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Monthly Archives: October 2017

REVIEW: Research Funding Workshop – RSS Conference 2017

Successful funding applicants and experienced members of funding committee shared their tips and secrets during this Professional Development session, organised by the Young Statistician’s Section. Presenter slides for the session can be found by clicking the links below.


The session began with Dr Alison Ramage, a successful fellowship applicant and Research Director in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde, speaking about tips for choosing the right funder, writing grant proposals and what reviewers are looking for.

Some tips on writing grant proposals – Alison Ramage

The session continued with Professor Jim Norman, senior group leader at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and CRUK Pioneer Award Funding committee member, speaking about the Pioneer Award, a high risk funding scheme which also brings high reward. Further information can be found on the Cancer Research website.

Cancer Research UK Pioneer Award – Jim Norman

The final speaker of the session was Dr Jim Lewsley, University of Glasgow and member of the Health Improvement, Protection and Services Research Committee at the Chief Scientist Office. Jim reflected upon research funding application processes and what committees are looking for in a good application, a good project and a good candidate.

Research funding – CSO HIPS perspective – Jim Lewsey

The session closed with a panel discussion where the three speakers shared further tips and secrets, with a reminder to not be discouraged if your research funding application is unsuccessful. Often luck is involved so try, try again!

ANNOUNCEMENT – RSS2017 Pub Quiz now online!

The YSS were delighted to host the Pub Quiz night at this year’s RSS 2017 conference in Glasgow. The Quiz took place on Wednesday evening at the quaint and quirky Bar Home.

We had a tremendous turn-out, with 16 teams competing for a range of prizes and enjoying free drinks, thanks to very generous sponsorship from ATASS Sports.

The quiz comprised of six rounds on general knowledge, animated films, 21st century events, music, human anatomy and Scottish trivia. If you fancy having a go at the quiz, simply click on THIS LINK to bring up the pdf of questions!

Congratulations to our winning teams; “Bayesian Baked Beans” for best team name, “The Proclaimers” for claiming victory in the tie breaker, and “The Random Errors” the well deserved runners up.

RSS Conference Reviews

Each year the YSS join other sections, Fellows, and members of the Royal Statistical Society at the RSS International Conference. This year the record-breaking conference was held in Glasgow on the 4th – 7th September.

The YSS held a competition for conference delegates to review the conference. The prize of 3 x £100 book vouchers was generously provided by Wiley.

Congratulations to Laura Bonnett, Altea Lorenzo-Arribas, and Emily Granger, our winning reviewers!

Those who were unable to attend the event, who were not able to register due to the conference selling out, or who want to find out what all of the fuss is about can have a look through all of the submitted reviews at

Not just a statistics conference – a review by Laura Bonnett (WINNER)

Any preconceptions I had that the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Conference would be too broad to be useful were quickly transformed during my attendance at this year’s event in Glasgow. Although the conference does programme parallel sessions related to specific streams such as social, environmental and official statistics, the real strength of the agenda, in my opinion, lies in the general streams such as communicating statistics, and professional development.
Despite the variation in experience of the attendees I am confident everyone would have gained from talks relating to promoting statistical literacy, presenting statistical results, and using social media to communicate statistics. This was particularly evidenced by the audience for the Young Statisticians Section and RSS Education Committee’s joint session entitled STEM Showcase. Following a demonstration of activities being developed to engage the next generation of statisticians and scientists, panellists fielded questions from PhD students and post-docs through to eminent statisticians such as Professors David Spiegelhalter, Sheila Bird and Stephen Senn.
I believe that as statisticians we have a duty to inspire the next generation, and to engage the public with our subject. This year’s RSS conference certainly inspired many, and provided the skills to do just that!

Poster Session – a review by Altea Lorenzo-Arribas (WINNER)

Poster Review

Professional development: Get Involved! – a review by Emily Granger (WINNER)

Along with a variety of stimulating statistical talks, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Conference hosted numerous professional development sessions. Collectively, these sessions offered inspiring advice for statisticians of any sector, at any stage of their career. For me, one of the most interesting sessions was ‘Get Involved’.
Three impressive speakers included Emanuele Giorgi who spoke passionately about his experiences in Africa teaching statistics to students from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Karen Facey described various ways to get involved with the RSS and Laura Bonnett shared her experiences as a STEM Ambassador inspiring young people to consider STEM-related careers.
Laura’s talk peaked my interest. I have recently become a STEM Ambassador, but find the prospect of going into a school to inspire young people with statistics fairly daunting! However, Laura demonstrated how achievable this is by describing a number of tried and tested statistical activities. One example included using dice to show people that they are not as random as they might think!
The session left me more confident in my role as a STEM Ambassador and with new ideas for involvement with AIMS and RSS. Overall, these were three brilliant and motivating talks.

REVIEW: Young Statisticians Meeting, YSM, Keele University (27th – 28th July 2017)

The Young Statisticians Meeting (YSM) is an annual event specifically designed for, and organised by, career-young statisticians. This year the conference took place at Keele University, on the 27th and 28th of July, with a fantastic programme of keynote speakers, delegate presentations, a poster session, and an evening social.

The two-day conference offers a fantastic opportunity for early-career statisticians and students to present their research in a friendly environment, network amongst peers, and discover the diverse range of areas that statistics may be applied to.

The plenary sessions provided insights into the fields of sports analytics (Prof Ian McHale), data visualisation (Prof Julius Sim), official statistics (Dr Gary Brown), and data science (Dr Aimee Gott). A wide range of delegate talks covered a variety of applications including clinical trial, genetics, meta-analysis, statistical theory, and public health.

The highlight of the conference was the conference dinner and ceilidh at the picturesque Keele Hall, a brilliant ice-breaker!

The conference closed with the awarding of the RSS sponsored prizes for best presentations and poster. Congratulations once again to Usama Ali, Katie O’Farrell, Kathryn Leeming, and Abigail Higgins.


REVIEW: Survival Analysis for Junior Researchers Conference, Leicester (5th – 6th April 2017)


On the 5th – 6th April 2017, the University of Leicester hosted the sixth annual Survival Analysis for Junior Researchers conference.  The two-day conference, which originated in Leicester, was aimed at early career researchers with an interest in analysis of time-to-event data, and related topics such as multi-state models.

The conference programme included invited talks from keynote speakers Dr Nick Latimer (University of Sheffield), Dr Therese Andersson (Karolinska Institutet) and Prof Per Kragh Andersen (University of Copenhagen), as well as a contributed talks and a poster session.  The attendees’ talks covered a wide range of topics including multi state modelling, flexible parametric modelling and computational methods.  During the conference, participants were also treated to a conference dinner and evening social at the renowned Chutney Ivy Restaurant and Bar.   The conference concluded with a talk from a committee member of the Young Statisticians Section (YSS), and a career development talk delivered by Dr Laura Gray.

The conference was interesting and engaging, and was a perfect event for career young statisticians to present their research and network with a group of like-minded career young researchers in their field of work.

Next years meeting will be held on 24 – 26 April 2018 in Leiden, the Netherlands, further information can be found at

REVIEW: Predictions within Sport: a joint meeting of the RSS Merseyside Group and Young Statisticians Section and live broadcast

On 11th October 2017, the RSS Merseyside local group and the RSS Young Statisticians Section hosted a meeting on ‘Predictions within Sport’ which was also streamed live online. There were 25 people in attendance in Liverpool and an additional ten listeners online.

The meeting began with a talk by Kevin Brosnan of the University of Limerick and the Young Statistician’s Section entitled “False start disqualification in elite athletics: Are the rules fairs?” Kevin explored the response times of elite athletes in both men’s and women’s races at European and World Championships. Kevin considered a variety of different races including 100m, 200m and 100m hurdles and the indoor races 60m and 60m hurdles. Kevin discussed differences in response times (how quickly an athlete responds after hearing the starters gun), and false start statistics between male and female athletes, before investigating whether the current IAAF rules for detecting false starts are fair, or in fact too lenient.


Kevin also demonstrated how the number of false starts and the athlete response times have changes in line with changes in the disqualification rules over the past 20 years designed to improve viewer experience of athletics. Kevin concluded by pointing out a case in the 2016 Olympics where athletes had surprisingly quick response times. Did they pre-empt the gun?

Following a coffee break, Dr Sean Williams from the University of Bath spoke on “Tackling safety issues in professional rugby union: Can we reduce the risk of injury?” Sean described his role in analysing injury trends in professional rugby, in an incredibly timely talk given the BBC article of the same day “A love affair that hurts- the story of rugby’s injury crisis”. The article is available here:


Sean described some of his groups’ work on an acute-chronic workload ratio, which is a tool designed to assess how a player’s recent training and match schedules influence their risk of injury. This is a tool that is potentially useful to coaches in preventing injury and managing training routines. Finally Sean described some recent work aimed at improving safety in the scrum, which had led to World Rugby changing their laws, and also a training routine in amateur rugby that had been shown to reduce the number of injuries experienced.

Both talks were entertaining and enlightening and provoked lively discussion, both in the room and from our online listeners.

Review by David Hughes (RSS Merseyside)