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Statistics the dream job!

... with data in huge supply and statisticians in short supply, being a statistician has to be 'the really sexy job ...




News and events

Good statistical practice is an essential component of good scientific practice...

The American Statistical Association has released a statement on statistical significance and p -values, and...

see here for 5 Tips For Avoiding P-Value Potholes | Absolutely Maybe

...and some scary stuff: Cargo-cult statistics and scientific crisis

Congratulations to BCA graduates - May 2019


The Health and Medical Sciences graduation ceremony for the School of Public Health at The University of Adelaide saw three of our very talented Master of Biostatistics students graduating.

Dr Peter Ricci who has a previous PhD in Statistics has been working at the Australian Taxation Office for a number of years where he has implemented much of his learning into practice as a statistical modeller and data scientist. He is now also continuing to engage in his passion for research with colleagues at The University of Adelaide with a special interest in behavioural and predictive modelling in both the psychological and medical sciences, including applications in research into Type 1 diabetes.

Kelly Hall who has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science is now working on statistical analysis and data management for the Genetic Epidemiology and Precision Medicine research group led by Professor Lyle Palmer.  Current areas of focus include managing medical imaging data for deep learning projects and genetic epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnoea.

Dr Greer Humphrey who has a previous PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering and is now working in the BetterStart Child Health and Development research group within the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide. The BetterStart group is led by Professor John Lynch and consists of researchers with interests in early childhood health and development. Her current role involves using linked data sources to analyse contact with the child protection system and the associated risk factors and outcomes.

In recognition of Greer’s outstanding academic record, she was elected the role of valedictorian in this graduation ceremony and gave an inspiring speech.

Congratulations to our three biostatistics super stars who will no doubt continue to make valuable life-long contributions to research and practice.

The Statistical Society of Australia has awarded the 2019 President’s Award for Leadership in Statistics to the BCA

BCAlogoThis award is for the BCA’s outstanding contribution to statistics

based on their sustained work since 2001 to provide Australia with much needed skills in

biostatistics, which includes research in genetics, clinical trials and public health ....more




Congratulations to graduates!


...upon receiving their Master of Biostatistics (2018).

L and R: Dr Linda Gowing and Ms Rowena Burch (Master of Biostatistics, University of Adelaide)

Centre: Dr Amy Salter, Program Coordinator, Biostatistics, University of Adelaide


Outreach takes statistics to Fiji

Fijian community leaders are being empowered to take ownership of health and social issues within their communities, with the help of a Macquarie statistician and BCA member, Prof Gillian Heller.

Gillian recently visited the Viseisei Sai Health Centre in Fiji, where she conducted a data analysis workshop for staff involved in the pilot project ‘Collective Community Ownership of Health and Social Issues

SSA Career Centre

The Statistical Society of Australia hosts a Career Centre where you can advertise job openings for statisticians and data analysts, post your own resume and read other people’s resume? Our job board had over 3000 views this last month. It currently advertises 7 recently posted jobs (plus many more from other web sources) and hosts 76 live resumes posted by job seekers.

SAFE ARRIVALS - my Cambodian experience

In December 2017, Dr Amy Salter (BCA program coordinator, University of Adelaide) volunteered to support the ‘safe arrivals’ pilot project, which aims to reduce the appalling maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in Cambodia through a sustainable model of care.

Read more about this inspiring project...

BIOSTATISTICS best graduate degree for jobs

Congratulations to Dr Amanda Wright

Amanda has been awarded a Scholarship for 2016 from the Austalasian Region of the International Biometrics Society .

IBS Scholarships

Amanda is a BCA student studying the Masters of Medical Statistics at the University of Newcastle.

International community health, 'Love All, Serve All'

in November 2014, BCA Chair A/Prof Gillian Heller, conducted a 10 day training workshop in data management and statistical analysis, in collaboration with the Viseisei Sai Health Centre Trust in Fiji.

Prof Heller taught the team and analysed the research data on, knowledge and practice of, and, attitudes and barriers to, cervical cancer screening tests, contraceptive use (family planning) and safe sex among rural women in the province of Ba, Fiji...more

Biostatistician has key
role in medical research team...

Joseph Descallar completed his Master of Biostatistics
at the Unversity of Sydney in 2011

Biostatistician Joseph Descallar says it's quite common for him to encounter others who have misconceptions about what he actually does for a living. They regularly assume his job involves spending all day sitting down crunching numbers, he adds.

"But there's actually a lot of reading and writing and presenting involved as well," Descallar says. "And a lot of what we do is learning how to communicate some of the results we find." Descallar is a biostatistician at not-for-profit medical research organisation Ingham Institute. He advises Ingham's cancer, brain injury and orthopaedics researchers on the best study designs to adopt to analyse the data they need crunched to complete their research.
Read more

Recent articles of interest

Did big data kill the statistician?

Statistics and computer science

Congratulations to Dr Natalie Thorne who has been awarded a Hugh Rogers Fellowship by the the Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association.

Natalie is the Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics Project Manager for the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance based at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute. 
She is co-coordinator of the BCA unit, Bioinformatics.

The purpose of the Fellowships is to encourage and support innovative people and ideas by funding research and projects that expand and enhance Melbourne's and Boston's reputations as centres of knowledge excellence in the three areas of research.

Congratulations to graduates

MQ grad 2016

2016: Flora Kan, Master of Biostatistics, Macquarie University and Prof Gillian Heller

Sydney grads 2016

2016: L to R: Fiona Telfer (M/Bios), Florian Honeyball (M/Bios), Judy Simpson, James Leung (M/Bios), Armando Teixeira-Pinto, Nicole dela Mata (M/Bios) - University of Sydney

University of Sydney Graduation Ceremony May 2014
Graduates: Master of Biostatistics; and NSW Ministry of Health Biostatistical Training Officer Program. L to R: Victoria Pye, Mark Greenaway, Danushka Fox

University of Sydney Graduation Ceremony May 2013
L to R: Renee Iannotti, Cathy Lee, Alistair Merrifield, Prof Judy Simpson, Stuart Purdie,
Tim Harrold, Tracie Reinten

Maurizio Manuguerra

Congratulations to Dr Maurizio Manuguerra who has won a Vice-Chancellor's Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

Maurizio is a Lecturer in the Department of Statistics at Macquarie University. He also teaches the Mathematical Background to Biostatistics subject in Semester 2, for the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia. Oct 2012

Annette Dobson

Congratulations to Prof Annette Dobson who has been awarded the 2012 Moyal Medal for her contributions to Statistics.

Annette is Professor of Biostatistics at the School of Population Health, University of Queensland and Director of the Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Research. The Centre includes the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health and the Centre of Research Excellence in Women's Health in the 21st Century. She is also closely involved in the Deployment Health Surveillance Program conducted by the Centre for Military and Veterans' Health. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for her service to public health and biostatistics both as a researcher and as an academic.

Annette has a passion for the education of professional biostatisticians and has been an energetic member of the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia since its inception in 2000 when she was the inaugural Chair. She is the program coordinator for the postgraduate biostatistics (BCA) program at the University of Queensland, sits on BCA Steering and Teaching Committees and co-coordinates Clinical Biostatistics, and Categorical Data and Generalised Linear Models.October 2012


John Carlin Andrew Forbes

Launch of ViCBiostat (Victorian Centre for Biostatistics)

BCA members at the University of Melbourne and Monash University have received an NHMRC grant for funding over five years to establish a Centre of Research Excllence.

Chief Investigators
are Prof John Carlin, University of Melbourne: (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit [CEBU] Murdoch Children's Research Institute; and Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic & Analytic [MEGA] Epidemiology, School of Population Health; and Coordinator, Postgraduate Biostatistics [BCA] Program) and Prof Andrew Forbes, Monash University: (Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Research Methodology Division; and Coordinator, Postgraduate Biostatistics [BCA] Program). Oct 2011

VICBiostat investigators

Lyle Gurrin

Julie Simpson Rory Wolfe Michael Coory

Andrew, John, Lyle and Rory developed and deliver units of study in the BCA progragram.

Congratulations Ben!

Ben Cheah who completed his Master of Biostatistics in 2010 is one of 26 talented Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

"Through his Fulbright fellowship, Ben will spend twelve months in the Department of Biostatistics, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland conducting statistical research with relevance to MND in the hope of furthering our understanding of this complex disease." More...

In 2010 Ben was awarded the 2010 Pfizer Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia Award for Excellence. See Ben's BCA testimonial.


Statisticians in top 5 jobs in US!

A US survey of best and worst jobs puts statisticians in the top five alongside mathematicians, actuaries and software engineers...


Statistics: the Dream Job!

Presentation by Hal Varian - Chief Economist, Google, to the 2008 Almaden Institute, Innovating with Information.

"... with data in huge supply and statisticians in short supply, being a statistician has to be 'the really sexy job for the 2010s'".

See alsos:
For Today's Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics

Jan 2010: Professor Annette Dobson named Member of the Order of Australia

Annette Dobson, BCA Program Coordinator at the School of Population Health, University of Queensland, was honoured in the 2010 Australia Day list of honours for her work in public health.

19 January 2010: Study finds partnererd women gain more weight

A study co-authored by Annette Dobson, which found that women with a partner gained more weight than those without a partner or child, was featured in the New York Times.

The study, which has surveyed more than 6,000 women over a 10 year period, is aimed at assessing factors contributing to weight gain in young women.

Source: The University of Queensland School of Population Health

Read the New York Times article
Read the full paper

6 April 2010: G08 Report signals maths education in decline


A report entitled Review of Education in Mathematics, Data Science and Quantitative Disciplines, compiled by the Group of 8 universities (Go8) and released earlier this month,found that the Australian education system faced a potential 'maths crisis'.

The Go8 found that the state of the mathematical and quantitative sciences in Australia has “deteriorated to a dangerous level, and continues to deteriorate”.

According to a contributor to the Go8’s review, Chief of CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics Dr Louise Ryan (pictured), the findings are sobering. “For Australia to be at the forefront of science and business, we need to do more to increase the nation’s output of talented young people in the mathematical sciences.”

Read the Australian on Australia's maths crisis.

8 March 2010: BCA community page

Click here for information about statistical societies, research and job opportunities.

11 January 2010: Statistical Society of Australia Accrediation

The BCA Master and (Post)Graduate Dilpoma courses are accredited by the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI).

SSAI accrediation gives BCA Masters and (Post)Graduate Diploma graduates from BCA consortium universites automatic status as a Graduate Statistician when they apply to the Society for acdreditaion. For prospective students, this guarantees that the course they are choosing is recognised across Australia.

Find out more about accreditation by the Statistical Society of Australia .

"Growing our own biostatisticians", The Age 29 June 2009


Sue Goss reports on the role of the BCA in training biostatisticians for the workforce.

Download "Growing our own biostatisticians"

29 June 2009: Biostatistics Demand Survey 2009

biostatistics demand survey


In 2009, the BCA commissioned a survey of current and potential employers of biostatisticians in order to assess the demand for biostatisticians in the Australian workforce. Read the results below.

Download the Biostatistics Demand Survey

BCA Student Testimonials

Read about the experiences of BCA graduates and current students

BCA Published Papers


Heller, Gillian Z; Forbe Andrew B; Jobing, Erica; Dear Keith B.G; Biostatistics @ Distance: A Model for Successful Multi-Institutional Delivery, The American Statistician, November 2008, Vol. 62, No. 4.

Although biostatistical work is threaded throughout health research, the health and medical sectors of higher education have not historically provided sufficient support to professional biostatistical training. Many graduates of Master of Public Health programs and Master’s or Graduate Diploma courses in epidemiology acquire the skills to perform a range of statistical analysis, but these skills are necessarily limited to a basic level. In an era of ever-growing complexity of data and of modeling approaches, these generic skills need to be backed up by professional biostatistical expertise.

Download the paper

Simpson, Judy; Ryan; Philip; Carlin, John; Gurrin, Lyle; Marschner, Ian; Training a New Generation of Biostatisticians: A Successful Consortium Model; Journal of Statistics Education, Volume 17, Number 2 (2009)

In response to the worldwide shortage of biostatisticians, Australia has established a national consortium of eight universities to develop and deliver a Masters program in biostatistics. This article describes our successful innovative multi-institutional training model, which may be of value to other countries. We first present the issues confronting the future of biostatistics in Australia, then relate our experience in establishing a new national consortium-based Masters program, and finally explore the extent to which our initiatives have addressed the current challenges of biostatistics workforce shortages.

Download the paper

Workshops, conferences and short courses

Click here for information about past workshops, conference sessions and short courses and, where available, presentations from past events.

Associated Links
Links to associated websites and information.



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