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Professor Marijka Batterham's interview is on WIN News Illawarra

Sticking to a diet can be the hardest part of any weight loss program - but what if there was a mathematical equation to stop you from falling off the band wagon? Researchers at the University of Wollongong are developing an algorithm to identify whether a person is at risk of quitting early.


Senior Professor Brian Cullis and Associate Professor Alison Smith recently gave the prestigious 39th Fisher Memorial lecture

The lecture was part of a conference celebrating the life and work of statistician, evolutionary biologist and geneticist, Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher. The event seeks to maintain his scientific legacy by encouraging discussion of the scientific fields in which he was active.

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Using data mining to help people lose weight

Professor Marijka Batterham says data mining may be able to help us determine the characteristics of people who drop out of weight loss trials and programs, or who has been unsuccessful in losing weight, and therefore can help us design better diets. Professor Batterham began her dig into weight loss intervention programs in 2013. After analysing a collection of weight loss programs, she found the most successful participants lost weight rapidly initially, had a higher initial body mass index, and maintained the weight loss for the rest of the study. The least successful participants were those who slowly lost weight initially.


Inference for spatio-temporal changes of Arctic sea ice

The Statistical Society is pleased to invite you to the first episode of our new webinar series. Kicking off the series will be Noel Cressie, Distinguished Professor and Director, Centre for Environmental Informatics, University of Wollongong and 2014 Pitman Medal winner, speaking about

Inference for Spatio-Temporal Changes of Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic sea-ice extent has been of considerable interest to scientists recently, mainly due to its decreasing trend over the past 20 years. In this talk, we propose a hierarchical spatio-temporal generalised linear model (GLM) for binary Arctic-sea-ice data, where data dependencies are introduced through a latent dynamic spatio-temporal linear mixed-effects model.

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Dr Krivitsky receives 2019 Freeman award and shares the 2019 Richards award at the International Network for Social Network Analysis Sunbelt Conference 2019

The annual International Network for Social Network Analysis Sunbelt Conference took place 18–23 June 2019 in Montreal. For his contributions to methodology for social network modelling—including pioneering work in dynamic network models, networks with weighted relations, understanding effects of network size, and inference from nonstandard network data—and for his contributions to the community by developing user-friendly software tools and teaching workshops, Dr Krivitsky received the Freeman Award, given biennially or annually to an early- or mid-career researcher for eminent contributions to the study of social networks. He will give a plenary session at the 2020 conference in Paris.

For their development of the Statnet, a suite of user-friendly R packages for describing, visualising, and statistically modelling network data, Profs Mark Handcock (UCLA), Martina Morris, Steven Goodreau (University of Washington), David Hunter (Penn State University), Dr Pavel Krivitsky (University of Wollongong), and Mr Skye Bender-deMoll received the biennial Richards Award for social network analysis software.

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University of Wollongong represented at the International Network for Social Network Analysis Sunbelt Conference 2019

The annual International Network for Social Network Analysis Sunbelt Conference took place 18–23 June 2019 in Montreal. The University of Wollongong was represented by two speakers Dr Pavel Krivitsky and Dr James Ng.

Dr Krivitsky presented his current work—joint with Prof Neil Hens and Dr Pietro Coletti from University of Hasselt—on methods for determining when inference from a sample of networks can be generalised to their population. Dr James Ng presented his work, joint with Andrew Zammit-Mangion on spatial network models for analysing bike sharing systems.

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Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) Canberra meetings 2019 

28 March 2019

Matt Moores will be presenting at the Statistical Society of Australia (SSA) Canberra Meeting on 25 June 2019. The title of his presentation is “Statistics from Mars: Bayesian signal processing for Raman spectroscopy”.

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Research assessments of statistics discipline at UOW

27 March 2019

In the 2018 Australian Research Council’s assessment of Excellence in Research for Australia results released recently the Statistics discipline at UOW received the maximum rating of 5, corresponding to “well above world standard”. This achievement follows the QS World University Rankings 2019, in which Statistics and Operations Research at UOW was ranked in the top 200 worldwide.


Associate Lecturer/Lecturer positions available

22 March 2019

The School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS) is seeking to appoint two enthusiastic and capable statisticians to undertake academic duties consistent with ongoing Associate Lecturer (level A) or Lecturer (level B) appointments.


Stats Week 2019

20 March 2019

Approximately 70 guests attended a series of short courses presented by NIASRA. Click to read more about Microbiome Data Analysis by Olivier Thas, Assessing Measurement, Reliability and Validity by Professor Angie Wade, and Sample Survey Methods by Professor David Steel.


Systematic reviews and meta-analyses

20 March 2019

22 guests attended this three-day course presented by Dr Elizabeth Neale, Professor Marijka Batterham, and Professor Isabel Ferreira. The course consisted of a mixture of lectures, to cover essential theoretical background, and hands-on tutorials and computer exercises, to provide practical experience with analyses of real meta-analytic datasets. Click to read the course program.


2018 Southern Cross University Excellence in Engagement award for community impact

13 March 2019

Congratulations to Nicole Cocks and Brian Cullis on their receipt of the 2018 Southern Cross University Excellence in Engagement Award for Community Impact, for demonstrated community impact on Pacific Island fishers through technical capacity, building on improved postharvest processing of fishery catches.

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Workshop: spatio-temporal statistics with R

8 March 2019

A 1.5 Day Workshop in Sydney presented by Noel Cressie and Andrew Zammit Mangion (NIASRA, UOW), 29 April (whole day) and 30 April (half day), 2019, Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong.

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CBB summer scholars

1 March 2019

In the summer of 2018-2019 six SMAS students were awarded CBB scholarships to assist with the analysis of National Variety Trials. They were Monique Jordan, Nicholas Lambert, Sam McEwan, Jesse Rand, Matthew Sainsbury-Dale and Lu Wang.

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Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics 2018 summer scholar presentations

21 February 2019

CBB invites you to attend a series of presentations from summer scholarship students. The CBB scholars were employed on the Bioinformatics and Biometrics for the Australian Grain Industries (BBAG) project funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation. The project they were involved in is the National Variety Trials (NVT).

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New book: spatio-temporal statistics with R

1 February 2019

The Chapman & Hall/CRC book: "Spatio-Temporal Statistics with R” by Chris Wikle, Andrew Zammit-Mangion, and Noel Cressie is now available. It makes hierarchical spatio-temporal modelling accessible to scientists and engineers solving important practical problems and needing software that is reliable and methodologically rigorous.

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Design of experiments for generalized linear models

8 January 2019

Ken Russell, honorary professor in NIASRA, has written a book on the design of experiments when the data to be collected will be analysed by a generalized linear model (GLM). The book concentrates on situations where the predictor variables are ‘interval’ or ‘ratio’ in nature.

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NIASRA represented at the Australian Social Network Analysis Conference 2018

11 December 2018

The third annual Australian Social Network Analysis Conference (ASNAC) took place 27–28 November 2018 at the Australian National University in Canberra. NIASRA was represented by two speakers, both giving talks on analysis of multiple networks.

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J. B. Douglas awards day 2018

4 December 2018

The NSW branch of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI) held the 19th Annual J.B. Douglas Awards on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 at UTS.

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Major ARC grant success

3 December 2018

NIASRA’s Distinguished Prof Noel Cressie and Dr Andrew Zammit Mangion in the Centre for Environmental Informatics, in collaboration with Dr Ann Stavert from CSIRO, have been awarded a major grant by the Australian Research Council for the ARC Discovery Project, bayesian inversion and computation applied to atmospheric flux fields.

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Recruiting two professors in statistical science

13 November 2018

The University of Wollongong is seeking to appoint two Professors: Professor in Statistics and Director NIASRA – Continuing, full-time appointment, and Professor of Biostatistics – Five-year contract, full-time appointment.

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Dr Renate Meyer from the University of Auckland, NZ, gives inaugural Statistical Science Lecture on 31 October 2018

12 November 2018

On 31 October, Dr Meyer delivered the 2018 Statistical Science Lecture: “Surfing Gravitational Waves — Black Holes and Bayesian Nonparametrics,” with approximately 50 attendees, including UOW physicists and colleagues from UTS.

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Dist./Prof Noel Cressie receives 2018 Moyal Medal and gives Moyal Lecture on 1 November 2018

8 November 2018

The Medal and Lecture is in honour of Professor Joe Moyal and is awarded annually by Macquarie University to a scientist for their distinguished research contributions in at least one of Mathematics, Physics, or Statistics.

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Lauren Borg awarded at AusCanola Conference

7 November 2018

Lauren Borg attended the AusCanola conference in Perth to showcase her work in examining variety by environment interaction in canola blackleg expression experiments. She was named as the inaugural winner of the Phil Salisbury Early Career Researcher Award.

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Inaugural Statistical Science Lecture

31 October 2018

The School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics Inaugural Statistical Science Lecture (SSL) will take place on Wednesday, 31 October with guest lecturer Dr Renate Meyer (Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, NZ) presenting: "Surfing Gravitational Waves – Black Holes and Bayesian Nonparametrics"

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Noel Cressie chosen to be the Moyal Medallist and Lecturer for 2018

4 September 2018

Macquarie University, through its Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has a medal and a lecture series in honour of Professor Joe Moyal. The Moyal lecture is given annually at the university by a scientist who, before the lecture, receives a Moyal Medal for their distinguished contributions to research in at least one of Mathematics, Physics, or Statistics.

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Research in protecting data privacy

1 August 2018

Protecting data privacy while sharing the statistical information in the data to the public forms a significant research area in the recent decade and is a major research direction in NIASRA. After several research papers accepted by international journals and international conferences recently, we have four research papers accepted by the major conference “Privacy in Statistical Databases 2018" (PSD2018).

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Pavel Krivitsky and team awarded U.S. NIH grant

16 July 2018

Dr Pavel Krivitsky is part of an international team awarded 3 million dollars by the US National Institutes of Health on a project titled "EpiModel 2.0: Integrated Network Models for HIV/STI Prevention Science".

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Andrew Zammit Mangion and team awarded UOW Global Challenges grant

5 July 2018

Andrew Zammit Mangion is part of a team awarded $48,700 through the UOW Global Challenges (Projects) program for the project “Eco-Antarctica – An Antarctic-wide observing system for near-shore and terrestrial ecosystems”. The goal of the observing system is to track and record environmental and biological change across a suite of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic near-shore and terrestrial ecosystems.


A new REML (parameter expanded) EM algorithm for linear mixed models

4 June 2018

The paper A new REML (parameter expanded) EM algorithm for linear mixed models by Simon Diffey, Alison Smith. Alan Welsh and Brian Cullis published in Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics, was one of the journal’s top 20 most downloaded recent papers.

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Noel Cressie elected to Australian Academy of Science

22 May 2018

World-leading statistical scientist recognised for contribution to research across the sciences.


Independent review recommends further investment in world-leading ESRC longitudinal studies

8 May 2018

Professor Ray Chambers of NIASRA was a member of an independent international panel of experts, chaired by Professor Pamela Davis-Kean, University of Michigan, that has just published its review of the longitudinal studies funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK. As noted by Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of the ESRC, “We are delighted to see that the Longitudinal Studies Review 2017 has recommended that we continue funding this vital area, which stretches to more than £20 million annually. The data from longitudinal studies make an important contribution to social science, providing the basis for unparalleled high quality, interdisciplinary research. Studies of this kind are extremely valuable, especially in demonstrating the complexities of the interaction between inheritance and our wider environment, and how this affects us over our lifetimes.”


Professor Bronwyn Harch appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Queensland

20 April 2018

Professor Bronwyn Harch has been appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Queensland (UQ), effective 16 July 2018.

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Brian Cullis and Alison Smith invited to give Fisher Memorial Lecture

12 April 2018

Senior Professor Brian Cullis and Associate Professor Alison Smith have been invited to give the prestigious 39th Fisher Memorial lecture.

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PhD scholarship available

20 March 2018

A PhD scholarship is available in the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS) at the University of Wollongong in the areas of statistical/machine learning and spatio-temporal modelling.

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Four positions in Mathematics and Statistical Science

31 January 2018

The following positions are available: Associate Lecturer/Lecturer in Statistical Sciences, Lecturer in Statistics, Associate Lecturer/Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, Associate Lecturer/Lecturer in Mathematics.

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Statistics investment to underpin grains research advances

19 January 2018

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced a major new investment aimed at strengthening and enhancing national and regional grains research outcomes.

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Belz Lecture 2017: A bird's-eye view of statistics for remote sensing data

5 December 2017

The 2017 Belz Lecture was given by Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie on October 31 at University of Melbourne.

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Discovery Early Career Research award for Andrew Zammit Mangion

10 November 2017

Dr Andrew Zammit Mangion in the Centre for Environmental Informatics, NIASRA, has been awarded a prestigious ARC DECRA. The award has funding of $348,575 that will enable Andrew to undertake the project Deep space-time models for modelling complex environmental phenomena.

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Yu Ma wins AMSI internship with ABS

12 September 2017

PhD student Yu Ma has been awarded an AMSI Internship to undertake a collaborative project with the Australian Bureau of Statistics. (ABS).

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Noel Cressie awarded Georges Matheron Lecturership 2017

12 September 2017

Professor Noel Cressie was awarded the Georges Matheron Lectureship 2017. He gave a talk titled "A conditional approach to multivariate geostatistics" at the annual meeting of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences in Perth, Australia.

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Ray Chambers presented at Rao Conference 2017

25 July 2017

The School of Mathematics and Statistics at Yunnan University in Kunming, China, hosted a conference called "Contemporary Theory and Practice of Survey Sampling - A celebration of Research Contributions of J. N. K. Rao" celebrating Professor Rao's research contributions.

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Major research projects in Bioinformatics and Biometrics for the Australian Grains Industry funded

24 July 2017

Professor Brian Cullis and his team in the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics (CBB) have developed and been awarded two very large and significant R&D projects from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) totalling $7,300,000 to UOW. These research projects are National Competitive Grants and, in an environment when NCG funding is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, they demonstrate the excellence, relevance and impact of the research in CBB.

The first project for $5.7M Bioinformatics and Biometrics for the Australian Grains Industry will run over 5 years and will deal with planning, design, execution, analysis, interpretation and reporting related to improving and quantifying factors such as yield and quality of grains in an increasingly water limited environment. The second project for $1.6M over 3 years is to develop a new statistical software system called EssCargoT to be used nationally by GRDC.

GRDC is responsible for the quality and supply of grains throughout Australia and for export and Brian and his team’s work will contribute mightily to the productivity of this industry which is a large part of Australia’s economy, not to mention vital to the world’s food supply.


Helani Kottage attended the Modern Modeling Methods Conference 2017

21 June 2017

Helani Kottage, a PhD candidate of School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics attended the Modern Modeling Methods Conference 2017 at the University of Connecticut from 22-25 May 2017.

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Noel Cressie visited Capitol Hill as part of the 7th annual Climate Science Day

12 May 2017

On March 21, Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie visited Capitol Hill as part of the 7th annual Climate Science Day. Professor Cressie had the opportunity to discuss climate science issues with policy staff members of the Ohio Congressional delegation. “My pitch was to be a resource for them in matters of the environment and climate-change impacts, which I think is how we can make a real difference.”

Climate Science Day is sponsored by the American Statistical Association and other scientific societies. The event puts scientists together with lawmakers and their staff to discuss climate science research. See the story from the Amstat News at magazine.amstat.org (story starts on page 14).


A new approach to relative risk regression

19 April 2017

Associate Professor Robert Clark and Dr Margo Barr have recently published a paper in Statistical Methods in Medical Research which introduces a blended link approach to relative risk regression.

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Rigorous inference for social network models based on egocentric data, and its implications for epidemiology of HIV

10 April 2017

What to do when you want to understand disease spread over a social network… but you can’t actually observe the network?

NIASRA member Dr Krivitsky has recently published a paper in Annals of Applied Statistics describing an approach for fitting whole-network models to egocentrically-sampled data: data where the researchers can only observe limited information about a small sample of individuals and non-identifying information about their partners. This facilitates simulation of what the whole network might look like, and how it might mediate the spread of disease.

Reference: Pavel N. Krivitsky and Martina Morris (2017). Inference for social network models from egocentrically sampled data, with application to understanding persistent racial disparities in HIV prevalence in the USAnnals of Applied Statistics, Volume 11, no 11, p427 - 455.


Workshop: frontiers in social statistics methodology

17 February 2017

The National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA) of the University of Wollongong presented a one-day workshop on emerging topics in quantitative social and health research methodology, consisting of nine talks covering an array of recent developments and trends in social statistical analysis and design.

Slides from the talks are now available:


Dr Andrew Zammit-Mangion on Global Challenges Program funded travel to the University of Bristol, UK

26 January 2017

On 27 January 2017, Dr Zammit-Mangion will travel to the University of Bristol, UK for a month. The visit is part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Wollongong, the University of Bristol, and the University of Melbourne, for developing statistical methods for establishing the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide from satellite data. The travel is partially funded by the Global Challenges Program at the University of Wollongong.


Number cruncher puts R&D on the fast track

25 January 2017

University of Wollongong researcher and former honours student Daniel Tolhurst’s move into medical mathematics is helping to revolutionise the quality testing of Australian Prime Hard wheat and could one day expand the areas in which it can be grown.

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Dr Sandy Burden has been awarded an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship for 2017 - 2019

25 January 2017

Her research aims to develop statistical tools to improve prediction of environmental exceedances (locations where the environmental process of interest exceeds a given threshold). It is motivated by the compelling need to predict the effect of changing greenhouse gas concentrations on Earth's atmosphere for political, social and economic decision making. The project will investigate innovative methods for predicting exceedances based on output from multiple related scientific models. The use of computationally efficient modelling and visualisation techniques will be required, and assessment measures that are appropriate for predicted exceedances will be investigated.


PhD Scholarship position available in NIASRA

20 January 2017

A PhD Scholarship position is available in NIASRA at the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS) at the University of Wollongong, to work in the area of statistical modelling for spatial environmental processes. The UOW scholarship is for three (3) years full-time, with a top-up scholarship available for outstanding candidates.

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Dr Pavel Krivitsky of NIASRA invited to Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences Workshop on dynamic networks

12-16 December 2016

The Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge University hosts themed programmes on mathematics and mathematical sciences with a wide range of application. As a part of their series on social network analysis, Dr. Krivitsky was invited to present at a workshop on dynamic networks --- networks that evolve over time.

Dr. Krivitsky spoke about what to do when you don’t get to observe the network directly, but rather from the point of view of just each individual in the network. Is statistical inference for whole network models even possible? It turns out that for exponential-family random graph models, it is.


Australian Network Scientists Network in Australia

16-17 November 2016

A 2-day inaugural Australian Social Network Analysis Conference took place at Swinburne University in Hawthorn. How do you test if a friend of a friend is a friend in a social network? It turns out that different people having different propensities to have friends can look like that, even if there is no pressure to close a friendship triad. Dr Pavel Krivitsky gave a presentation comparing different approaches for accounting for individual heterogeneity when modelling friend-of-a-friend effects in social networks.


NIASRA at the Australian Statistical Conference 2016

19 December 2016

NISARA staff members made a significant contribution to the scientific programme at the Australian Statistical Conference organised by the Statistical Society of Australia in Canberra during 5 to 9 December 2016.

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Vice Chancellor’s award for Chris Skinner

16 December 2016

Chris Skinner, Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has been successful in obtaining a Vice Chancellor’s Visiting International Scholar Award. This will enable Chris to visit NIASRA from 16 January to 23 March 2017.

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J. B. Douglas awards day

28 November 2016

The NSW branch of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI) held the 17th Annual J.B. Douglas Awards on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at UTS.

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We are recruiting a lecturer in statistics (level B) position

25 November 2016

The successful person will carry out teaching, research, governance and community outreach/professional service duties consistent with a Lecturer Level B position. They should have research experience in field(s) of statistics, with priority being given to candidates with research strength in application to real world problems, in particular applications of genomics to plant breeding of relevance to the grains industry. People with research focus is in this area and/or biometrics, with demonstrated potential to collaborate with other research active staff in the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics (CBB) and collaborators of CBB and SMAS are encouraged to apply.

For further information, please contact Professor Brian Cullis +61 2 4221 5641 or bcullis@uow.edu.au.


Conference on privacy in statistical databases

1 November 2016

During 14-16 September 2016, PSD2016 (Privacy in Statistical Databases 2016) conference was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia. During the Conference NIASRA PhD student Yue Ma presented a paper “A New Algorithm for Protecting Aggregate Business Microdata via a Remote System” jointly authored with his supervisor Yan-Xia Lin, and James Chipperfield, John Newman and Victoria Leaver from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

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Contemporary theory and practice of survey sampling: a celebration of research contributions of J. N. K. Rao

1 November 2016

The Research Institute of Big Data at Yunnan University is pleased to announce that it is hosting a conference celebrating Professor Rao's research contributions. The conference will feature talks by some of the most prominent researchers from the world in survey sampling and official statistics, including NIASRA's Ray Chambers.

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Changing the way health surveys are conducted in Australia

17 October 2016

Margo Barr considered ongoing health surveys from a quality perspective in her recently completed PhD undertaken under the supervision of Professor David Steel in NIASRA. Margo found that the diminishing coverage of landline phone frames was affecting the accuracy of the estimates from land-line only phone surveys.

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Brian Cullis elected to the International Biometric Society Executive Board

1 September 2016

Professor Brian Cullis has been elected to the International Biometric Society Executive Board as a Director from the Asia/Australasia area, for a four-year term starting 1 January 2017.

Brian is Director of the Centre for Biometry and Bioinformatics in NIASRA. He is a world-leading statistician in this important field with over 150 referred papers in international journals.

The International Biometric Society is an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry and allied disciplines.

The Executive Board is currently empowered to fix international dues for Members of the Society, approve receipt of gifts and bequests, make appointments to Committees, task forces and liaisons with other societies, act upon proposals submitted by Committees, develop policies and procedures and enact Society bylaws.


IBS-AR student scholarships

29 August 2016

To help attract enthusiastic and talented students to career paths in biometrics, the International Biometric Society Australasian Region (IBS-AR) offers scholarships for suitably qualified students who intend to undertake a fourth or honours year of study, or a coursework Masters, in statistics, mathematical statistics, bio-statistics, bioinformatics or biometrics.

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Professor Noel Cressie will be delivering the Barnett Lecture at RSS 2016 this September

19 April 2016

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie will be delivering the Barnett Lecture at the RSS 2016 Conference in Manchester this September. The Barnett Award this year was awarded to Professor Cressie in recognition of his work advancing fundamental methodology and his applications of statistical methods to address a diverse array of issues in the environmental sciences.

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Dr Emi Tanaka will be giving a talk at University of NSW, 13 May 2016

19 April 2016

Dr Emi Tanaka from CBB, NIASRA will be giving a talk on "Analysis of crop breeding trials using linear mixed models" at the Statistics Seminar series at School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of NSW on Friday 13 May 2016.

The aim of crop breeding trials is to increase the genetic gain which is typically defined as the increase in genetic performance after one generation in artificial genetic improvement program. This can be reinterpreted as selecting superior varieties from a fixed pool of varieties. For this, we require to reliably predict the genetic performance of the varieties. Linear mixed model is widely used for genomic prediction as it can be constructed to fit the structure of the data. In particular, the observed trait in crop breeding trials generally exhibit spatial variation and there is a necessity for spatial modelling, which some still neglect in the analysis of crop breeding trials. The most efficient method of analysis is using a one-stage analysis, however, there is wide-spread practice in crop breeding trials to use a two-stage analysis. Typically this involves in the first step, the computation of the predicted variety mean followed by either weighted or unweighted analysis of the variety means in the second step. We present an introductory analysis of crop breeding trial and show in this talk the loss of efficiency involved in employing two-stage analysis in crop breeding trials with simulations based on an analysis of a real wheat breeding trial.


Australasian Applied Statistics Conference 2016

19 April 2016

The Australasian Applied Statistics Conference is an excellent opportunity to liaise with fellow statisticians within the agricultural, biological and environmental sciences and to keep abreast of the most recent developments in statistics within this context. Join us for AASC ’16 and pre-conference workshops, being held from 28 November – 2 December 2016 at The Windsong Pavilion, Four Winds, Barragga Bay, NSW.

The themes of AASC ’16 are 'Big data and innovative consulting, statistics in fisheries and ecology, statistical genetics and modern approaches to smoothing complex data ‘. An exciting group of invited speakers have already accepted invitations to attend will help explore this theme in various contexts.

Bermagui is simply inspiring and is quoted as a 'Destination that borders on perfection'. It is world renown for its natural beauty and unspoilt beaches and forests. It offers a unique and exciting range of tourist attractions and is the gateway to the northern entrances to the Sapphire Coast of NSW.

Conference website can be accessed here to subscribe for your interest.


Wilcoxon award for best applications paper

18 March 2016

The paper “Spatio-Temporal Data Fusion for Very Large Remote Sensing Datasets” by Hai Nguyen, Matthias Katzfuss, Noel Cressie & Amy Braverman received the 2015 Wilcoxon Award for best practical application paper appearing the 2014 issues of Technometrics. The award was officially presented at the Fall Technical Conference, Oct. 8-9, 2015 in Houston, Texas. Technometrics is a journal of statistics for the physical, chemical, and engineering sciences, published by the American Society for Quality and the American Statistical Association. Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie is Director of NIASRA’s Centre for Environmental Informatics at UOW.

The paper describes a spatio-temporal data-fusion (STDF) methodology based on reduced-dimensional Kalman smoothing. The STDF is able to combine the complementary Japan’s Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) and NASA’s Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) datasets to optimally estimate lower-atmospheric CO2 mole fraction over the whole globe. Further, it is designed for massive remote sensing datasets and accounts for differences in instrument footprint, measurement-error characteristics, and data coverages.


NIASRA academic elected as president of Statistical Society of Australia Canberra branch

24 February 2016

Robert Clark is halfway through a two-year term as President of the Canberra Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI). The Society exists to further the study, application and good practise of statistical theory and methods in all branches of learning and enterprise. Our involvement with Canberra Branch reflects our history of collaboration with organisations based in Canberra, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. The Society’s Canberra activities during Robert’s term will include a vibrant programme of monthly speakers and the biennial Australian Statistical Conference which will be held 5-9 December at the Hotel Realm in Canberra.


Associate Professor Robert Clark of NIASRA invited to Environmental Statistics Symposium in Tokyo

24 February 2016

The Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM) is a national research institute focussing on the theory and applications of statistics and data science. The Institute is located in Tachikawa, Tokyo. They host a range of symposiums bringing together international researchers on a variety of statistical problems. Robert Clark was an invited speaker at their January 2016 Symposium on Environmental Statistics, along with other researchers including Louis-Paul Rivest (Université Laval, Québec City, Canada), Alan Welsh (ANU) and Shogo Kato (ISM). Robert spoke about modelling the relationship between leaf chemistry and koala population density, which was joint work with Dr Kara Youngentob of ANU.

Statistics Canada’s Methodology Symposium 2014

21 December 2015

Statistics Canada's 2014 International Methodology Symposium took place at the Palais des congrès de Gatineau in October 2014. Raymond Chambers (University of Wollongong) was the keynote speaker, presenting the paper 'Survey Sampling in Official Statistics - Some Thoughts on Directions'.

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New co-editor-in-chief for International Statistical Review

21 December 2015

Nalini Ravishanker (University of Connecticut) has now joined Raymond Chambers (University of Wollongong) as co-Editor-in-Chief of International Statistical Review. Both Nalini's and Ray's terms in these positions will run until 2019.

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Statistics receives highest research rating

11 December 2015

Statistics at UOW received the highest possible rating of 5, well above world standard, in the latest evaluation of research released by the Australian Research Council.

ERA is a comprehensive quality evaluation of all research produced in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. The ratings are determined and moderated by committees of distinguished researchers, drawn from Australia and overseas. ERA is based on expert review informed by a range of indicators. The indicators used in ERA include a range of metrics such as citation profiles.

This assessment follows the University of Wollongong being rated in the top 200 Universities worldwide for Statistics & Operational Research in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015. This ranking is based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.


NIASRA and The International Association Of Survey Statisticians

19 November 2015

David Steel has been elected to the Council of the International Association of Survey Statisticians (IASS) for the period 2015 to 2019. This continues NIASRA’s connection with IASS following Ray Chambers’ stint as President from 2011-2013 and Robert Clark’s time as editor of the section "Ask the Expert" in the IASS newsletter, the Survey Statistician. Sample Surveys are one of the areas of research focus in NIASRA through its Centre for Sample Survey Methodology.

The IASS aims to promote the study and development of the theory and practice of sample surveys and censuses. It also aims to increase the interest in surveys and censuses among statisticians, governments and the public in the different countries of the world. The IASS is an association of the International Statistical Institute. See http://isi-iass.org/home/.


First Latin American ISI Satellite Meeting on Small Area Estimation

17 November 2015

NIASRA's Professor Raymond Chambers was on the Advisory Board and Program Committee at the First Latin American ISI Satellite Meeting on Small Area Estimation (SAE 2015) in Santiago, Chile, 3-5 August 2015. Research student Das Sumonkanti presented a paper titled "Estimation of Small Area Distribution Functions under Heteroskedasticity".

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Paper presented at Sunbelt Conference in Brighton

17 August 2015

Dr Pavel Krivitsky presented a paper titled "Quantifying Uncertainty in Dynamic Network Models fit to Egocentrically Sampled Data" at the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) 2015 Sunbelt Conference in Brighton, UK on June 23–28. http://insna.org/sunbelt2015/

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Paper in statistical science on effective sample size in network modeling

17 August 2015

What happens to the structure of social networks as they get bigger? How can complex network models accommodate changing network sizes, and how does it affect inference? In a recent Statistical Science paper, "On the Question of Effective Sample Size in Network Modeling: An Asymptotic Inquiry", NIASRA member Dr Pavel Krivitsky and Professor Eric Kolaczyk (Boston University) use asymptotics and computer simulation to study how the substantive model for network growth interacts with statistical inference.

Krivitsky, Pavel N.; Kolaczyk, Eric D. On the Question of Effective Sample Size in Network Modeling: An Asymptotic Inquiry. Statistical Science 30 (2015), no. 2, 184--198. doi:10.1214/14-STS502.
http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1433341477
http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.0840


Imputation of household survey data using linear mixed models

8 July 2015

Should imputes of missing data in household surveys make use of the structure of people within households? Soon-to-be-Dr Luise Lago and Associate Professor Robert Clark of NIASRA answer this question in a paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/anzs.12108/abstract.


Short courses in 2015

29 June 2015

NIASRA will be running three short courses at the Sydney Business School, Circular Quay in October and December 2015.

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New appointments in Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometry

22 June 2015

Due to the outstanding success that the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometry in NIASRA has achieved in attracting significant industry-based research funding, three more appointments have been made recently. Mr Daniel Tolhurst, Professor Ari Verbyla and Dr Chong You have joined the team led by Professor Brian Cullis.

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International recognition for statistics at UOW

8 May 2015

The University of Wollongong has been rated in the top 200 Universities worldwide for Statistics & Operational Research in the recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015. This ranking is based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

NIASRA Director David Steel said “this ranking reflects our strong international collaborations and extensive engagement with industry and major government agencies in Australia and overseas and the significance of our research and publications.”


New Co-Editor-in-Chief of The International Statistical Review

12 March 2015

Raymond (Ray) Chambers will become Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Statistical Review on 1 April 2015, taking over from Vijay Nair. Marc Hallin will continue his position as a Co-Editor-in-Chief.

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Potential gains from using unit level cost information in a model-assisted framework

6 March 2015

In theory, areas which are more costly to enumerate should be sampled less intensively than cheaper areas. A recent paper by NIASRA researchers David Steel and Robert Clark in the journal Survey Methodology shows that these gains are difficult to realise in practice. They derive guidelines for the likely cost saving from using this information when unit costs are only approximately known.

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GRDC Honours Scholarship successes

26 February 2015

Nicole Cocks and Lauren Borg received GRDC Honours Scholarships for 2015 and will be working on key projects with contribution to the Australian wheat industry. They will be jointly supervised by Prof. Brian Cullis (Director, CBB) and Emi Tanaka (Research Fellow, CBB).

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NIASRA AT THE APPLIED STATISTICS AND PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS CONFERENCE

8 January 2015

Sumonkanti Das and Mossamet Kamrun Nesa participated in the Applied Statistics and Public Policy Analysis Conference (ASPPAC) held on 11-12 December 2014 at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia. The conference theme was "Reliable data and good public policy through the use of Statistics". Mr Das (joint work with Ray Chambers) presented a paper titled Robust Mean Squared Error Estimation in ELL Methodology for Poverty Mapping. Mrs Nesa (joint work with Robert Clark, Carole Birrell) talked on Adults’ Health Status and Behaviors in New Zealand: An Application of a Multivariate Fay-Herriot Model.

Sumon’s presentation highlighted the Mean Squared Error (MSE) estimation problem in the ELL methodology (Elbers, Lanjouw and Lanjouw 2003) also known as the World Bank poverty mapping small area estimation method. In the ELL method, the MSEs of poverty estimates are significantly underestimated when the area-variability cannot be captured after incorporating a large number of explanatory and contextual variables in the regression model. A robust method of MSE estimation has been proposed for situations where the underlying assumption is violated. Numerical experiments show that the proposed method performs better than the classic ELL method.

Nesa talked on area level small area estimation with a special focus on the Multivariate Fay Herriot model (Fay and Herriot 1979). The study compares the efficiencies of the bivariate Fay-Herriot (BFH) model with the univariate Fay-Herriot model (UFH) and evaluates the relative performance of UFH and BFH using New Zealand Health Survey Data 2011/12. The researchers found little gain using the bivariate Fay-Herriot model. Some situations are also explained where multivariate Fay-Herriot model may perform better than the univariate Fay-Herriot model.

Presentation at University of Manchester on efficient survey design using split questionnaires

15 December 2014

An invited paper by Professor David Steel, Dr James Chipperfield and Margo Barr was presented at a workshop on Showcasing Research in Survey Methods and Statistical Modelling at the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, University of Manchester on 3 November 2014.

Split Questionnaire Designs (SQDs) allow for different patterns, or sets, of data items to be collected from different sample units. They have been historically used to accommodate constraints on respondent burden. This paper discussed how an SQD can be an efficient design option in practice to give more flexibility in meeting the range of objectives of a survey. Approaches to estimation were described. The efficiency of a design can be measured by the cost required to meet constraints on the accuracy of estimates. The targets of interest to the design can be means or analytic parameters, such as regression coefficients.

Other speakers at the workshop were

  • Prof Harvey Goldstein: Linkage is Really a Missing Data Problem: a Bayesian Approach.
  • Professor Natalie Shlomo: Statistical Disclosure Control Methods and Measurement Error.
  • Dr Mark Tranmer Multiple Membership Multiple Classification Models for Multilevel Network Dependencies, with an Application to Heath Data.

The Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research was founded in 2014 through a merger of two dynamic and highly successful research groups within the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester – the Institute for Social Change (ISC) and the Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR).


NIASRA at The 2014 Australasian Applied Statistics Conference

8 December 2014

NIASRA was a co-sponsor of the 2014 Australasian Applied Statistics Conference that took place on 1-5 December in Port Lincoln, SA.

Professor Brian Cullis, Director of the Centre for Biometrics and Bioinformatics in NIASRA, organized and chaired a plenary session on Statistics and Biology Collaboration, and Principal Research Fellow Dr Alison Smith gave an invited talk entitled “Conducting multi-phase experiments in a commercial laboratory: a case study in collaboration, communication and compromise.”

Research Fellows Dr Simon Diffey and Dr Emi Tanaka also gave presentations at the conference. Dr Diffey presented on “Factor analytic mixed models for defining seasons in perennial pasture variety trials,” and Dr Tanaka presented on “Fast imputation for large unordered marker data.”


Noel cressie delivered 2014 Knibbs Lecture

1 December 2014

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie, Director of the Centre for Environmental Informatics in NIASRA, delivered the 2014 Knibbs Lecture to the Canberra branch of the Statistical Society of Australia on 4 November.

The lecture was entitled “Statistical Modelling of Big, Spatial, Non-Gaussian Data: The MODIS Cloud Mask Product,” and it presented methodological research jointly undertaken with Aritra Sengupta of Freddie Mac (USA).

Knibbs Lecture Abstract: Clouds play an important role in climate studies and, consequently, an accurate quantification of the spatial distribution of clouds is highly desirable. In this presentation, a reduced-rank Spatial Random Effects (SRE) model for the underlying clear-sky-probability process is built, allowing uncertainty quantification for the spatial prediction of the presence/absence of cloud. The SRE model has certain advantages: it can represent many types of spatial dependence, it permits fast computations when datasets are very large, and it has attractive change-of-support properties.

The Canberra Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia presents an annual lecture in recognition of the contributions of Sir George Handley Knibbs to Statistics in Australia. Knibbs was appointed the first Commonwealth Statistician in 1906 and oversaw the first Commonwealth Census in 1911.


ARC Discovery Grant success: spatio-temporal statistics and its application to remote sensing

1 December 2014

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie, Director of the Centre for Environmental Informatics in NIASRA, has been awarded a Discovery Grant by the Australian Research Council.

Project Abstract: By their very nature, environmental processes involve strong spatial and temporal variability. Inferring cause-effect relationships requires the incorporation of spatial and temporal dependence in the statistical models. The aims of this project are to develop mass-balanced hierarchical spatio-temporal statistical models, new loss functions that are relevant to multivariate processes, and optimal estimators obtained from the hierarchical model's predictive distribution. These methodologies are intended to be applied to the estimation of near-surface fluxes of atmospheric carbon dioxide, using massive remote sensing datasets from satellites and other data sources.

This major research grant was one of seven grants awarded in statistics nationally and involves funding of $402,500 over three years.


Invited session at ISI Regional Statistics Conference 2014, Kuala Lumpur

1 December 2014

Professors David Steel and Noel Cressie of NIASRA organised an invited session at the International Statistical Institute (ISI) Regional Statistics Conference (RSC) 2014, in which NIASRA PhD graduate Dr Klairung Samart was awarded second prize in the competition for best paper by a young statistician.

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Visit by Professor Bimal Sinha

12 November 2014

Professor Bimal Sinha, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, recently visited NIASRA. Prof. Sinha presented the short course “Statistical Meta-Analysis” on 3-4 November at UoW’s Sydney Business School and visited the UoW campus on 5-6 November.

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Pavel Krivitsky presented a paper at American Statistical Association's 2014 Joint Statistical Meetings

31 October 2014

NIASRA member Dr Pavel Krivitsky presented a paper titled Inference for Exponential-Family Random Graph Models based on Egocentrically-Sampled Data at the American Statistical Association’s 2014 Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on 2-7 August.

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AMSI summer scholarship successes

31 October 2014

Two medical mathematics students, Nicole Cocks and Lauren Borg, were awarded the AMSI summer scholarship. Their projects are motivated by solving problems related to key GRDC/ARC funded projects and will be jointly supervised by Prof. Brian Cullis (Director, CBB) and Emi Tanaka (Research Fellow, CBB).

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NIASRA student presents at The 20th IEA World Congress On Epidemiology

20 October 2014

Margo Barr presented a paper entitled 'Changing accuracy of self-reported BMI over time in NSW, Australia' at the 20th International Epidemiology Association World Congress on Epidemiology in Anchorage, Alaska on 17 to 21 August 2014.

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NIASRA success at IBC 2014

19 August 2014

Dr Alison Smith (Principal Research Fellow, CBB) and Dr Simon Diffey (Research Fellow, CBB) gave excellent talks, in the invited and contributed session respectively, with a packed audience at the 27th International Biometrics Conference 2014. Dr Alison Smith’s talk was titled “Multi-phase variety trials with both composite and individual field plot samples” with about 250 attendees and the video can be accessed here. Dr Simon Diffey’s talk was titled “Faster REML (PX) EM algorithms for linear mixed models” with about 150 attendees. Professor Brian Cullis, as the committee chair, ran a successful IBC 2014 with a carefully reviewed programme of 24 invited session, 5 special sessions, 41 contributed sessions and more than 300 posters, covering many different areas of biometry.


Noel Cressie awarded the 2014 Pitman Medal 

12 August 2014

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie was awarded the 2014 Pitman Medal at a ceremony held at the 2014 Australian Statistical Conference in Sydney on 10 July. The Statistical Society of Australia awards the Pitman Medal in recognition of outstanding achievement in, and contribution to, the discipline of Statistics.

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2013 Pitman Medal for Matt Wand

22 August 2014

Distinguished Professor Matt Wand of the University of Technology Sydney has been awarded the 2013 Pitman Medal by the Statistical Society of Australia.

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Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data, written by Noel Cressie and Christopher K. Wikle and published in 2011 by John Wiley and Sons (Hoboken, NJ), awarded the international DeGroot Book Prize

6 August 2014

Noel Cressie (Distinguished Professor, National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA), University of Wollongong) and Chris Wikle (Professor, Department of Statistics, University of Missouri) were presented the DeGroot Prize at the biennial conference of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) in Cancun, Mexico.

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Noel Cressie and NASA's OCO-2 in the news

6 August 2014

NASA: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Lifts Off!
Engineers have successfully established communication with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2.

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NIASRA contributes to ASC 2014

1 July 2014

NIASRA was a sponsor of the Statistical Society of Australia’s biennial Australian Statistical Conference, which was held in conjunction with the Institute of Mathematical Statistics Annual meeting in Sydney on 7-10 July 2014. Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie organised a special session highlighting research themes at NIASRA.

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Peter Diggle mentioned in IHMRI newsletter

1 July 2014

Peter Diggle is a distinguished university professor in CHICAS (Combining Health Information, Computation and Statistics) within Lancaster University’s
Medical School (UK) and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Liverpool (UK).

In February 2014, the internationally-recognised biostatistician, Professor Peter Diggle, made the long trip from his home-town of Lancaster, England, to visit Wollongong for the first time. 

The main purpose of his visit was to participate in the annual meeting of IHMRI’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), but another major drawcard was the opportunity to visit old friends and colleagues, including UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, and Professor Noel Cressie, one the world’s most highly-cited applied statisticians.

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Genomic selection: a new frontier for higher rates of genetic gain in wheat

1 May 2014

The current rate of genetic improvement in wheat yields is insufficient to meet the world’s future needs for wheat based food. Genomic selection (GS) is the most likely tool to be able to deliver improvement in genetic gain in wheat production. From the CBB, NIASRA, Professor Brian Cullis, Associate Professor Alison Smith and Emi Tanaka will be undertaking research for a successful implementation of GS.

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Australasian Applied Statistics Conference

1 May 2014

Australasian Applied Statistics Conference (AASC) will take place on 1-5 December 2014 in Port Lincoln, South Australia. The conference is conducted biennially by Australasian Gen Stat User Association (AGUAi) – an exciting community of statisticians, which you can join by simply attending the conference. The conference focuses primarily on statistical developments and applications in agriculture, plant breeding, primary industries and environmental research. This is an excellent opportunity to liaise with your fellow statisticians and to keep abreast of the frontiers in applied statistics within this context.

This year's theme, 'Frontiers in Statistics and Biology - call for closer collaboration', opens discussions on the leadership of statistics in agriculture, biological and environmental research.

Call for papers is now open.

Join the AASC'14 and pre-conference workshops on 1-5 December 2014. More information on www.aasc.org.au.


NIASRA catering for better chicken meat

27 February 2014

Dr Simon Diffey (Research Fellow, CBB) will be undertaking research as part of a Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) project which aims to improve the efficiency of chicken meat production.

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Selecting the best genotypes - analysing pasture variety trial workshop

27 February 2014

An introductory course which will provide hands-on training in exploratory data analysis and spatial analysis of pasture variety field trials will be conducted at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute (WWAI) from the 11th to the 13th of August. The aim of the course is to provide breeding companies an introductory course on statistical methods which will enable them to select their best performing lines for commercial release.

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Dr Simon Diffey wins $400K to support Australian canola

27 February 2014

The National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program - Phase 2 (NBGIP-II) is a major Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) project targeted at providing Australian canola breeders advanced germplasm with improved blackleg resistance (blackleg is a serious fungal disease which costs the industry an estimated $80M a year), heat tolerance, and drought resistance.

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New appointees in the Centre of Biometry and Bioinformatics

27 February 2014

Payam Mokhtarian and Emi Tanaka have joined the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics (CBB) as research fellows working with Professor Brian Cullis.

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Inaugural StatsWeek Conference a great success

26 February 2014

The National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA) hosted more than 100 professional and academic researchers during StatsWeek 2014 in early February.

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International Conference On Small Area Estimation - Poznań, Poland, 3-5 September 2014

4 February 2014

The main aim of the SAE 2014 conference is to assess the current research on small area estimation and related fields. The conference will focus on aspects of methodological and practical achievements in small area estimation methods in recent years. The conference will also help to bring together the world of scientists from universities and practitioners working in National Statistical Offices and other researches agencies.

A short article summarizing what happened at SAE 2013 is available in the January 2014 edition of The Survey Statistician published by the International Association of Survey Statisticians. The presentation slides are now available.

The 14th annual J.B. Douglas postgraduate awards day

On 19 November 2013, six PhD students and three staff members made their way up to UTS in Sydney for the 14 Annual J.B. Douglas Postgraduate Awards Day run by the NSW branch of the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI).

Six students from five universities were chosen to represent their school by presenting a talk on their research. Sarah Neville (supervisor Distinguished Professor Matt Wand) was our UOW representative and presented an excellent and very engaging talk on 'Elaborate Distribution Semiparametric Regression via Mean Field Variational Bayes'.

The standard of the presentations is always very high. Francis Hui from UNSW who presented an outstanding talk was awarded the only prize of $1000. His presentation title was 'New Methods for Mixture Modelling of Multi-Species Datasets in Ecology'.

Congratulations to Francis Hui from UNSW and to Sarah for being chosen to represent UOW. Noel Cressie was one of the judges for the awards as well as the Invited Guest Speaker for the event. He presented a fascinating talk on 'The Statistical Analysis of Satellite Retrievals' for which the abstract is below.

The statistical analysis of satellite retrievals
Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie
National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA)
University of Wollongong

Remote sensing data from satellites are not direct measurements of a physical or chemical property. They are radiances detected by a spectrometer on board a satellite. A retrieval for each sounding is obtained by solving an ill-posed inverse problem. The resulting geophysical data are often sparse and incomplete with respect to the globe as a whole. Hence, statistical methods are needed that are able to exploit spatial and temporal dependencies in the data to produce complete global maps, together with associated uncertainty estimates. These methods need to accommodate differing spatial variability around the globe, they need to allow for change-of-support, and they need to yield computationally feasible statistical inferences for very-large-to-massive datasets. In this talk, we introduce such spatio-temporal methods and use them to analyze aerosol optical depth (AOD) data obtained from the MISR instrument on board the Terra satellite.

We finished the evening with drinks and dinner overlooking the Sydney skyline which was a great time to network with other students and SSAI members from other universities and to catch up with old friends before travelling home to Wollongong by train.

Thanks to all those who came to cheer on Sarah and Noel.


Sarah receiving her certificate from Scott Sisson, SSAI NSW Branch President.


The six HDR students who presented their topic of research at the awards day receiving their certificate. From left to right: Chong You (University of Sydney), Sarah Neville (University of Wollongong), Zhipeng Hao (Macquarie University), Frances Garden (University of Sydney), Salman Cheema (University of Newcastle) , Francis Hui (University of NSW) (winner).


New surveys journal 

The Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (JSSAM) was recently launched, with issue 1 appearing in May 2013.  The new journal aims "to publish cutting edge scholarly articles on statistical and methodological issues for sample surveys, censuses, administrative record systems, and other related data."  JSSAM has the backing of leading professional bodies the American Statistical Association and the American Association for Public Opinion Research, and aims to become "the flagship journal for our profession".  NIASRA is involved in this exciting development, with Professor Ray Chambers a member of the editorial board, and A/Prof Robert Clark authoring an article on "Sample Design using Imperfect Design Data" in the first issue.


NIASRA is helping to monitor New Zealanders’ health with a new contract with the NZ Ministry of Health

Associate Professor Robert Clark and other University of Wollongong statisticians will be providing statistical expertise to NZ Ministry of Health's population health monitoring surveys. A two-year research contract from 2013-2015 for up to NZ$250,000 has been signed, and this is the fourth contiguous two-year contract with the Ministry. The collaboration so far has led to innovative and major changes to the design and operation of the NZ health survey, including new methodologies which have been published in leading statistical journals.

UOW's role over the next two years will include training in the analysis of survey data and the provision of analysis and other statistical services feeding into the now continuous NZ Health Survey. Analysis of both costs and variability associated with interviewers and other factors is expected to lead to innovations in survey methods and improved cost efficiency for the survey.

This new contract builds on a theme of collaboration with NZ organisations, including an ARC linkage project with the Ministry of Health and other partners, the conduct of three projects associated with the NZ Crime and Safety Survey, and four Statistics NZ projects. NIASRA also has major contracts and linkage projects with Australian organisations, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW Health, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Rain Corporation and the Australian Market and Social Research Society.

(Left to Right) Robert Templeton, Principal Technical Specialist, Health and Disability Intelligence Unit NZ and Associate Professor Robert Clark


NIASRA and ABS Symposium on "Bayes for Official Statistics"

In association with SSAI and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a symposium on "Bayes for Official Statistics" will be conducted in at ABS House, Canberra, 16 October 2013.

The symposium will discuss applications of Bayes that are relevant to Official Statistics, with talks from internationally recognised statisticians including Professor Ray Chambers from NIASRA, and will cover Bayes applications in the areas of missing data, small area estimation, sample design and inference.


World Statistics Congress, Hong Kong

The 59th ISI World Statistics Congress was held late August 2013 in Hong Kong. With a theme of “Youth” for this year, the congress provided a platform for the international statistical community to share and present the latest knowledge and innovation in statistics, with the scientific programme encompassing a wide range of topics to facilitate professional exchanges and sharing amongst experts and practitioners in various statistical spheres.

NIASRA staff members Professor Ray Chambers, Professor David Steel, Dr Gunky Kim presented papers at the congress, with Professor Chambers presenting the Cochran-Hansen award to Mr. Emilio Escobar from Mexico for the best paper on survey research methods submitted by a young statistician from a developing country.

Professor Chambers (right) and Emilio Escobar

Professor Steel (right) in discussion with another delegate at the congress.


Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie is working with NASA

Since 2011, UOW Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie has been serving on NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) Science Team, centered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. As a member of the OCO-2 Science Team, he is studying global precisions and accuracies of column-integrated CO2 from the OCO-2 instrument. The mission is essentially to "watch how the Earth breathes" and map the surface fluxes (sources and sinks) of CO2. This project is one of several that is being carried out by Professor Cressie under his recent two-year (2013-2015) appointment as a JPL Distinguished Visiting Scientist.

Under the second NASA project, funded by NASA’s Earth Systems Technology Office, he is part of a team led by JPL Principal Statistician, Dr. Amy Braverman. This work concerns fusing multi-instrument, multi-process spatial and spatio-temporal datasets, to obtain new datasets that combine information from multiple instruments. The new datasets are accompanied by measures of their uncertainty. The data-fusion methodology is being applied to CO2 data from the Japanese instrument GOSAT, OCO-2, and mid-tropospheric CO2 data from JPL’s AIRS instrument. As a consequence, near-surface CO2 values can be inferred more precisely, from which flux (sources and sinks) estimates can be obtained. Where the CO2 comes from (sources) and where it goes to (sinks) is essential to our understanding of the carbon cycle and its role in global climate change.

Professor Cressie is also working on a third project, Likelihood-Based Quantification of Agreement between Climate Model Output and NASA Data Records, funded by NASA’s Earth Science Data Records Uncertainty Analysis Program. With JPL's Dr. Braverman, they are using statistical-resampling methodology to evaluate the consistency of climate-model simulations with remote sensing observations. Those models would then be trusted to supply accurate forecasts of future climate.

For further information, visit the AIRS’s Spatio-temporal mapping of CO2 website. At the conclusion of the latter website, there is a movie showing spatial statistical prediction of mid-tropospheric CO2 as time progresses through the boreal spring of 2010.

From left to right, Dr. Michael R. Gunson (OCO-2 Project Scientist), Dr. Amy Braverman (JPL Principal Statistician), and UOW’s Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie.

 


Professor Ray Chambers appointed to prestigious United Nations Committee

Professor Ray Chambers from NIASRA has been appointed to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) supporting the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics that is currently being developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The SAC is responsible for providing key advice on the Global Strategy's research plan, which is aimed at developing more cost-effective methods and tools for data collection, analysis and dissemination relating to global agricultural outputs, particularly in developing countries. In this context, the research plan aims to extend recent methodological and technological advances in statistical data collection and analysis in order to take into account the specific needs and capacities of developing countries.

The terms of reference of the SAC involve providing technical advice to the global office of the FAO on technical issues, analysing the results of research activities commissioned by the global office of the FAO, validating the process and results of these research activities, ensuring that the best technical standards are respected, and supporting the global office in the selection of the most appropriate institutions/experts (in conformity with FAO rules) when the activities of these research topics are outsourced.

The SAC had their first meeting in Rome on 1 July this year. Issues discussed included master sampling frames, estimating cost of production in developing countries, estimating livestock and livestock products, estimating postharvest losses, and better integration of geographic information and statistics, as well as addressing administrative arrangements and plans for managing the committee.


Two NIASRA students graduate with PhDs

NIASRA would like to congratulate Dr Alexandra (Sandy) Burden and Dr Diane Hindmarsh who were awarded their PhD awards at the Graduation ceremony held on 26 July 2013 and wish them success and fulfilment in their future endeavours.  The tile of Sandy’s thesis is “Zone Issues in the Analysis of Small Area Health Data”, and the title of Diane’s thesis is “Small Area Estimation for Health Surveys”.  

From left to right, Professor David Steel, Dr Alexandra (Sandy) Burden, and Dr Diane Hindmarsh


NIASRA competes strongly in national bridge competition

Steve Hurley, NIASRA project coordinator, played in the NSW team at the Australian National Teams bridge championship in Adelaide early July. The team comprised of three pairs, two from Sydney and a country pair including Steve, with Steve and his partner being the first country pair to represent NSW. Qualifying for the final was over five days where they were about second or third between Victoria and the favorites South Australia. Steve played in the final round against South Australia and scored well for NSW to win their way into the final. South Australia played too strongly in final so NSW came a creditable second.


2013 Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Research

Professor Brian Cullis and his research partner Grains Research Development Corporation have shared the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Partnership.  This involves the National Variety Trials (NVT) program, Public Plant Breeding programs, and Wheat Classification programs.  Read further detail on the work with the GRDC.


Major grant to fund research into genomic selection

Professor Brian Cullis and Associate Professor Alison Smith from NIASRA and Dr Haydn Kutchel, from the industry partner, Australian Grain Technologies, have been awarded and Australian Research Council Linkage grant for their project entitled “Genomic selection: a new frontier for higher rates of genetic gain in wheat”.  This involves genetic improvement in wheat yields is estimated between 0.75% and 1% per annum.  Read further detail on the their work.


Professor David Steel elected as a member of the prestigious International Statistical Institute

NIASRA Director David Steel has been recently elected as a member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI), which is a leading world organisation in statistics disciplines.  Members are elected by virtue of their contributions to the development or application of statistical methods, administration of statistical services, or development and improvement of statistical education.  Read further details about the ISI and other ISI members from NIASRA.


Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie invited to speak as International Biometrics Society biennial conference.

The next biennial conference for the Australasian Region of the International Biometrics Society will be held in Western Australia in December 2013, and Professor Noel Cressie from NIASRA has been invited to speak.

The conference discusses issues ranging across spatial and temporal statistics, linear mixed models, complex genetic mixed models, design of experiments, generalized linear and additive models, and Bayesian methods.  Professor Noel Cressie will deliver a presentation titled “Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data”.  Other invited speakers are Prof. Thomas Yee from Auckland University, Prof. Ian James from Murdoch University, Prof. Christine Müller from Technische Universität Dortmund, Prof. Alan Welsh from Australian National University, and Ric Coe from the World Agroforestry Centre.

For further information on the conference, please visit their website here.


Professor Brian Cullis appointed Chair of the IBC, Italy, 2014

Professor Brian Cullis has been appointed International Programme Committee Chair of the 27th International Biometric Conference to be held 6-11 July in Florence, Italy.

The International Biometric Society is an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry, and allied disciplines. And the conference is the major event for the IBS held each year in different locations around the world.

Working with the Education Committee, this role broadly involves liaising with leading industry groups and professionals to advertise and receive invited papers for the scientific programme, then chairing a team to evaluate and select papers to be included in the Scientific Program, then that team scheduling presentations and participants through the conference.


NIASRA wins MLA tender 

Dr Simon Diffey, a Research Fellow within the National Institute for Applied Statistics Australia (NIASRA), was successful in a Meat & Livestock Australia tender to provide a Pasture Variety Trial Network (PVTN) design and analysis service. The University of Wollongong is the lead organisation in this project worth $120K over 2.5 years. The project also includes researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

This project complements existing projects within NIASRA's Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics Research, the flagship project being the $6M over 5 years Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) project led Professor Brian Cullis. Both Dr Simon Diffey and Dr Alison Smith, a Principal Research Fellow within NIASRA, are fully funded by industry. Simon is funded by the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) and the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork and Alison is funded by GRDC.

These close links with the agricultural industry, and the grains industry in particular, have led to GRDC funded student summer vacation scholarships worth $3000 each and 2 honours year scholarships worth $10000 each. The Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics Research has recently advertised a PhD scholarship in the area of statistical genetics worth $35K a year and is looking to make 2 new industry funded appointments in the near future to work in the area of plant breeding and quantitative genetics. 


Post doc to work on experimental designs in genomic studies

NIASRA has secured a 12-month postdoctorate position to investigate computing methods for generating optimal experimental designs in real-time for large phenotyping experiments in genomic studies.

Working with The Department of Fisheries & Forestry Queensland (DAFF), the position in NIASRA will undertake research on a design generator for complex optimal experimental designs under a general linear statistical model. The model may include random (and correlated) genetic, fixed or random non-genetic, and correlated residual effects. The aims of the project include:

  • efficient model-based optimal design software, including R functions for unoptimised starting designs;
  • methods to generate inverse relationship matrices for inclusion in the design model;
  • direct links to a plant breeding information system (Katmandoo) for storing experimental designs; including a web interface capability and model specification in XML; and 
  • tools to manipulate plant pedigrees with filial generations in R.

The appointee will commence 1 July 2013 and continue to 30 June 2014. 


NIASRA is jumping into R

NIASRA staff, Sandy Burden, Carole Birrell, Thomas Suesse and Anne Porter, have been successful in obtaining an ESDF grant for their project titled ‘Jump into R’.

When teaching statistics, the choice of software to support learning is fundamental to the success of the subject. R is a freely-available statistical software package, which is widely used for research and by industry, and is currently introduced and taught to honours students in statistics. This project will introduce R into 2nd year statistics subjects. The project aims to improve student’s conceptual understanding of statistics and develop modern programming skills at a lower level, so students have a greater understanding and improved skill set at graduation, improving their employment opportunities. It also builds on the use of open source software at the first year level, allowing better access to learning resources at home by low socioeconomic students.

The project involves two core elements: (1) redeveloping teaching material to reflect and support the use of R, and (2) providing a web page of useful links to online learning resources for R, accessible to the wider university community.


Measuring radio audiences

NIASRA have been working with Commercial Radio Australia to improve the radio audience measurement system.


International conferences

In 2013, NIASRA staff and students will be attending a variety of conferences and meetings to deliver papers or take part in the meeting.  These are as follows =>

  • Graybill Conference in Colorado, USA (June) - Ray Chambers
  • IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo in San Jose, USA (July) - Payam Mokhtarian
  • IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Rail Transportation in Beijing, China (August) - Payam Mokhtarian
  • Joint Statistical Meeting in Montreal, Canada (August) - Ray Chambers
  • ISI conference in Hong Kong (August) - Ray Chambers, Gunky Kim, James Chipperfield, Margo Barr, and David Steel
  • International Conference on Survey Research Methodology in Taipei, Taiwan (September) - Walter Davis
  • Scientific Advisory Committee in Bangkok, Thailand (September) - Ray Chambers, Payam Mokhtarian, and Sumonkanti Das.
  • 60th anniversary SASA Conference in Limpopo, South Africa (November) - Ray Chambers

For further details of NIASRA's participation.


NIASRA is offering a short course on sampling methods for small or hard-to-reach populations

This is a one-day course aimed at statisticians and survey professionals interested in small populations. The course will be held on 14 June, 2013 at the Sydney Business School (Sydney Campus). The presenters are Professor Matthias Schonlau, who is a Professor of Statistics at the University of Waterloo, Canada and Associate Professor Robert Clark, from the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA), at the University of Wollongong.

For more information about the course.

To obtain a nomination form.


Ray Chambers to Co-chair, First Asian International Statistical Institute Satellite Meeting on Small Area Estimation, Bangkok, Thailand on 1-4 September 2013.

The meeting will provide researchers an opportunity to learn state-of-the-art small area estimation techniques from the experts in the field.

For more information, please visit the website.

Professor David Griffiths presented the annual Knibbs Lecture held on 27 November 2012 at ANU

"The thrown coin: who gives a toss? Adventures in the design of the golden die and in binary regression" David Griffiths.

Professor David Griffiths gave an in depth summary of George Handly Knibbs' life and time as well as a topic talk. You can read more on the talk as recounted by Ray Lindsay. 


Inclusion of mobile telephone numbers into NSW population health surveys

Margo Barr at the NSW Ministry of Health and David Steel have developed methods that would include mobile telephone numbers with minimal impact on the existing data collection methodology. 

CSSM welcomes 2 new staff members

Walter Davis

CSSM's capacity for research and consulting in survey and social statistics methodology has increased significantly with the appointment of Walter Davis as a Senior Research Fellow. Walter Davis has over 25 years of experience in statistical consulting and the design and analysis of complex surveys. Originally from the US, Walt began his career at the University of North Carolina as a Health Data Analyst at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. He provided statistical advice across the social sciences and taught several short courses. His work with health data spawned an interest in the design and analysis of complex surveys.

Walt then became Research Director for the University's Centre for Community Capitalism, a housing policy research centre. He managed and designed a longitudinal survey of low-income homeowners to evaluate the success of a targeted mortgage lending programme and to assess the impact of homeownership on low-income families. He also provided the statistical expertise for a series of analytical projects, most importantly an analysis of the performance of millions of subprime mortgages.

For the last seven years, Walt has served as a Principal Methodologist and strategic advice across the organisation. He focused on the social survey programme, particularly the longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment and the short-and medium-term impact of the Christchurch earthquake on the survey process. He engaged in research on the analysis of linked data, business survey non-response and the measurement properties of a widely-used health scale. Walt was also heavily involved in the coordination of methodological research and the planning and teaching of the department's statistical training.

Walt has a MA in Sociology from the University of North Carolina and a BA from Carleton College. He as published articles in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Housing Policy Debates, the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Methods and Research and Structural Equation Modeling among others. Walt is an Associate Editor of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS.

Simon Diffey

Dr Simon Diffey recently joined CSSM based in the School of Mathematical and Applied Statistics as a Research Fellow. This position is partly funded by a Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) project titled "Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI)" which is led by Professor Brian Cullis and is worth $6M over 5 years. This project will deliver statistical support and training, develop innovative statistical technologies and statistical software to the grains industry of Australia. Simon is also the project leader of a project titled "Statistics for the Australian Pork Industry (SAPI)" which provides statistical support to sub-programme 4B of the CRC for High Integrity Australian  Pork (HIAP).

Prior to joining UOW, Simon worked for 10 years as a consulting biometrician in the NSW Department of Primary Industries. In this role most of Simon's work related to the grains industry in some way. Examples include the design and analysis of plant variety trials, quantitative trait loci (QTL) experiments, and grain intake and digestibility animal experiments. Simon's research interests arise from problems encountered in his statistical consulting role. He has recently submitted a PhD thesis titled "A new REML(PX)EM algorithm for linear mixed models and factor analytic mixed models". An outcome of this work is to broaden and improve the types of algorithms which can be practically applied to the analysis of plant improvement data.


Grant success...

Associate Professor Anne Porter is a member of two teams recently winning approval for grant applications under the University of Wollongong's 2012 Educational Strategies Development Fund.

The first grant is titled "Motivating Engineering students to develop Mathematics and Statistical skills and concepts". This project seeks to develop video based teaching resources for Engineering students completing their core mathematics and statistics subject MATH283. The motivational clips are to address the use of statistics and mathematics within Engineering, while video worked examples will be used to support student learning in difficult of topic areas.

The second grant is titled "Embedded Mathematics Learning Support at 200 level". This project aims to develop staff teamwork and expertise in the creation and use of video learning support resources for second year mathematics, which will also form part of an embedded online learning support initiative for two subjects. This will lead to development of a second learning support offering an online Head-Start program similar to those successfully trialled at the first year level.

For further information, please contact Anne Porter via email at alp@uow.edu.au


 Three CSSM students were awarded their PhD

The Centre would like to congratulate (Left to right) Dr Klairung Samart , Dr Mohammad Reza Namazi Rad and Dr Heni Puspaningrum, who were awarded their PhD awards at the Graduation ceremony held on July 18, 2012.

Congratulations and best wishes on your future endeavours!! 


Associate Professor Anne Porter appointed to the JULTP Editorial Board

Associate Professor Anne Porter, a member of CSSM, has recently been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of University Learning and Teaching Practice (JULTP). Anne's appointment is until June 2014. The Journal has had an increasing impact in recent years, since its launch in August 2004. The Journal is a national, bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal publishing papers that add significantly to the body of knowledge describing effective and innovative teaching and learning practice in the higher education environment. JULTP is hosted by the University of Wollongong.

The Journal was launched in an attempt to address a gap in publications in the higher education sector. There was a growing acknowledgement that teaching and learning at University had changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Students entering University now come from a much broader range of backgrounds. Many have to work to support their study and all are expected to develop lifelong learning skills. University teachers have had to cope with these changes by developing a range of skills that encompass supporting diversity, flexible methods of delivery and more varied approaches to assessment. A search of journal titles worldwide could not identify a publication that covers learning and teaching practice at a University level.

Congratulations Anne!!!


Three-minute thesis competition

The Faculty round of the three-minute Thesis competition was won by Sarah Neville, a third year CSSM PhD student in Statistics. Her presentation "Making Sense of Big Data" beat out tough competition from the other schools within the faculty. Sarah now progresses to the University round of the competition, where she hopes to do the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics and the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology proud. Good luck Sarah!!!


Success with ESDF grants

Educational Strategies Development Fund (ESDF) grants are awarded to academic and general staff for nominated projects that promote the strategic development of the University's learning and teaching. The ESDF grants provide an ideal opportunity for those who have an excellent idea to improve learning and teaching but require additional resources to accomplish it.

CSSM Lecturer Dr Carole Birrell and Dr Caz Sandison from SMAS, along with Dr Tricia Forrester from the Faculty of Education, were successful in receiving grant funding for "Development of multiple choice resources for pre-service primary teachers to deepen conceptual understanding of mathematics content knowledge".

This project aims to improve the poor conceptual understanding of mathematics and statistics held by many pre-service teachers. Research has shown that many pre-service primary teachers hold similar misunderstanding of mathematical concepts as primary students and are anxious about studying mathematics and statistics. Once practising teachers, they are likely to engage in mathematics avoidance behaviours and ineffective teaching methods. This project aims to deepen pre-service primary teachers' conceptual understanding of mathematics and statistics using carefully constructed multiple choice questions, thereby building confidence, reducing anxiety and improving attitudes to teaching mathematics and statistics to primary students. This endeavours to ensure that the next generation of primary school students receives the necessary tuition in mathematical education.


Professor Brian Cullis appointed chair of International Biometrics Committee

The XXVIIth International Biometric Conference will be held in Florence, Italy, 2014 and Professor Brian Cullis has been appointed as chair of International Program Committee as well as a member of the Local Organising Committee.

The biennial conference is a highlight in world biometrics, with eminent international speakers, involving Special Invited Sessions from the ISI (International Statistical Institute), showcases for Young Statisticians, Biometrics and JABES, many other sessions presenting contributed talks, and a workshop.

Professor Brian Cullis' International Program Committee will be responsible for the planning and direction of the scientific facets of the conference. His role as a member of the Local Organising Committee, will be responsible for the planning and direction of all non-scientific program facets of the conference including selection of venue and finances. These roles have a close working relationship and are crucial to the planning and delivery of the conference.

The webpage for the 2014 conference has not yet been published. But for more information concerning the conference, please refer to the International Biometric Society homepage or the homepage for the upcoming conference in Kobe, Japan later this year.

IBS homepage - http://www.biometricsociety.org/


Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Sample Surveys

CSSM members Ray Chambers and David Steel have collaborated with colleagues Suojin Wang from Texas A&M University and Alan Welsh from the Australian National University to produce a book on Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Sample Surveys, which has recently been published by CRC press.

Sample surveys provide data used by researchers in a large range of disciplines to analyse important relationships using well-established and widely-used likelihood methods. The methods used to select samples often result in the sample differing in important ways from the target population and standard application of likelihood methods can lead to biased and inefficient estimates. Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Sample Surveys presents an overview of likelihood methods for the analysis of sample survey data that account for the selection methods used, and includes all necessary background material on likelihood inference. It covers a range of data types including multilevel data, and is illustrated by many worked examples using tractable and widely-used models. It also discusses more advanced topics, such as combining data, non-response, and informative sampling.

Further details can be found at: http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781584886327?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DZL17-2_Stat_Theory_JK&utm_content=Maximum+Likelihood+Estimation+for+Sample+Surveys


Reviewing census options in the UK

CSSM Director David Steel has been appointed as an expert reviewer in an advisory panel to provide quality assurance and methodological advice to the UK Office for National Statistics "Beyond 2011" programme. The UK Statistics Authority set up "Beyond 2011" in April 2011 to investigate and assess alternative options for producing the population and socio-demographic data required by users in England and Wales, including those that are currently delivered by the decennial census. This work will include testing models for the use of administrative and survey data as an alternative to the  UK's traditional census approach. "Beyond 2011" will provide a recommendation to the UK Parliament in 2014 on the way forward for the collection of population and socio-demographic statistics, following a period of in-depth research and evaluation across a range of statistical options.

Further information about the programme is available here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/what-we-do/programmes---projects/beyond-2011/index.html


Award winning book from Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie

Released in 2011, Distinguished Professor  Noel Cressie in conjunction with Christopher K. Wikle published "Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data", a major text in the sphere of Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics. The book won the 2011 PROSE Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in the Mathematics Category, from the Association of American Publishers.

The book incorporates ideas from the areas of time series and spatial statistics as well as stochastic processes. Beginning with separate treatments of temporal data and spatial data, the book combines these concepts to discuss spatio-temporal statistical methods for understanding complex processes.

This is a state-of-the-art presentation of spatio-temporal processes, bridging classic ideas with modern hierarchical statistical modeling concepts and the latest computational methods. From understanding environmental processes and climate trends to developing new technologies for mapping public-health data and the spread of invasive-species, there is a high demand for statistical analyses of data that take spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal information into account. Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data presents a systematic approach to key quantitative techniques that incorporate the latest advances in statistical computing as well as hierarchical, particularly Bayesian, statistical modeling, with an emphasis on dynamical spatio-temporal models.

The book is suitable for graduate students, professional statisticians, and researchers and practitioners in the field of applied mathematics, engineering, and the environmental and health sciences.

For further details, please view the book, or view Professor Noel Cressie's home page.


Arthur Gilmour receives ALF award

Dr Arthur Gilmour, a Principal Research Fellow with the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology, was recognised at the Regional Conference of the International Biometric Society's; nicknamed 'Biometrics by the Blowholes'; in Kiama at the Conference dinner on 7 December 2011.

Dr Gilmour, along with Professor Susan Wilson each received the inaugural ALF award for their long time service to the society and to the biometrics profession. The ALF award is named after and in honour of the region's first vice-president E.A (Alf) Cornish.

Professor Brian Cullis presented the tribute speech to Arthur Gilmour, whilst Professor Alan Welsh from ANU presented the tribute to the other winner of the ALF award, Professor Susan Wilson. The recipients each received a pewter goblet as a gift for their recognition. 

Presentation of the ALF award to Susan Wilson and Arthur Gilmour: with gifts L to R; Arthur Gilmour, Brian Cullis, Mario D'Antuono, Sue Wilson and Alan Welsh.


New book release - An Introduction to Model-Based Survey Sampling with Applications

Ray Chambers and Robert Clark, have published a new book titled "An Introduction to Model-Based Survey Sampling with Applications".

This text brings together important ideas on the model-based approach to sample survey, which has been developed over the last twenty years. Suitable for graduate students and professional statisticians, it moves from basic ideas fundamental to sampling to more rigorous mathematical modelling and data analysis and includes exercises and solutions. Find further details of the content


Associate Professor Yan-Xia Lin presents paper at 10th Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Conference

Associate Professor Yan-Xia Lin attended the 10th Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference (APBC2012) in Melbourne, Australia, from 17 to 19 January 2012. The conference received 129 submissions from authors of 16 countries included a large number of high-quality papers in genomic analysis, protein interaction, regulatory network studies and supporting web resources. Among those papers, 43 papers are accepted for presentation in the conference. The paper Yan-Xia presented is "The algorithm of equal acceptance region for detecting copy number alterations: application to next-generation sequencing data".

Bioinformatics is the application of statistics, computer science and information technology to the field of biology and medicine. The research in Bioinformatics has rapidly developed recently. Statistics has become more and more important in Bioinformatics, particularly, developing new statistical methods for analysing large data sets.

Bioinformatics has strong impact on human health. Research on DNA copy number is an example. Copy number variations (CNV) are alterations of the DNA of a genome that results in the cell having an abnormal number of copies of one or more sections of the DNA. Some CNVs have been associated with susceptibility or resistance to disease. To accurately estimate CNVs based on copy number information provided by genome sequence is a job for statisticians.

Two popular technologies are used to obtain copy number information from genome sequences. One is the Array-Comparative Genomic Hybridization (aCGH) technology and the other is Next Generation Sequencing technology. The next-generation sequencing technology tends to provide less random noise on copy number observations if the depth of sequencing data is enough. This technology is a potentially powerful alternative to aCGH for identifying genomic structural variations. However, producing sequencing data is expensive currently. Yan-Xia, in her paper, provides an algorithm. By using the algorithm, a data analyser is able to identify a sufficient depth for sequencing data before any sequencing data are produced. A set of sequencing data with the depth will contain sufficient information to ensure the quality of copy number analysis preset b the data analyser. 


Continuing the collaborative agreement between Australian Bureau of Statistics and the University of Wollongong

The collaborative agreement between the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology (CSSM) at the University of Wollongong and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) began in December 2004 and in March 2006 resulted in the appointment of Ray Chambers as the first Professor of Statistical Methodology - a position funded by ABS. The ABS is very pleased to announce that it has signed a new collaborative agreement that extends funding of the position from March 2011 until March 2014.

Since his appointment, Professor Chambers, working together with the Director of CSSM, Professor David Steel, has improved the skills of ABS methodologists, by questioning the status-quo, encouraging innovation, and by encouraging the development of sound and defensible methods. He has achieved this through annual symposia, courses, mentorship, collaborations, workshops and membership of the ABS' Methodology Advisory Committee. In particular, Professor Chambers' leadership in developing methods of analysing data that are probabilistically-linked, an area of strategic importance to ABS, has been particularly beneficial. Frank Yu, head of the ABS's Methodology and Data Management Division believes that the work of the Centre has significantly enhanced the capacity of ABS staff in conducting methodological research and improving the rigour of ABS's methodological design.

While the elements of the new agreement are essentially unchanged, it puts more emphasis on long term collaborations. The first collaborative project is to develop a framework that uses para-data, or data collected during the survey collection process, to improve responses rates. Professor Chambers is continuing to work on analysis of probabilistically-linked data and will also work on likelihood methods for combining data, another area of strategic importance to ABS. A successful symposium on Robust Regression was held on October 2011. The next symposium is scheduled for October 2012 and will cover Analysis of Longitudinal Data. For more information, please contact Dr James Chipperfield on (02) 6252 7301. 


Continuous health information for New Zealand with the help of Wollongong's statistics research strength

University of Wollongong Statisticians will be providing statistical research and advice on the NZ Ministry of Health's population health monitoring surveys. A two-year research contract from 2011-2013 for approximately AUD$200,000 has just been signed, building on successful 2006-2011 collaboration agreements. A/Prof. Robert Clark regularly visits Wellington to collaborate with Ministry researchers.

UOW will be particularly involved in the design and analysis of a new continuous NZ Health Survey. Many countries have national health surveys run every 2 or 3 years as large one-off exercises. NZ Ministry of Health is pioneering an innovative approach where the survey will be continuously in the field, with the possibility of producing statistics as often as quarterly. The new survey, starting in mid 2011, will also save on development and infrastructure costs by avoiding a large setup cost every few years. It will allow particular topics, such as Maori health, to be analysed using data pooled over time, so as to give the best balance of precision and timeliness. Specific question modules, such as problem gambling and alcohol and drug use, will be slotted in and out of the survey over time.

This new contract builds on a theme of collaboration with NZ organisations, including an ARC linkage project with the Ministry of Health and other partners, the conduct of several reviews for the Ministry of Justice, and three research projects funded by Statistics NZ's Official Statistics Research scheme. UOW's Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology also has major contracts and linkage projects with Australian organisations, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW Health, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Rain Corporation and the Australian Market and Social Research Society.

 Link to Ministry of Health New Zealand website.

(Left to Right) Robert Templeton, Principal Technical Specialist, Health and Disability Intelligence Unit NZ and Associate Professor Robert Clar


Associate Professor Robert Clark recently delivered the 2011 Ken Foreman Lecture in Canberra

Associate Professor Robert Clark of UOW's Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology recently delivered the annual invited Ken Forman Lecture, at ABS House in Canberra. This annual invited lecture honours Ken Foreman, who pioneered the use of mathematical statistics in Australian government surveys, including the introduction of sampling (as opposed to censuses which had predominated), and the use of time series analysis of official statistics. The invitation to give this high profile talk was a great honour, particularly as Robert and Professors David Steel and Ray Chambers all benefited from Ken Foreman's legacy, and David and Ray both worked with Ken early in their careers.

Robert spoke on the Art and Science of Sample Design. The sample design is a plan for selecting a sample of units to be surveyed. Choice of a sample design has been expressed mathematically as an optimisation problem, but developing a sampling plan in practice is as much a craft as a science. Complications which need to be considered include balancing multiple objectives, imperfect design information, the practicalities of administering the survey by interview or other means, and incompleteness or inaccuracy of the sampling frame. Some of the current trends in household and business survey sample design were also reviewed. Robert also presented his new research on "data-driven sample designs", which make the most of imprecise design data.

There was a lively discussion led by discussants Alistair Rogers of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Ian McDermid of the Australian National University. The ABS have requested further discussions and a repeat seminar to explore the applicability of this work to ABS sample designs.


Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie Joins CSSM in 2012 

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie is to join the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology in 2012.

Professor Cressie is a world-leading researcher in statistical modelling and analysis of spatial and spatio-temporal data, in Bayesian and empirical-Bayesian methods, and in environmental sciences. The methodology has been applied in areas of "big science", such as remote sensing of the earth on a global scale, regional climate modelling in space and time, and Bayesian statistical exposure modeling from sources to biomarkers. Other research areas include spatial command and control, disease mapping, medical imaging, and ice-stream dynamics.

Noel was born in Fremantle, Western Australia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours in Mathematics from the University of Western Australia and MA and PhD degrees in Statistics from Princeton University.

He is currently Professor of Statistics, Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics at The Ohio State University. He was previously Professor of Statistics and Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences at lowa State University.

Noel is the author of around 250 refereed articles and of three books, including Statistics for Spatial Data, revised edition, 1993.

Professor Cressie is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the Spatial Econometrics Association. He is also an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. Other honours include: being awarded the Distinguished Achievement Medal of ASA's Section on Statistics and the Environment; the Twentieth Century Distinguished Service Award in Environmental Statistics; the Distinguished Scholar Award of The Ohio State University; and the 2009 Fisher Award and Lectureship from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. He is on the Institute for Scientific Information's (ISI) elite list of highly cited researchers.

Director of CSSM, Professor David Steel said "This is a fantastic appointment for us and will continue the development of our strong research capacity in Applied Statistics".

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie Jjoins CSSM in 2012

Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie is to join the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology in 2012.

Professor Cressie is a world-leading researcher in statistical modelling and analysis of spatial and spatio-temporal data, in Bayesian and empirical-Bayesian methods, and in environmental sciences. The methodology has been applied in areas of "big science", such as remote sensing of the earth on a global scale, regional climate modelling in space and time, and Bayesian statistical exposure modeling from sources to biomarkers. Other research areas include spatial command and control, disease mapping, medical imaging, and ice-stream dynamics.

Noel was born in Fremantle, Western Australia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours in Mathematics from the University of Western Australia and MA and PhD degrees in Statistics from Princeton University.

He is currently Professor of Statistics, Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics at The Ohio State University. He was previously Professor of Statistics and Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences at lowa State University.

Noel is the author of around 250 refereed articles and of three books, including Statistics for Spatial Data, revised edition, 1993.

Professor Cressie is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the Spatial Econometrics Association. He is also an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. Other honours include: being awarded the Distinguished Achievement Medal of ASA's Section on Statistics and the Environment; the Twentieth Century Distinguished Service Award in Environmental Statistics; the Distinguished Scholar Award of The Ohio State University; and the 2009 Fisher Award and Lectureship from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. He is on the Institute for Scientific Information's (ISI) elite list of highly cited researchers.

Director of CSSM, Professor David Steel said: "This is a fantastic appointment for us and will continue the development of our strong research capacity in Applied Statistics".


Professor Ray Chambers works with Australian Rain Technologies in addressing current issues of water shortage and climate change

Since 2009, Professor Ray Chambers has been working with Australian Rain Technologies on research aimed at developing an economically effective and environmentally friendly process for increasing the amount of rain that falls across Australia. The ATLANT technology uses an array to generate negatively charged ions which are then, via wind uplift, transferred to the cloud layer, with the aim of encouraging the creation of negatively charged particles and eventually the formation of rain droplets. If successful, the technology will provide low cost and low energy rain enhancement at target locations around Australia. Since it is impossible to directly measure the extent of droplet formation in clouds due to the presence of the charged ions, Ray's role has been to use Statistical methods to indirectly measure the degree of success of the project by assessing the increase in actual rainfall following operation of ATLANT. His work has led to the development of new non-parametric bootstrapping techniques for spatio-temporal rainfall data that have so far shown a 90% chance of increased rainfall, with an estimated average 10% increase, in three successive annual trials of ATLANT near Adelaide.

Please view the video of the work Ray has conducted.

Australian Rain Technologies have also created a presentation, which includes segments of Ray's video


Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry

Professor Brian Cullis has recently been awarded funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation for the project titled "Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry". This project involves six collaborating organisations, including the University of Wollongong (the lead agency), the University of Western Australia, Charles Sturt University, The University of Adelaide, Agri-Science Queensland (DEEDI) and the Centre for Mathematics Informatics and Statistics (CSIRO). Commencing in July 2011, the project is for a period of five years and involves a total of 17 Statisticians. The major themes and outputs include: Industry Liaison and training which aims to increase statistical competency and awareness of statistical principles of personnel involved in the Australian Grains Industry; Research and Collaborative Projects which aims to ensure "best practice" statistics for Australian grains industry research through the GRDC portfolio of projects and will strive to improve the cost-efficiency of research and enhance industry confidence and adoption of research findings and finally Software Development and Implementation which will develop robust, user friendly and cutting edge statistical software solutions.


How do we account for multilevel populations and social networks in the analysis of social statistics?

CSSM  combined with the Centre of Census and Survey Research (CSSR) at the University of Manchester conducted a workshop on the role of individuals, households, geographical groups and social networks in social statistics. The workshop was held in Manchester, April 19th - 20th 2011, and is part of a research project funded jointly by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the Australian Research Council. The role of households, neighbourhoods and networks in social statistics.

Papers presented were:

Estimating disclosure risks for socially networked individuals in multilevel populations - Mark Elliot, CCSR, University of Manchester.

Methods for accounting for social network dependencies in multilevel populations: models and results - Mark Tranmer, CCSR, University of Manchester.

Using social network information in survey estimation - Thomas Suesse and Ray Chambers, CSSM, University of Wollongong.

Dealing with household dependencies in the analysis of social survey data - Thomas Suesse, David Steel and Robert Clark, CSSM, University of Wollongong.


International expert, Dr Pamela Campanelli to present a two-day short course

The Sydney Business School and The Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology are offering a two-day course on Instrument Design and Testing. Dr Pamela Campanelli for the UK will be presenting the course. Dr Pamela Camanelli is a survey methodologist and charted statistician with a background in social statistics, survey methodology, and psychology from the University of Michigan and the London School of Economics. She has worked on large-scale surveys at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, the Centre for Survey Methods Research at the U.S. Bureau of Census, and the UK Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex. Most recently she was a Research Director at the Survey Methods Centre at the National Centre for Social Research, London.

To read more information about the course and to obtain a registration form, please visit our webpage CSSM Seminar and Events


Symposium held to honour Dr Ken Brewer

The Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology and the Canberra Branch of the Statistical Society of Australia Inc, organised a symposium to honour Dr Ken Brewer on the occasion of his 80th Birthday. The event was held at ANU in Canberra and attended by over 50 people. The meeting recognised the significant contributions to the discipline and profession of Statistics in Australia and Internationally that Ken has made over a career spanning 60 years. We had four speakers who all presented aspects of their current research that build on the major contributions to statistical methodology and inference that Ken has made in his long and distinguished career. Further details of the event and previous meetings can be found out our webpage Fellows Research Meeting.

ken 80th


New staff members welcomed

cssm new staff 2011
CSSM new staff members left to right: Dr Arthur Gilmore; Dr Mark Fielding; Dr Carole Birrell; Dr Marijka Batterham and Professor Brian Cullis

The Centre welcomes the following new staff members - Dr Mark Fielding and Dr Carole Birrell as new Lecturers, Dr Marijka Batterham as the new Director, Statistical Consulting Services; Professor Brian Cullis as Professor of Biometry and Dr Arthur Gilmore as Principal Research Fellow. 

Further information on each member is available on our people page.


Professor Ray Chambers follows footsteps of outstanding survey researchers....

Ray Chambers presented at the 2011 Distinguished Lecture in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland on 7 April. In doing so, he has followed in the footsteps of outstanding survey researchers like Eleanor Singer, Paul Biemer, Rod Little, Colm O'Muircheartaighs, Chris Skinner, Jon Krosnick, Alastair Scott, J.N.K Rao, and Nora Cate Schaeffer. His topic was "Combining Data for Inference". More information can be read here.


Fourth annual ASEARC Conference successfully delivered

The Fourth ASEARC Conference was held at the University of Western Sydney Parramatta campus from 17-18 February 2011. The conference covered a variety of areas including inference, education, application and involved over 60 delegates from a number of Universities, as well as Government, private and overseas organisations.

This is the fourth conference in a series. ASEARC's ongoing aims are to promote and support the collaboration between Universities concerning education, research and related activities such as involving technology, mentoring and consultancy services.


PhD student presents at annual International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Jinda K

Jinda Kongcharoen, a PhD student supervised by Associate Professor Yan-Xia Lin has recently had a refereed paper accepted by the Annual International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology BICB 2011 and published in the conference proceedings. The conference will be held at Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore from 28 February - 1 March 2011. Congratulations Jinda!


Elected to the Board of the American Statistical Association (ASA)

Ray Chambers has been elected to the Board of the American Statistical Association (ASA). He will serve as International Representative on the ASA Board for 2011-2013. His responsibilities as International Representative of the ASA will be to participate in the Board of Directors meetings, providing when appropriate, an international perspective on the items being discussed, and to represent all the non-North American members of ASA worldwide.


New grant for 2011-2013

Ray Chambers has been awarded a Discovery Program grant for 2011-2013 to carry out research on "Likelihood-Based Approach to Combined Surveys Inference". This project will focus on the development of statistical theory for efficient integration of information across multiple complex sample surveys. It will develop theory and methodology that will answer complex questions about relationships between important social, economic and health related variables that are presently measured in separate surveys.

ARC grant success

Congratulation to Professor Ray Chambers and Professor Matt Wand who both were successful in this round (2011) of Discovery grants. The University of Wollongong won 25 ARC Discovery grants, placing the University 5th (out of 11) in NSW and 11th (out of 35) nationwide.

ray chambers3

Ray Chambers (left) has been awarded an ARC Discovery project grant for 2011 - 2013 to carry out research on the topic "A Likelihood-Based Approach To Combined Surveys Inference". This project will focus on the development of statistical theory for efficient integration of information across multiple complex sample surveys. In particular, it will develop theory and methodology that will answer complex questions about relationships between important social, economic and health related variables that are presently measured in separate surveys.

Matthew Wand

Matt Wand (right) will gear up statisticians to meet challenges brought about by rapid technological change in the 2010s and beyond.

It will produce new methodology and theory for fast and flexible analysis of large and complex data sets. 


 

Visit by Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie

Dr Cressie is Professor of Statistics, Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics at The Ohio State University.

Dr Cressie visited UoW and CSSM in October and held a Public Seminar - Statistical Science: A Tale of Two Unkowns (abstract).


PhD scholarship opportunity

The Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology is offering a full-time PhD Scholarship for 3 years. The successful applicant will undertake research on statistical quantitative genetics, which aims to link phenotypic variation for complex traits to its underlying genetic basis in order to better understand and predict change within agricultural systems. Applications close 17 October 2010. Find more details.


 

New staff appointment Professor Brian Cullis

Brian Cullis

Professor Brian Cullis joined the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology in July in the newly created position of Professor in Biometry. This position involves a partnership with CSIRO and the Grains Research Development Corporation, who have made a significant commitment to creating a strong future for Biometrics in Australia.

Prof Cullis joins us after over 30 years with NSW Department of Primary Industry, where he was Research Leader, Biometrics and Senior Principal Research Scientist.

Brian is a distinguished statistician and researcher with over 130 papers in statistical and scientific journals, who will lead the further development of Biometrics at UoW. This appointment will add significantly to our already strong research capacity in CSSM.

UoW Media release titled, " UoW and CSIRO join forces to ensure future viability of biometry" was announces 23 August 2010. Read more about the media release.

Welcome Professor Cullis.


 

Honours scholarships available

The Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology (CSSM) and the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications (IMIA) at the University of Wollongong are pleased to offer three honours scholarships — one each in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics — for students commencing in Spring Session 2010.
The scholarships are to the value of $4000 for internal applicants or $6000 for external applicants to be paid as two lump sums, one at the beginning of Spring session 2010, and the other at the beginning of Autumn session 2011 (subject to satisfactory academic progress).

Successful candidates will have an opportunity to pursue an honours research program in an active area of mathematical research. Topics are available across a broad range of mathematical areas, and prospective candidates are encouraged to contact researchers within the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics to discuss possible projects.

To apply, please forward a CV and an academic transcript by mail to 
Dr Aidan Sims 
School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics 
University of Wollongong NSW 2522

or by email to asims@uow.edu.au by no later than the 30 June 2010.  


 

Graduate Program in Survey Research Methods

The Centre (CSSM) has teamed up with the Sydney Business School (SBS) to provide a program in Survey Research Methods. The Graduate Program in Survey Research Methods will provide up-to-date and high quality education in survey methodology and research and the foundations for the development of professionals in survey and research. This program will suit a wide variety of careers involving developing, conducting or analysing survey data to provide evidence in social, market, business and health research.

For more information download the brochure below or alternative contact Anica Damcevski

Click here to download Graduate Program Course brochure

Graduate Program in Survey Research Methods

The Centre (CSSM) has teamed up with the Sydney Business School (SBS) to provide a program in Survey Research Methods. The Graduate Program in Survey Research Methods will provide up-to-date and high quality education in survey methodology and research and the foundations for the development of professionals in survey and research. This program will suit a wide variety of careers involving developing, conducting or analysing survey data to provide evidence in social, market, business and health research.

For more information download the brochure below or alternative contact Anica Damcevski.

Click here to download Graduate Program Course brochure.


Professor Ray Chambers's presidency 

Ray Chambers

Professor Ray Chambers has been elected president of the International Association of Survey Statisticians (IASS). The IASS is the top international professional body for people working in sample surveys and censuses. It has strong membership from academic statisticians and statisticians working in government and industry. It also takes a special interest in raising the profile of survey methods in developing countries. 

Congratulation Ray on this significant achievement.


UOW statistics student, Richard White, is off to Harvard 

Richard White a current School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics student, has been accepted into Harvard University's Department of Biostatistics.

This is one of the world's great statistical groups and is located in a major epicentre of medical and public health research in Boston. In addition, Richard will have full funding from a prestigious Knox Fellowship.

Richard is just 19 but is about to complete an Honours in Statistics degree and will then move to the US to take up the fellowship.

Congratulations and best wishes to Richard on his incredible achievement.


Research strength showcase series - "Statisticians: what are they up to?"

The Research Strength lecture series provides an opportunity to showcase the research conducted within each of UOW's Research strengths, and introduce the researchers involved to the general campus and community. 

Professor David Steel will present at the second scheduled lecture on Wednesday 8th April, and will discuss a range of issues that the researchers within the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology are tackling.

David Steel

NSW Scientist of the Year Award (Mathematical Sciences Category)- Professor Matt Wand  

Professor Matt Wand was honoured at a ceremony held at Government House in Sydney, winning a NSW Scientist of the Year Award in the category of Mathematical Sciences. 

The NSW Scientist of the Year Awards were established to recognise and reward the state's leading researchers for cutting edge work that generates economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for NSW.

Congratulations to Professor Matt Wand on receiving the Award.(September 2008)

matt wand award

Distinguished visitors

CSSM will be visited by and have talks delivered by two COPSS - Awardee Statisticians during the month of July. The COPSS Award is the most prestigious one in the field of Statistics. The visitors and dates are: Professor Ray Carroll, Texas A&M University, 1-3 July and Professor Xiao-Li Meng, Harvard University, 29 July. 


Research achievements

Professor David Steel and Dr Anne Porter were recently recognised for their research activities.

Professor David Steel was a recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence in Research Awards for 2008. Highly Commended in the Outstanding Achievement in Research Partnership Award. This award recognises the outstanding contributions that David and his research team and their partners at the Australian Bureau of Statistics are making towards research excellence.

Senior ABS Research Managers meet with CSSM


Vice Chancellor Prof Gerard Sutton, Prof David Steel and Mr Geoffrey Lee (ABS)

 

Dr Anne Porter - A Carrick Grant (now renamed to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council) for a project entitled "Building Leadership Capacity for Development and Sharing of Mathematics Learning Resources across Disciplines and Universities".

 

Honour for Matt Wand

Professor Matthew Wand has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, in recognition of his internationally known work in semiparametric statistics and statistical analysis for flow cytometry.

His election to the Academy is an honour that is awarded for a career that has significantly advanced, and continues to advance, the world's scientific knowledge. (March 2008)

 

 

 

Linkage grant success

Professor David Steel, Professor Ray Chambers and Dr Robert Clark, Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology, University of Wollongong and Dr Mark Tranmer and Dr Mark Elliot of the Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester received a grant under the Linkage International Social Sciences Collaboration between the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council, with combined funding of $390,000.

Their collaborative project aims to develop methods to better determine the impact of household structures and other groups/social networks on unemployment, poverty, educational attainment, crime victimisation and poor health. The improved ability to assess the impact of these factors will have economic and social benefits. These benefits will arise from improved analysis leading to better decisions and improvements in the design of research studies improving their cost-efficiency.

Only seven grants were funded nationally. (March 2008)


2008 statistics NZ's overseas visitors programme and NZSA's visiting lecturer series

Statistics New Zealand and the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) are pleased to announce that Professor Raymond Chambers, will be participating in the Statistics NZ's Overseas Visitors Programme and NZSA's Visiting Lecturer Series. This is a new initiative largely driven by Statistics NZ with the purpose of bringing an eminent and international official Statistician to the country. Professor Chambers will visit with Statistics NZ, and various university statistics departments and NZSA chapters to present research and to spur discussion and interest. He will be in New Zealand for three weeks in March and April to lecture on a range of topics from his work in small area estimation to measurement error in auxiliary information. Professor Chambers will meet with the following: Statistics NZ (Christchurch and Wellington offices), Canterbury University (Christchurch), Otago University (Dunedin), Victory University of Wellington, Massey University (Palmerston North), University of Auckland, and Wellington Statistics Group.

Annual Statistical Science Lecture

in the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics

Statistical Science is the science of uncertainty. More specifically, it is the principled collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, taking into account the uncertainties within and between each of these steps. A critical component of excellent science is the ability to weigh evidence appropriately – statistical thinking lies at the heart of this. The annual Statistical Science Lecture showcases the interdisciplinarity and key role a statistical scientist plays in extracting scientific knowledge from data in the presence of uncertainty.

The inaugural Statistical Science Lecture (SSL) was given in 2018 and is an annual event made possible by a philanthropic donation to the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics (SMAS), University of Wollongong.

The 2020 Statistical Science Lecturer

Sally Cripps
Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Sally Cripps is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics and Director of the ARC Centre in Data Analytics for Resources and Environments (DARE Centre), at the University of Sydney. Sally’s research focus is the development of new and novel probabilistic models which are motivated by the need to solve an applied problem with the potential for impact. She has particular expertise in the use of mixture models for complex phenomena, modelling longitudinal data, nonparametric regression, the spectral analysis of time series, and the construction of transition kernels in MCMC schemes that efficiently explore posterior distributions of interest. Sally is also Chair of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis’ section, Bayesian Education and Research in Practice.


Statistical Science Lecture given on 18 November 2020:

Zen and the Art of Bayesian Geology/Hydrology/Ecology

 

    2020 lecture: Sally Cripps

    Noel Cressie, Sally Cripps  

    Professor Cripps with UOW Students

The 2019 Statistical Science Lecturer

Peter J Diggle
Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University and Health Data Research UK

Peter Diggle is a Distinguished University Professor of Statistics in the Centre for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics, a teaching and research group within the Lancaster Medical School at Lancaster University working at the interface of statistics, epidemiology, and health informatics. Peter is also Director of Training at Health Data Research UK, working with academic institutions across the UK to draw up a training strategy that builds on existing best practice to create a programme that will transform the careers of future leaders in data science on a national scale. He holds adjunct positions at the Johns Hopkins University, Yale and Columbia Universities, and he was President of the Royal Statistical Society between July 2014 and December 2016.


Statistical Science Lecture given on 06 November 2019:

A Tale of Two Parasites: statistical science to support disease control programmes in Africa

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    2019 lecture: Peter Diggle  

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    Peter Diggle, V-C Paul Wellings, Noel Cressie   

The 2018 Statistical Science Lecturer

Renate Meyer
Professor, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Renate Meyer is a Professor in the Department of Statistics at The University of Auckland, with research interests in applied Bayesian inference and MCMC methods. In particular, her research areas comprise time series analysis with applications in astrophysics (gravitational waves), state-space modelling in ecology, multivariate modelling using copulas, survival analysis in medical statistics, and stochastic volatility models for financial time series.


Statistical Science Lecture given on 31 October 2018:

Surfing Gravitational Waves: Black holes and Bayesian nonparametrics

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    Noel Cressie, Renate Meyer 

    SMAS morning tea with Renate Meyer

NIASRA Vacancies

NIASRA will advertise vacancies for different positions and roles from time to time. These will be available on the UOW Vacancies page.

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