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

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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 SAfJR2018.com

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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.

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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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/41544641.

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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)

ANNOUNCEMENT – Would you like to join the YSS 2018 committee?

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The Young Statistician’s Section (YSS) of the Royal Statistical Society are seeking enthusiastic individuals to join the YSS committee for 2018. Being a member of the YSS committee is a commitment but very rewarding (and lots of fun!). It’s a great opportunity to network with your peers. If you are interested in finding out more information, please click here.

ANNOUNCEMENT – YSS Conference Events 2017

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The YSS are hosting a number of events to make sure you get the most out of the  RSS conference. Come along to our welcome session to get some tips on how to build the perfect conference programme. Don’t miss our ‘Have I got Stats for you’ session,  which is sure to get you thinking. Hear from our finalists of the Statistical Excellence Award for Early-Career Writing. To find out more information about the events, please click here.

ANNOUNCEMENT – YSS Bulletin RSS Conference Special

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Events… Opportunities… Support… Networking…

We’ve just released our RSS Conference Special Bulletin – a quick two-minute summary of the sessions that the Young Statisticians Section are running at the Royal Statistical Society 2017 Annual Conference in Glasgow!

Each year the YSS aims to squeeze as many career development sessions, prize-winner presentations, and networking opportunities into the RSS Conference as we can, and this year is no exception!

Why not join us and get some top tips on how to make the most out of Conference at our Guide to the Conference session.

Or show your support and help us celebrate the achievements of other young statisticians at one of our many prizewinners sessions.

And of course, come and meet the team and network with your peers at our pub quiz and networking lunch!

Check out the Bulletin to find out more!

ANNOUNCEMENT – Review of the YSS Statistical Showcase 2017

The Statistical Showcase is a special event hosted by the YSS with the aim of showcasing the broad range of careers that are available to early-career statisticians. This year’s Statistical Showcase was held in London on Friday 30th June and, for the second year running, it included a morning training session in addition to the afternoon careers event. Due to building works at the RSS headquarters in Errol Street, the main body of the event was hosted elsewhere for the first time. We were lucky enough to secure a fantastic alternative venue at Shelter nearby and the event was a great success, with around 50 attendees in total (including speakers).

For the morning training session, Nic Crane from Mango Solutions delivered an introductory workshop on R Shiny – an R package that allows you to easily turn your analyses into interactive web apps. This was a great opportunity for attendees to get some hands on experience with using R Shiny and we’ve already had requests for more R application courses in future years!

After a delicious lunch, kindly sponsored by Roche, the afternoon careers event opened with the first plenary talk from Prof Jane Hutton, who provided some fascinating insights into life as a senior academic. This was followed by parallel speaker sessions covering a broad range of careers, including talks from Sony, Shell, Select Statistics, Full Fact, the Ministry of Defence, Roche, the Department for Transport, the NHS, University College London, Opta Sports/Perform Group and entrepreneur James Littlejohn. These were well received by attendees who gave very positive feedback on the variety of speakers and quality of the talks.

We then headed over to the RSS headquarters for the final plenary and wine reception. Prof David Hand gave us all food for thought with his engaging presentation on the biggest problem we all face in statistics – getting the question right! This was described by some as the highlight of the event, and David even made time to attend the wine reception before heading off to celebrate his birthday!!! The wine reception gave attendees the chance to chat to some of the speakers in a more informal setting, as well as to network with their peers. This was a fantastic close to a fun and interesting event that was enjoyed by attendees, speakers and organisers alike.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT – EVENT REPORT: PARLIAMENTARY LINKS DAY 2017

Daria Gromyko attended Parliamentary Links Day on behalf of the YSS.

This year I had the honour of being invited by Hetan Shah (Executive Director of the RSS) to the Parliamentary Links Day 2017 to represent the RSS as both a Young Statistician and an Official Statistics practitioner. This prestigious annual event is organised by the Royal Society of Biology and brings together the scientific community and Members of Parliament. The theme of this year’s event was “UK Science and Global Opportunities”.

Representatives from learned societies, academia and scientific professional bodies were welcomed to Parliament by Stephen Metcalfe MP and heard distinguished speakers including the Rt Hon John Bercrow MP (Speaker of the House of Commons), Sir John Kingman FRS (Chair Designate of UK Research & Innovation) and Jo Johnson MP (Minister for Universities and Science) talk about their vision for Science in the UK, the challenges we face and the way forward in addressing them. Themes touched upon were education and funding for scientific research, as well as the main theme of the day.

Two consecutive panel discussions chaired by BBC’s Science Correspondent Pallab Ghosh focused on “Science in Europe” and “Science in the World”, featuring views from Prof Sir John Holman (President of the Royal Society of Chemistry), Dr Sarah Main (Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering), Professor Roberto Di Lauro and Dr Lorenzo Melchor (Science Attachés for the Embassies of Italy and Spain, respectively) and Chi Onwurah MP (Member of the House of Commons), as well as Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell FRS FRSE (President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) and Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng (Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and Chair of EngineeringUK).

The first panel discussion focused on the continued uncertainty around the impacts of Brexit on scientific research in the UK, with the Science Attachés for the Embassies of Italy and Spain presenting discouraging statistics which suggested that large proportions of both Italian and Spanish nationals working in UK academia are considering relocating to elsewhere in the European Union; the discussion addressed ways that the UK can seek to retain such talent.

In the second panel discussion Dame Jocelyn called upon the scientific community to strengthen their links and extend their support to their European colleagues as much as this is currently done for international colleagues outside the EU. There is nothing preventing us from networking with our European colleagues and reinforcing the UK’s reputation as a welcoming and prestigious place to pursue a scientific career – a strong and eloquently delivered message that received a spontaneous round of applause from the packed room.

The event was followed by a lunch at the House of Lords, where Prof Alex Halliday FRS (Vice President of the Royal Society) gave a final keynote speech with allusions to Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

It was a pleasure to meet distinguished colleagues from across the scientific community in the heart of London. The day was an inspiration to us all to use our influence as scientists to encourage young inquisitive minds and pursue opportunities for scientific progress in the face of challenging circumstances.