you are not yet a member, sign up here!

    To upgrade a current student membership to that of Early Career Membership, a member just needs to tick the appropriate box when they renew their membership next time, or send me a quick email and I’ll do it for them.

    Members holding Transitional Membership were converted to Early Career members earlier this week. SSA members who recently upgraded from transitional membership to full membership may be entitled to one or two more years of Early Career membership. If this is you, please contact me.

    Marie-Louise Rankin
    Executive Officer

  • 18 Aug 2022 3:06 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    During his tenure as SSA President, Prof Adrian Barnett established the President’s Award for Leadership in Statistics. The intention of the award is to recognise an individual or team who has made an outstanding contribution to leadership in statistics, and each President may award one of these during their tenure.

    Over the last two years, COVID-19 has meant that statisticians all around Australia, and internationally, have stepped up to provide public commentary on statistical issues, and provide advice to governments. These contributions are worthy and appreciated.

    However, the group of individuals who I wish to recognise with my President’s award made contributions over the last two years that were less public. Over the last two years, when so many of us felt isolated, were confined to our homes, and were separated from our families and friends, this group of individuals worked extremely hard to maintain a sense of community among statisticians. So, in recognition of their leadership of the statistical community around Australia over the last two years, I wish to nominate all Branch Councils of the SSA from March 2020 to March 2022 for my President’s Award for Leadership in Statistics.

    When the pandemic was declared in March 2020 and in-person gatherings banned, the SSA Branch Councils worked hard to continue serving their members. By pivoting to online events, a sense of community within our profession was not only maintained, but strengthened: members now had access not only to their local Branch’s events, but to SSA events happening all across Australia. I myself benefited greatly from this: tuning into inspiring and interesting presentations from across Australia helped me to get through the long, locked-down Melbourne winters. With restrictions now a thing of the past, I am pleased to see that Branches are continuing to offer virtual attendance options for some events, making SSA events accessible to a greater proportion of our members than ever before.

    So: in recognition of their leadership of the statistical community across Australia during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am awarding the SSA Branch Councils from March 2020 to March 2022 my President’s Award for Leadership in Statistics, with the names of all awardees listed below. Each of these people can claim receipt of the “SSA President’s Award for Leadership in Statistics, awarded to the 2020-2022 Branch Councils”.

    Jessica Kasza, August 2022

    New South Wales


    Thomas Fung

    Emi Tanaka

    Clara Grazian

    Damjan Vukcevic

    Runze Alex Xu

    Ben Harrap

    Boris Beranger

    Elizabeth Korevaar

    Matt Wand

    Cameron Patrick

    Benoit Liquet-Weiland

    Rheanna Mainzer

    Houying Zhu

    Lidija Turkovic

    Firouzeh Noghrehchi

    Daniel Fryer

    Gordana Popovic

    Lauren Kennedy

    Luca Maestrini

    Hien Nguyen

    Joanna Wang

    Patrick Robotham

    Nicole de la Mata

    Kevin Wang

    Yidi Yan

    Kohleth Chia

    Jake Olivier

    South Australia

    Munir Hiabu

    Murthy Mittinty 

    Ardalan Mirzaei

    Barbara Toson

    Mark Donoghoe

    Aarti Gulyani

    Matias Quiroz

    Paul Sutcliffe

    Western Australia

    Wendy Li

    Alun Pope

    Shahid Ullah

    Brenton Clarke

    Helena Oakey

    Shih Ching Fu                       

    Lan Kelly

    Torben Kimhofer              

    Kylie Lange 

    Deneegan Subramanian


    Fadzai Chikwava                 

    Francis Hui

    John Henstridge

    Warren Muller

    Rick Tankard

    Nick Husek

    Alethea Rea

    Pauline O'Shaughnessy

    Rowena Burch

    Tom Lawrence

    Berwin Turlach

    Nelson Chua


    Xuan Liang

    Dimitrios Vagenas

    Anton Westveld

    Adrian Barnett

    Linh Nghiem

    Lee Jones

    Michael Martin

    Xing Lee

    Gwenda Thompson

    Megan Steele

    Belinda Baker

    Rachel King

    Peter Caley

    Natalie Scott

    Brenda Vo

    Farzana Jahan


    Miranda Mortlock


    Peter Baker


  • 18 Aug 2022 12:02 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Elizabeth Armstrong and Kris Rogers, ANZHFR and UNSW School of Public Health

    E Armstrong: ANZ Hip Fracture Registry: data visualisations for different audiences 
    K Rogers: Strategies for dealing with missing data in clinical trials

    The July 2022 meeting featured two presentations delivered via Zoom by Elizabeth Armstrong (former Manager of the Australia and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry) and Dr Kris Rogers (Senior Biostatistician at The George Institute for Global Health).

    Elizabeth presented visualizations from the ANZHFR 2021 Annual Report and Kris’ presentation discussed advantages and disadvantages of various methods to obtain parameter estimates in the presence of missing data and methodologies for causal inference from non-trial data.  

    ANZHFR is a registry that collects data on the care of older people in Australia and New Zealand, admitted to hospital with a fracture of the proximal femur. 

    In 2021, 86 hospitals who contributed to the patient level report (64 in Australia and 22 in New Zealand) and the 117 hospitals who contributed to the facility level results.

    Elizabeth presented a number of visualizationsfor key KPIs in the surgical care of patients who received hip replacement. The outlier report for the 16 quality indicators in the clinical care standard is an effective graphic display for the measured in standard deviations from the average performance of all hospitals. Performance outliers are flagged when the care metric lies 2 to 3 standard deviations from the overall hospital average performance.

    For the determination of KPI attainment across various aspects of care, hospitals must have contributed at least 10 patient records during the relevant calendar year to be included in the patient level report. 

    Following on Elizabeth’s presentation, Kris discussed a range of methodologies for dealing with missing data, drawing comparisons between simpler approaches (Last Observation Carried Forward, mean imputation, multiple imputation) and other more advanced methods that use full information maximum likelihood, weighted GEEs (General Estimating Equations), Bayesian methods and causal inference methods. 

    Missing data in randomised studies is often an underappreciated issue. The goal of a randomised experiment is to draw a causal inference on the effect of a treatment on an outcome. In the context of randomised controlled trials (RCT), random assignment of treatment ensures that the average effect difference between the two groups can only be attributable to treatment. However, in the presence of missing data, the assumption of ignorability (e.g., the method of the data collection does not depend on the missing data), is very rarely met. Technically, the presence of missingness negates the benefits of randomisation, leaving the researcher with an observational dataset. 

    An interesting final point Kris raised, and which is often overlooked, is that data in observational studies needs to contain common support for the exposure in order to correctly apply causal inference methods for observational data. This can be done using propensity score models and visualising the areas of overlap of the propensity score in the exposure groups.

    By Gabriella Lincoln

  • 18 Aug 2022 11:11 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    WA Branch of the SSA

    The August 2022 meeting of the WA Branch of the SSA was celebrated jointly with members of the International Biometric Society (IBS) led by Mario D’Antuono a former president of the Australasian Region of the IBS. This time the location of the talk was Curtin University. The speaker for the evening was Dr Kefei Chen from Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) West, Curtin University. Kefei spoke on “Semiparametric and nonparametric models for crop longitudinal study”. The outline of the talk began with fitting of sigmoidal curves using full parametric models a la Logistic, Log-Logistic, Gompertz & Weibull functions; semiparametric models using Generalized Additive Model (GAM) & Shape Constrained Additive Model (SCAM); Nonparametric models using Bayesian Additive Gaussian Process Model (AGPM). This was followed by symmetric or skewed Bell-shaped/ biphasic curves fitted via full parametric models using Gaussian and Log-Gaussian functions; semiparametric models using GAM & SCAM, and nonparametric models using AGPM. The final discussion covered spatio-temporal modelling for yield prediction in the WA Grainbelt using semiparametric GAM models.

    Mario D’Antuono, Alun Pope (president of WA Branch) and Kefei ChenAfter relating formulae for parametric models he discussed motivation for full parametric regression and noted the use of R packages drc (Ritz et al., 2015) & medrc (Gerhard & Ritz, 2018). Semi-parametric regression builds on parametric regression by allowing for more flexible relationship between the predictor variables and the response variables. After a brief introduction, GAM models were fitted using the package mgcv (Wood, 2017), and SCAM models were fitted with R package scam (Pya, 2021). Finally, Bayesian Additive Gaussian Process Modelling (AGPM) was here related and fitted using R package lgpr (Timonen et al., 2021).

    This was followed by exploratory data analysis with various plots and summary tables of fitted models illustrating comparisons. The preliminary results suggested that both semiparametric and nonparametric methods can be of great value in many applications in fields including biological and agricultural sciences and can have the advantage of flexibility with less assumptions.  This is particularly so for longitudinal studies with temporal uncertainty, and unknown complex relationships

    A Spatial-temporal model using GAM was then discussed where yield prediction is a key to many discussions for crop production. Wheat yield prediction in Western Australia is usually done by one of two methods, French and Schultz (F&S) (French & Schultz, 1984) and crop simulation modelling (APSIM) (McCown et al., 1996). APSIM is difficult to calibrate because of the number of parameters. The F&S approach is suggested to be too simple as it does not account for waterlogging.

    Kefei and colleagues aimed to produce a simple and parsimonious but reasonably accurate model combining advantages of the F&S approach and the more complex crop simulation model, that can be used by farmers to predict wheat yield on a paddock level. Again, more plots were shown illustrating the advantages of the methodology.

    The talk drew some interesting discussion, which was appreciated by all, and talks continued afterwards at a local tavern. All in all, it was a successful meeting.

    Brenton R Clarke

    Some references:

    *Pya, N. (2021). scam: Shape Constrained Additive Models. R package version 1.2-12. URL:

    *Wood, S. N. (2017). Generalized additive models: an introduction with R. CRC press.

    *Timonen, J., H. Mannerstrom, A. Vehtari, et al. (2021). “lgpr: an interpretable non-parametric method for inferring covariate effects from longitudinal data”. In: Bioinformatics 37.13, pp. 1860–1867.

    *Ritz, C., F. Baty, J. C. Streibig, et al. (2015). “Dose-response analysis using R”. In: PloS one 10.12, p. e0146021.

    *Gerhard, D. and C. Ritz (2018). medrc: Mixed effect dose-response curves. R package version 1.1-0.

    *French, R. J. and J. E. Schultz (1984). “Water use efficiency of wheat in a Mediterranean-type environment. I. The relation between yield, water use and climate”. In: Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 35.6, pp. 743–764.

    *McCown, R. L., G. L. Hammer, J. N. G. Hargreaves, et al. (1996). “APSIM: a novel software system for model development, model testing and simulation in agricultural systems research”. In: Agricultural systems 50.3,pp. 255–271.

  • 16 Aug 2022 1:18 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)


    Australia’s climate change legislation should be passed with an added commitment to ‘name and fame’ sectors leading the charge to reduce emissions, the peak body for Australia’s 90,000 scientists and technologists has urged.

    In its submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Climate Change Bill, Science & Technology Australia strongly supports the passage of the legislation. 

    The peak body proposes the legislation be accompanied by a funding boost for climate science research to guide Australia’s emissions transition, climate adaptation and resilience building measures.

    It also wants the annual climate change statement to Parliament to include updates on emissions reduction progress by each industry sector – and an update on key climate science developments since the last statement.

    “Australia’s science and technology sector strongly urges Parliament to pass this climate legislation,” said Science & Technology CEO Misha Schubert.

    “We welcome the commitment that the 43 per cent target by 2030 is a ‘floor’, not a ‘ceiling’, for emissions reductions – and we strongly support ambitions to bolster this target in coming years.”

    “Climate change is an urgent threat. Australia must act concertedly in these crucial next few years to make our transition as smooth and successful as possible,” she said.

    “A deeper investment in Australia’s outstanding climate scientists will ensure we continue to have the expertise we need to safeguard our economy, safety and prosperity.”

    Under the proposed legislation, the Minister will deliver an annual climate change statement to Parliament on progress towards the target. 

    This statement should include an update sector-by-sector to identify those making significant progress – and speed the success of transition, Ms Schubert said.

    “‘Naming and faming’ sectors making swift strides towards the target will highlight examples of industry leaders and spur momentum in Australia’s transition.”

    “It will also send an important message that we are all working together to achieve a common goal, and making genuine progress.”

    “The annual climate statement to Parliament should include an update on significant developments in climate science over the previous year, so Parliamentarians and the public can be assured policy decisions are informed by the latest science.”

  • 4 Aug 2022 10:21 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Australians overwhelmingly trust in science and scientists - and we strongly fear negative consequences for our society if people don’t value science enough, new research finds.

    But a rising tide of public wariness about social media misinformation risks fuelling scepticism in science, the new data released to launch National Science Week reveals.

    A major new study published today finds Australians see science as indispensable, say it was our salvation in the pandemic and is the key to tackling existential threats such as climate change.

    Industry & Science Minister Ed Husic MP will today officially launch National Science Week at an event delivered by Science & Technology Australia for the Australian Government. The launch theme is Celebrating First Nations Sciences.

    The 3M State of Science Index measures public attitudes to science in 17 countries. More than 1000 Australians were surveyed for the global poll in early 2022. 

    Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert said: “Australians strongly value and trust science, and we see clearly how important science is to our safety and prosperity.”

    "Science has saved us time and again during the COVID-19 pandemic – and Australians appreciate science’s key role to help us tackle major threats including climate change, which is causing more frequent terrifying extreme weather like floods, cyclones, megafires, droughts, and heatwaves.”

    The survey reveals Australians have very strong levels of trust in science – higher than in many other nations – with nine in ten of us saying we trust science and scientists. 

    Four in five Australians say they want to hear more from scientists about their work.

    The survey highlighted Australians’ fears about what might happen if people don’t value science, with three in five believing it would lead to more public health crises and more than half believing it would lead to greater division in society.

    The survey also shines a light on public fears around science misinformation and a growing scepticism about scientific information shared in the media and on social media platforms. 

    Three in four Australians believe there is now widespread misinformation (on all topics - not specifically on science) in mainstream news, and nine in ten Australians think there is widespread misinformation on all topics on social media.

    Against that backdrop, the public level of scepticism around science has risen slightly from 25 per cent in 2021 to 32 per cent in 2022.

    “We live in an era of general wariness and distrust of information – especially on social media – which is feeding into a rising tide of concern about social media misinformation that risks fuelling public scepticism in science unless we all act to safeguard it,” Ms Schubert said.

    “It’s more important than ever that we all help Australians to find credible, accurate and verified sources of scientific facts from reputable science experts, which highlights the hugely important role of trusted science organisations to share science with the public.”

    Eleni Sideridis, Managing Director of 3M Australia and New Zealand, said science is viewed as essential to shaping, strengthening and improving Australia.

    “The last few years have shown Australians the true value of science. We have seen a global pandemic unfold, the impacts of climate change and increasing weather events firsthand. The people of Australia know that science holds the solutions to many of these issues,” she said.

    “The results of the 3M State of Science Index demonstrates how we as a nation recognise misinformation. It shows the importance of science communities, such as those within Science and Technology Australia and 3M being present in the public eye to ensure transparency and clearly communicated solutions to Australia’s biggest problems. Only then will we have a prosperous future for our country.”

    National Science Week runs from 13 to 21 August 2022. To find an event in your local area:

  • 29 Jul 2022 12:05 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    Next Thursday, Science & Technology Australia hosts the official launch of National Science Week 2022. The event will bring together federal MPs and Senators with science sector stakeholders in the first sitting fortnight of the new Parliament. So timely!

    STA has also begun the nationwide search for Australia’s next 60 Superstars of STEM. This inspiring program advances gender equity in STEM by equipping diverse STEM experts with skills and confidence to step into the media spotlight as media stars. Know someone who would be perfect for this life-changing opportunity? Please encourage them to apply by 14 August. To assist you in promoting this superb opportunity to your networks, we have a suite of social media materials for you to use. 

    Many thanks to STA members who gave invaluable feedback on the proposed governance reforms. There has been strong support for them, and we hope to update you again soon. 

    Congratulations to the many impressive science and research leaders appointed to STA’s STEM Sector Policy Committee and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee this week. We look forward to working with you!

    We also congratulate every scientist named as a finalist for this year’s prestigious Eureka awards. A special shout out to STA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair Professor Sumeet Walia, 2019-21 Superstar of STEM Dr Kirsten Ellis, and Queers in Science, our community partner for Science meets Parliament 2022.

    This week I chaired a National Press Club address by CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall on the big challenges and opportunities for Australia, and how science can help us navigate them. Missed the speech? You can catch it here.  

    Legislation to write a 43 per cent emissions reduction target into law was introduced to the Parliament this week. It is now in active discussion across the Parliament. STA continues to monitor this closely, along with plans for a new Environment Protection Agency reaffirmed when the 2021 State of the Environment report was released last week.

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 

  • 19 Jul 2022 9:47 AM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    The June 2022 meeting of the SA Branch was given virtually by Clare Griffiths, head of the UK COVID-19 dashboard at the UK Health Security Agency. Clare described the evolution of the dashboard during the course of the pandemic. The dashboard needed to be more than just analysis and statistics, it had to be accessible to the public, be able to convey complex information simply to a wide audience and be able to handle high volumes of traffic. The project was based on an infectious diseases surveillance system which is still used to manage data before entering the pipeline for the dashboard. 

    There have been three versions of the dashboard as the need for public information has changed over time. Initially, in the (northern hemisphere) summer of 2020, the dashboard took over from daily press briefings and provided daily counts of cases and deaths. Later versions included regional data and as the vaccination program rolled out, included metrics on vaccination rates. 

    The code is open source and the data is held in public repositories. This openness helps transparency and improves trust in the project. Challenges include monitoring data quality, data linkage to death data, managing reinfections and deduplications. 

    There have been five user surveys to evaluate public response to the dashboard. Metrics are regularly reviewed to keep them relevant. There was early interest in test and trace metrics, now there is almost none. Future metrics will include monitoring of variants and infection surveys. This was a fascinating talk on the development of a highly visible dashboard that was developed rapidly to provide public information. The design principles of accessibility, openness and conveying complex information simply is an exemplar for public health projects.

    By Lan Kelly

  • 18 Jul 2022 1:35 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    This week, the world got to see the stunning first images from the James Webb Telescope. It was a glimpse back in time across billions of years - and a vivid demonstration of the power of science. Here’s a sense of this historic moment from Superstar of STEM Dr Sabine Bellstedt.

    Next week, STA begins some star-searching of our own. We will launch the next nationwide quest to find the next group of scicomms superstars to join our game-changing Superstars of STEM program. This inspiring program advances gender equity in science, technology, engineering and maths by creating high-profile diverse role models keen to step into the public spotlight as high-profile national media stars. Open to women and non-binary people in STEM, the program smashes society’s gender assumptions about STEM careers and lifts the public visibility of women in STEM by creating more equal gender representation of STEM experts in the media.

    We will launch our nationwide search next Wednesday - 20 July. We would love your help to spread the word about this exciting professional development opportunity. We will send you draft social media posts and tiles early next week so you can promote this superb opportunity to your networks. 

    Another event on the horizon is the official launch of National Science Week 2022. It will be held in Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 4 August at 8am. Invitations to this exciting event have gone out - we look forward to seeing you there.

    Have you had your say on STA’s governance and constitutional reform project? Feedback closes 21 July - so please take this opportunity to provide input as we finalise reforms to bring to a Special General Meeting. 

    Finally, we are recruiting for a new Communications Officer - a brand new position at STA. If you have someone in your networks with a flair for communications and social media who is keen to join a supportive team working on exciting content, please encourage them to apply.

    Until next time, 

    Misha Schubert 
    CEO, Science & Technology Australia 



    Further information: STA Director of Policy and Engagement Sarah Tynan.


    • Applications for The Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program are now open. The program develops entrepreneurial skills in clinicians who have the ambition to change healthcare for the better.
    • Each year, the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia celebrates two exceptional mid-career stem cell researchers with the Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research. Apply by 5 August.
    • The Australian Geoscience Council is offering scholarships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students who have completed the first year of a geoscience degree. Apply by 30 September.  
    • If there is a year 11 student in your life, let them know applications for the 2023 National Youth Science Forum year 12 program are now open. NYSF introduces students to all types of STEM career pathways. Apply by 14 August.
    • The Theo Murphy Initiative (Australia) funds interdisciplinary activities that provide career development opportunities for early- and mid-career researchers. Submit a proposal today for activities to be delivered between September 2022 and August 2023. 
  • 7 Jul 2022 12:35 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

    SSA Canberra is inviting all its members to apply for financial support in the form of a “rego grant” to attend statistical conferences, workshops, visits to collaborators, and other related events in 2022, whether they be in-person or held virtually, and whether they be national or international events.

    Successful applicants of the rego grant will be eligible for up to $400 AUD of total funding, with the funding coming in the form of reimbursements

    To be eligible for the grant, you must be a member of SSA Canberra Branch (regardless of membership type) 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 2 pages;

    2. A short document (<=200 words) describing the statistical event you want the rego grant to cover, and why attending it will be beneficial for you and your statistical/data science career;

    3. A description of the costs and amounts you would like to be reimbursed;   

    4. A statement declaring any other financial support you are receiving.

    Please send your application to 

    The Canberra branch has set aside a “pot of gold” for this, and applications will be assessed on a first-come-first-serve basis until the pot runs out or until the end of 2022, whichever comes first

    Outcome and show me the money!

    Successful applicants will be notified by email as the applications are assessed. If you are successful, you will need to send us relevant registration receipts/invoices, and SSA Canberra will reimburse you up to the $400 amount.

    Anything else I should know?

    • Successful applicants should acknowledge the financial support of SSA Canberra during any presentation/poster they make at the event, if applicable. They will also be required to contribute a short piece to the Stats Matters newsletter discussing their experience of the event.

    • 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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