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The Young Statisticians Section (YSS) of the Royal Statistical Society are seeking enthusiastic individuals to join the YSS Committee for 2017.
The YSS exists to support and bring together statisticians in the first 10 years of their careers – including students. We run a number of events each year for young statisticians, including careers days, webinars, competitions (such as this year’s YSS/Significance Writing Competition) and a variety of sessions at the RSS Annual Conference, as well as supporting numerous other conferences and events in the statistical calendar. (For further details, please have a browse through some of the previous posts on this site!)
Being a member of the YSS Committee is a commitment but also very rewarding (and fun!) We are particularly looking for people who are keen to champion new ideas for reaching out the early-career statistics community, and to help organise events targeted at young statisticians. We hold three committee meetings per year, so most events and initiatives are organised remotely via email or phone conference.
If you would like to be considered for one of the committee positions, simply send an email (subject line “YSS Committee 2017”) to Tim at
by 6pm on Friday 23 September 2016, with a short blurb (up to 250 words) summarising your background and why you’d like to join the committee.
Please note that to take up a position you will need to be a full fellow of the RSS.
A final note: if you’re attending the RSS Conference in Manchester next week (5-8 September), and would like to find out more about the YSS, please do come up and have a chat with the current committee – just look for the red t-shirts!
The 39th Research Students’ Conference (RSC) in Probability and Statistics took place from June 14th to June 16th 2016 at the O’Brien Science Center, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. The RSC is a large annual conference that is organised by PhD students for PhD students in any field relating to probability and statistics. Being a student conference, the RSC provides delegates with a friendly and relaxed environment to discuss research and exchange ideas.
This year was the first time that the RSC was hosted outside of the UK, and it was a huge success. Overall, there were 88 delegates in attendance, from a number of universities across Ireland, UK and Sweden. Almost every delegate gave a talk or a poster presentation, with the research topics spanning fields such as Biostatistics, Official Statistics, Mathematical Statistics, and Bayesian Statistics – to name just a few. This year, our two guest speakers were Prof. Uwe Ligges (Dortmund University, Germany) and Prof. Brendan Murphy (UCD), who gave inspiring talks about the roles of statisticians in society and the different paths we could take post-PhD.
As this was the first occasion the RSC had taken place in Ireland, a number of social events were organised to showcase the beauty of Dublin to our British and international friends, including a bus tour which took delegates around Dublin and provided a taste of its long history and vibrant culture. The charm and the humour of our Irish tour guide left a memorable impression on our international friends. Delegates also enjoyed a live music event at one of Dublin’s favourite pubs, the Whelans, and a comedy night at the Anseo pub. On the final night, the conference dinner took place in the welcoming atmosphere of the Hampton hotel, followed by fun group dancing afterwards.
All in all, RSC 2016 was a great success, and the feedback we received was very positive with many delegates commenting that it had been one of the the best conferences they had attended. We hope that delegates not only left RSC 2016 with many new research ideas, but also new friendships and lots of great memories.
REVIEW – Multi-state modelling workshop in Leeds (joint event with RSS Leeds/Bradford) on 14 Apr 2016
Complementary to the “Survival Analysis for Junior Researchers Conference” (see above), an afternoon workshop on multi-state modelling was jointly organised by the RSS Young Statisticians’ Section and the Leeds/Bradford local group on 14 April 2016. Several SAfJR delegates stayed on for the workshop and were joined by local group members. The meeting was introduced and chaired by Professor Linda Sharples (Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, University of Leeds).
The first speaker was Dr Andrew Titman (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Lancaster) who gave a talk entitled ‘Multi-state modelling: An overview’ to provide an introduction to the methodology. The talk gave an overview of the principal methods and key assumptions used in multi-state models, covering both continuously observed processes (where much of the machinery from standard survival analysis carries across) and interval-censored or panel-observed data (where there are additional computational challenges, and analysis is usually parametric). The methods were illustrated through application to progression-free and overall survival in cancer studies, and modelling the onset of cardiac allograft vasculopathy in post-heart-transplantation patients.
To offer an example of current research in the field, Dr Aidan O’Keeffe (Department of Statistical Science, University College London) gave a presentation entitled ‘Multi-state models and causal arguments: Application to a study of clinical damage in psoriatic arthritis’. The presentation illustrated the use of multi-state models as a method for assessing a causal effect of one process on another in the context of psoriatic arthritis, and showed how multi-state models can be used to assess the causal relationship between disease activity (tenderness and swelling) and clinical joint damage.
The final speaker was Dr Howard Thom (School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol) whose talk was entitled ‘Using Parameter Constraints to choose State-Structures in Cost-effectiveness Modelling’. This research addressed the question of structural uncertainty in cost-effectiveness decision models – in particular, the choice of state-structure when using a multi-state model. Key model outputs, such as treatment recommendations and identification of future research needs, may be sensitive to this choice of state-structure. Dr Thom described a new method that involves re-expressing a model with merged states as a model on the larger state space, meaning that standard statistical methods for comparing models with a common reference dataset can be used. This methodology was then applied to data for prescribing anti-depressants by depression severity.
Overall, the workshop gave a comprehensive overview of methodologies in the field, and illustrated them through two very different applications in causal assessment of the relationship between different elements of arthritis and to health economics decision modelling.
The slides from the event can be found at the local group website:
On the afternoon on Thursday 8 September, the YSS will be running a special “STEM Showcase” session at the RSS 2016 conference (which takes place in Manchester from 5-8 September – see www.rss.org.uk/conference for further details).
The STEM Showcase event will feature five 12-minute presentations that showcase best practice and innovation in school statistical STEM activities, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A and further discussion. Following the session, we will share and promote these activity materials (with full attribution to the authors) across the young statistician / STEM ambassador community, to maximise the impact of the activities.
We’re now assembling the line-up for the session – so if you are an early-career statistician (first 10 years of career) and/or a STEM Ambassador and would like to share examples of effective and engaging statistical activities that you have developed for young people, we would love to hear from you!
If you’re interested in contributing to the session, please drop an email to the address shown below by 30 April 2016, giving details of what you’d like to speak about:
All selected speakers will be eligible for a conference registration waiver for the day of the session, as a thank you for being involved.
Please note: As the number of speaker slots is limited, we may receive more expressions of interest than can be accommodated in the session. In this instance, the slots will be allocated on a competitive basis to ensure we have the most varied and engaging combination of talks possible.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Events… Opportunities… Support… Networking…
We’ve just released Issue #3 of the YSS Bulletin – a quick two-minute summary of what the Young Statisticians Section are currently doing! (Full URL: https://statsyss.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/yssbulletin-march2016-finalversion.pdf)
For example, did you know that our 2016 Young Statisticians Writing Competition – organised jointly with Significance magazine – has now gone live? Or that we’ll be running eight different events this autumn at the 2016 RSS Conference in Manchester, including a special STEM Showcase (click to find out how you can get involved), a brand-new “Tech Giants” session, and the now-infamous YSS pub quiz?
Check out the Bulletin to find out more!
Reviewed by Maria Sudell.
On the 2nd March 2016, the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester held their 2016 Careers in Statistics Fair, supported by the RSS Manchester Local group – with around 40 individuals attending (http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/study/careers/maths-careers-events/careers-in-statistics-fair-2016.htm). The event was designed for individuals who were considering, or were at the start of, a statistical career, and included stalls from the RSS (manned by YSS committee members and Richard Emsley of the Manchester Local group), and from employers such as HMRC, Lubrizol, AWE, Ernst and Young and AstraZeneca. The day featured talks from these providers and from the RSS, and also a talk about Medical Statistics in the public sector or academia. The stalls and talks gave young individuals interested in a statistical career the opportunity to hear about the types of jobs available in the area, and also the chance to ask a wide range of people questions about their jobs, and what could help them move into similar careers in future.
Reviewed by Laura Bonnett and Sarah Nolan, University of Liverpool.
On 26th February 2016, the RSS Merseyside local group, together with the RSS Young Statisticians’ Section (YSS), hosted an afternoon session on Pharmaceutical Statistics. This meeting marked a technological first for the RSS Merseyside local group, with the meeting broadcast as a live webinar via the RSS for people unable to attend in person. Twenty-five people in the room and eleven remote participants heard Sara Hughes from the Clinical Statistics section of GlaxoSmithKline begin the afternoon by discussing her company’s approach to data sharing, and the statistical challenges data sharing poses. Sara initially outlined the data transparency journey GSK have taken over recent years reviewed the challenges with data sharing and made some preliminary recommendations for how to address these challenges.
Sarah Nolan from the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Liverpool and the Young Statisticians’ Section then discussed her perspective on data sharing, as a young statistician. Sarah discussed her experiences of four years of requesting data from multiple sources for a large project in epilepsy, the benefits that data sharing initiatives have had for her projects, and the challenges of restrictive data sharing platforms.
The afternoon ended with a panel discussion chaired by Gabriela Czanner (Chair of the RSS Merseyside Local Group); the two speakers were Catrin Tudur-Smith (Reader in Medical Statistics at the University of Liverpool). Ethical issues provoked the most responses from the panellists and the audiences as it is a very challenging aspect of data sharing which currently lacks a definite answer.
The meeting was received very well with those in person appreciating the views of academia and industry on the topic of data sharing, and particular appreciation for the combination of a young and experienced statistician. Despite some technical issues around microphones to allow a webinar broadcast; there is great benefit in making meeting available remotely to those who do not have the means to attend in person. We hope to learn from these experiences for future meetings to strike the perfect balance between attending and remote meeting participants.
Presentation Slides for the two talks are available here: https://www.statslife.org.uk/events/eventdetail/597/-/pharmaceutical-statistics