Latest News from the Chairs of ISCB ASC 2018

ISCB ASC 2018: Melbourne, Australia, 27-30th August: Welcome!

From Katherine Lee (LOC Chair) and John Carlin and Tim Brown (SPC Chairs)

This year, the biennial Australian Statistical Conference (ASC) will be held in conjunction with the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics’ (ISCB) annual conference, in Melbourne, 27-30 August 2018.

As in previous years, the conference will provide a forum for exchange of theory, methods and applications of statistics.  The conjunction with ISCB’s conference will permit many special opportunities to catch up with the latest in biostatistics, but there will also be important themes on Bayesian statistics, environmental statistics, statistical education, official statistics and business analytics.

The conference will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, a purpose-built centre in the heart of Melbourne. The conference will comprise a full 4-day program, including an afternoon of conference excursions (see details below).


The Conference Program

The program has 5 exciting keynote speakers:

  • Chris Holmes, University of Oxford – Bayesian learning at scale with approximate models
  • Louise Ryan, University of Technology, Sydney – Simple statistical strategies for the analysis of very large datasets
  • Natalie Shlomo, University of Manchester – Statistical Disclosure Control: Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Susan Murphy, Harvard University – Stratified Micro-Randomized Trials with Applications in Mobile Health
  • Thomas Lumley, University of Auckland – Validation sampling for large health databases

There will also be 11 invited sessions including sessions on machine learning, time-to-event analysis, analysis for highly complex data structures, Bayesian methods, statistical genomics and statistical education, to list just a few.

There will be a total of 288 contributed talks spanning 6 parallel sessions which will cover a huge range of topics ranging from clinical trial methodology to causal inference and many areas of modern analytics: all the way from environmetrics and survey methods to precision medicine and genomics.


Poster presentations

There will be a poster pitch session, led by a chairperson, in parallel with the oral sessions where presenters will have 3 minutes to present their research. This will be in addition to poster sessions during coffee and lunch breaks where delegates will have a chance to talk to the presenters. There will also be a “Best of the Best” poster session where we will ask the top 3 posters pitches from students and non-students, as selected by the chairpersons and delegates, to present their poster-pitch on the main stage in the plenary session on Wednesday morning. The audience will then vote for the winner in each category, with the prize being a book voucher. All posters will be displayed for the duration of the conference.


Pre-conference courses

The Scientific Program includes 6 stimulating pre-conference courses to be held on Sunday 26 August 2018 prior to the main conference. These are:

  • Analysis of multi-state survival data – Terry Therneau, of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic (full day)
  • Using simulation studies to evaluate statistical methods – Tim Morris, Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, University College London and Michael Crowther, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester (full day)
  • Developing R packages – Damjan Vukcevic, University of Melbourne & Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (morning)
  • Multi-arm multi-stage clinical trials – Thomas Jaki and Thomas Burnett, Medical and Pharmaceutical Statistics Research Unit, Lancaster University (morning)
  • Fast algorithms and modern visualisations for feature selection – Samuel Mueller and Garth Tarr, University of Sydney (afternoon)
  • Practical Application of Bayesian Approaches to Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials – Christina Yap and Lucinda Billingham, Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, University of Birmingham (afternoon)


Social Program

During the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to attend a number of networking events events:

  • Early Career Researcher’s Networking Event – This will take place in a private bar at one of Southbank’s leading function venues on Sunday 26 August 2018. Some food and drinks will be provided by the Victorian Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia.
  • Welcome Reception – This will take place in the Main Foyer at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre following the talks on Monday 27 August 2018.
  • Conference Dinner – This will be held at one of Melbourne’s beautiful heritage listed venues located on the riverfront in the heart of Melbourne on Wednesday 29 August 2018.

The Local Organising Committee have also arranged a number of conference excursions to enable delegates to explore the delights of Melbourne and its surrounds:

  • Freddy’s Bike Tour – Take a relaxing bike ride around the best sights Melbourne has to offer. From the Yarra River, through multiple gardens, Sporting Landmarks and Hidden Hipster locations.
  • Hidden Secrets Cafe Culture Group Walking Tour – A 3 hour Café Culture walk that takes you on a tour of Melbourne’s hidden away food and cafe scene.
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Walking Tour – Explore the largest sporting stadium in Australia and home to the Melbourne Cricket Club.
  • Healesville Sanctuary – Visit one of Australia’s most loved tourist attractions, offering visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, pythons and many more in a native bush land setting.
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour – Take a tour around one of the world’s most premier wine growing regions. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the Yarra Valley offers a unique native Australian experience, just a stone’s throw away from Melbourne City.

For more information on the conference program, the pre-conference course, the social events and more see, or email us at [email protected].

The joint ISCB ASC 2018 conference promises to be an exciting event, so register now!



ISCB ASC 2018: Biometrical Journal Special Issue

From John Carlin (SPC Co-Chair)

Following a recently established ISCB tradition, the Biometrical Journal will publish a special issue associated with the conference. The theme for the Special Issue will be:


This special issue aims to publish, with a rapid review time, high quality papers on cutting edge biostatistical methods presented (orally or as posters) at the conference.  Although papers on any topic covered by the conference may be submitted to the special issue, papers in the following areas are particularly encouraged:

  • Causal inference in epidemiology
  • High-dimensional data and modern analytics
  • Recent advances in design and analysis of clinical trials
  • Statistical methods for precision medicine
  • Statistical methods for routinely collected data & health services research

Papers that have not been presented at ISCB ASC 2018 may also be submitted if the authors believe that they fit into one of the themes above.

The review process will follow the general reviewing principles of Biometrical Journal and be handled by the Special Issue guest editors: Prof. John Carlin (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & University of Melbourne, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee and coordinating SI-editor), A/Prof. Katherine Lee (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & University of Melbourne, Chair of the Local Organising Committee), Prof. Chris Metcalfe (University of Bristol, member of the Scientific Program Committee), Prof. Julie Simpson (University of Melbourne, Member of the Local Organising Committee), Dr Jonathan Bartlett (University of Bath), Dr Margarita Moreno-Betancur (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute & University of Melbourne, Member of the Local Organising Committee) and Dr Jessica Kasza (Monash University, Member of the Local Organising Committee).

All papers must be submitted via the online submission system of Biometrical Journal:

To submit to the special issue, login at MC (manuscript central), indicate at Step 1 that the submission is to a special issue and at Step 4 of the submission process enter “ISCB 2018” in the Special Issue Information field.

Submitted manuscripts should comply with the instructions for authors of Biometrical Journal:

The deadline for fully developed papers is: 20 December 2018. This deadline will be sharp.  We expect that all papers will have received a first review by March 2019 and that the Special Issue should be complete by August 2019.

Please note that the Biometrical Journal is devoted to Reproducible Research; details can be found on its website. Authors who intend to submit programs (R language, Stata and SAS preferred, but others possible too), original data sets and details of simulations are asked to indicate this at submission. They should also upload “ready to run” material so that it can be examined during the review process for this Special Issue.




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