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23rd May 2018, review by David McLernon & Altea Lorenzo-Arribas (YSS)
The YRS Symposium aims to encourage early career researchers who are interested in statistics to chat about their research and to hear inspiring talks from peers and external speakers. The long-term aim is to create a supportive community of practice. The event was held in the architecturally impressive Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen, and was organised by a committee of young statisticians from the RSS Highlands Local Group, University of Aberdeen, and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS).
YRS 2018 was a great success, selling out with over 60 participants from Scottish research institutions and universities based in the Highlands.
The first session of selected talks from early career researchers covered a range of health topics, from mental health to nutrition. The society session focused on economic modelling and the two talks in the environment session dealt with spatial models in fishery studies. A wide range of topics also featured at the poster session, including ecological occupancy models, juror systems probabilistic analysis and medical studies.
The symposium also included two fantastic keynote speakers; Jen Rogers, Director of Statistical Consultancy at the University of Oxford and RSS Vice President for External Affairs, and Liberty Vittert, Mitchell lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Jen gave an interactive overview of risk misconceptions and stats misuse in media and advertising. Liberty grabbed the audience with thought-provoking examples (including humanitarian aid work at the UN Refugee agency) highlighting the importance of making data relevant to people. During lunch there was an opportunity to network through a speed dating exercise.
The variety and high quality of the research showcased at the symposium made it extremely difficult for the jury to choose the recipients of the two prizes; Charlotte Huggins (University of Aberdeen) won the best presentation award (£50 Amazon voucher) for her talk, “Assessing the ability to understand one’s own emotional state”, and Tiberiu Pana (University of Aberdeen) won the poster award (£20) with a depiction of his research on “Impact of heart failure on stroke mortality and recurrence”. Additionally, best tweet of the day was awarded to Alessandra Jibbs (University of Aberdeen) for an entertaining GIF of our YRS mascot, Norma the Normal!
Professor David Elston, ex-director of BioSS closed what he defined as an “inspirational event that has brought together the best of the RSS, the Highlands Local Group and the YSS in terms of interaction between different stats applications, visibility of young researchers and networking”. He also gifted us with a quote to remember: “there are three ways of reaching decisions: tradition, prejudice and statistical analysis (of the right data set)”. We would agree that the symposium included a remarkable collection of work aiming for the latter.
YRS2018 in numbers
A ‘wakelet’ highlighting the presence of the YRS symposium on Twitter can be found on: http://wke.lt/w/s/FRQeI
The analytics of the event tweets can be seen below:
Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the YRS committee, the YSS, and the RSS for their continuous support and promotion of this event.