Young Statisticians Conference 2019

Visualising the Future

1-2, October 2019, Manuka Oval, Canberra


Young Statisticians Conference is a biennial conference for students and early career researcher in statistics sponsored by Statistical Society of Australia.

For the enjoyment of all participants of YSC2019 we expect delegates to abide by the Society’s Code of Conduct. The organisers of YSC2019 are committed to providing a conference that is welcoming and safe for all participants, is free from discrimination and harassment, where all participants are treated with dignity and respect. Please familiarise yourself with this event’s Code of Conduct.

A response team will be available at the conference, should anyone wish to report unacceptable behaviour.

Key Dates 2019

Conference abstract submission closes Sunday 16 June
Notification of conference abstract acceptance Monday 1 July
Early bird registration period ends Thursday 1 August
Conference registration closes Tuesday 17 September
Three-minute video competition submissions due Wednesday 25 September !! Updated !!
Pre-conference workshop Monday 30 September
Trivia Night Monday 30 September
Conference opens Tuesday 1 October
Conference dinner Tuesday 1 October
Conference closes Wednesday 2 October


You can sponsor our future statisticans! Click here to see how to sponsor YSC 2019.

Keynote Speakers


The schedule of the conference is programmed as the following:

Time Slot Description
1st October 9:00 am Welcome/house keeping -
9:05 am Welcome to country -
9:15 am Invited speaker -
Teresa Dickinson Deputy Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics
10:00 am Population and economics -
10:00 am Stephanie Kobakian sugarbag: hexagons maps and life in Australia
10:12 am Karuna Reddy Optimal Stratification in Sampling of Forest Populations
10:24 am Zhi Yang Tho On the Robust Estimation for Spatial Autoregressive Model
10:36 am James Bailie Using Admin Data and Machine Learning to Predict Dwelling Occupancy on Census Night
10:48 am Muhammad Ejaz Adversarial Risk Analysis for First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions
11:00 am Morning Tea -
11:30 am Bioinformatics, agricultural and environmental -
11:30 am Sam Rogers A comparison of linear mixed model packages in R for analysis of plant breeding comparative experiments
11:42 am Xiangnan Xu A local consistency visualization (LC-vis) method for nutrigenomics
11:54 am Aline Kunnel Can Hypercubes Overcome the Issue of High Dimensionality in Gene Expression Data for Sepsis?
12:06 pm Laura Cartwright Bayesian atmospheric tomography for detection and estimation of methane emissions
12:18 pm Sophie Schiller Detecting Migration Routes for the First Peoples of Australia
12:30 pm Annie Conway A genome-wide association study on drought tolerance in barley
12:35 pm Yiwen (Wendy) Li Experiments on canola emergence for Ag Science students: project-based teaching of statistics
12:40 pm Udani Abhisheka Wijewardhana Statistical models for the persistence of threatened birds developed using citizen science data
12:45 pm Lunch -
1:45 pm Invited speaker -
Calvin Hung Data Scientist, QuantumBlack
2:30 pm Applied biostatistics and biostatistics in practice -
2:30 pm D.K. Ishara Forecasting daily counts of patient presentations in Australian emergency departments using statistical models with time-varying predictors: a retrospective study
2:42 pm Chrianna Bharat Predicting alcohol dependence among early adolescent regular alcohol users
2:54 pm Taya Collyer What makes a good statistical collaborator? Insights from 45 interviews with public health researchers
3:06 pm Lachlan Webb Using Segmented Regression to describe the clearance profile of an antimalarial in human infections
3:18 pm John Warmenhoven Bringing functional data analysis to the field of sport science: examples from rowing.
3:30 pm Afternoon tea -
4:00 pm Careers Panel -
2nd October 9:00 am Welcome -
9:00 am Invited speaker -
Alison Hill Data Scientist & Professional Educator, Rstudio
9:45 am Mathematical statistics -
9:45 am Farzana Jahan Bayesian Empirical Likelihood Spatial Model applying Leroux Structure
9:57 am Sarah Romanes Using Variational Approximations to efficiently build a generalised discriminant analysis (genDA) algorithm.
10:09 am Peilun He On the Parameter Estimation in the Schwartz-Smith’s Two-Factor Model
10:21 am Nelson Chua Asymptotic Relative Efficiency of Composite Likelihood Estimation for Gaussian Spatial Processes
10:33 am Ravindi Nanayakkara Stochastic Modelling and Statistical Analysis of Cosmic Microwave Background Data
10:45 am Haruki Osaka Asymptotic theory for the hypothesis testing problem for the number of components in a normal mixture model
10:50 am Aya Alwan mpcmp: fitting dispersed count data using mean parametrized Conway-Maxwell-Poisson models
10:55 am Bradley Wakefield The Multivariate Moments Problem: A Solution to Privacy Concerns of Synthetic Data
11:00 am Morning Tea -
11:30 am Biostatistical methods -
11:30 am Monsurul Hoq Comparison of statistical methods for constructing age-specific paediatric reference intervals: a simulation study
11:42 am Rushani Wijesuriya Evaluation of approaches for multiple imputation in three-level data structures
11:54 am Ruoxu Tan Group testing regression analysis with missing data
12:06 pm Jeffrey Pullin Bayesian analysis of noisy categorical ratings in health and medicine
12:18 pm Philip Clare Comparison of methods for adjusting for exposure-affected time-varying confounding in the presence of missing data – a Monte-Carlo simulation study
12:30 pm Quoc Duyet Tran Bayesian agreement measure for ordinal outcomes
12:35 pm Farzana Jahan Augmenting Disease maps: a Bayesian meta-analysis approach
12:40 pm Connor Smith VIVID: Visualising model stability information
12:45 pm Kim Jachno Accounting for non-constant rates and time-dependent treatment effects when designing, analysing and reporting clinical trials: a review
12:50 pm Lunch -
1:50 pm Video competition -
2:00 pm Computer science -
2:00 pm Jiadong Mao Nonparametric estimation for streaming data
2:12 pm Nicholas Tierney Making better spaghetti (plots): Exploring the individuals in longitudinal data with the brolgar package
2:24 pm Lisa Thomasen Influencing Data Culture to Enable Opportunities for Analytics
2:36 pm Sayani Gupta Exploring probability distributions for bivariate temporal granularities
2:48 pm Huize (Sherry) Zhang Exploration of Judicial Facial Expression in Videos and Transcripts of Legal Proceedings
3:00 pm Matthew J. Gibson Robust convolutional networks for label noise
3:05 pm S. Sandun Malpriya Silva Identifying the future state of engagement of participants in physical activity programs using mixture hidden Markov models: including a web based application for intervention
3:10 pm Samudra Herath Name-like Numbers for Simulating Names in Entity Resolution
3:15 pm Rajas Kulkarni Iwi Index of Multiple Deprivation for Ngai Tahu
3:20 pm Daniel Flores Agreda Bootstrapping Clustered Data with a Random Weighted Laplace Approximation
3:25 pm Afternoon tea -
3:55 pm Invited speaker -
Margarita Moreno-Betancur Senior Research Fellow, VicBiostat
4:40 pm Closing, Video Competition & Awards -

For presenters coming into our conference, we have provided a guideline and tips for all presenters.


There will be two pre-conference workshops held in parallel on September 30, the day before the conference.

Workshop 1: Communicating with R Markdown

About the workshop
A workshop for R Markdown users who want to get more out of R Markdown (and friends). In this workshop, we will demystify how R Markdown works under the hood. You will learn practical tools and workflows to increase your efficiency and productivity using R Markdown (including RStudio IDE features and templates), while learning how to use some extension packages along the way. We assume that you have knit an R Markdown document before, but you don’t need to be an advanced R Markdown user to take this workshop.
About the presenter
Alison Hill is a Data Scientist & Professional Educator at RStudio, developing free and open source tools to make it easier and more fun to do data science with the statistical programming language. Alison studied psychology and quantitative methods, receiving her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2008. For eight years, she was a professor and scientist at Oregon Health & Science University, where her research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, and Autism Speaks. She has written numerous scientific journal articles and book chapters on autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. She has developed and delivered workshops, graduate-level courses, and curricula based on teaching R, the tidyverse, and literate programming.

Workshop 2: Maximising the use of Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Products and Analysis Tools

About the workshop
This one-day workshop will have two components. First, it will provide an overview of the wide variety of data sources from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that are available for analysts. These sources include our 5-yearly Census, survey data, administrative data, and in particular, linked data. A demonstration of the ABS Table Builder and Data Lab products - platforms for analysts to remotely undertake bespoke analyses using ABS data - will be given. Several case studies will provide examples of the many innovative ways analysts are making use of ABS data for their projects. Second, it will focus on how Table Builder can produce data-cubes for a standard analysis in R. This will then extend to creating large data- cubes suitable for mixed models using the ‘LME4’ package in R. This second component of the workshop will conclude with discussion of Poisson-gamma models, which have additional advantages in this type of data framework.
About the presenters
James Brown (UTS)
James has over 20 years of experience as an applied statistician including collaborations with Government Statistics in the UK and Australia. Since September 2013, he is Professor of Official Statistics at UTS and just completed a term as Associate Head of School (Research) for School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences.

Cassandra Elliott (ABS) Cassandra has 14 years experience in population and social statistics at the ABS. Cassandra is currently leading the development of the 2020-21 National Health Survey and the Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study planned for 2022.

Jennifer Marley (ABS)
Since finishing her Bachelor of Mathematics degree, Jennifer Marley has followed an interesting career trajectory at the ABS for the last 11 years. She has worked on statistical data confidentiality, conducted research into the utilisation of novel data sources (most notably satellite remote sensing data for estimating agricultural statistics) and led the development of microdata products from the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project integrated data asset. She is currently a Principal Data Scientist in the Machine Intelligence and Novel Data Sources or MINDS team, which leads the cutting edge data science research at the ABS.

Gwenda Thompson (ABS)
Gwenda Thompson has a PhD in statistics and has worked at the ABS for 9 years. She was part of the teams that developed the confidentiality modules for SurveyTable builder and a new data linking method. She is currently managing various data linkage projects. Prior to the ABS, Gwenda worked in the IT industry in London and the USA for over 10 years.

Jenny Welsh (ANU)
Jenny Welsh is an epidemiologist with 10 years of experience working with health-related datasets, including large-scale, linked data and longitudinal survey data. Jenny is currently employed at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University working on research related to the Linked Data for Better Health project.

Ian Rayson (ABS)
Ian Rayson has 10 years experience as a statistical methodologist at the ABS. Ian is currently Assistant Director of the Health National Statistics Centre, leading a team producing health statistics for small geographic areas.

Video Competition

We are pleased to invite you, who are unable to attend the Young Statisticians Conference 2019 (YSC 2019), to share your research through YSC 2019 Video Competition. This competition will be the second competition following to YSC 2017.

To join the competition, you only need to present your research in a three-minute video and submit the link through the registration form. We would like to make the submitted video public so you can also watch other participants’ video, after the competition. How exciting!

The competition is a great opportunity for you to:
  • - practice your communication skill in explaining your scientific research/ project in a concise and compelling way to general public,
  • - develop your research to the next stage for broader community impact and network,
  • - inspire many early career statisticians or students about career paths in statistics/ science.

Key dates:
Submission deadline: 25 September 2019 at 11:59 PM Canberra Time
You are welcome to submit your video after this due to have your video be posted in our YouTube account; however, only videos submitted by the submission deadline will be included in the competition.
Result announcement: 2 October 2019 (last day of conference)

Fee: It is free for everyone!

  • - You must be a student or an early career researcher (within 5 years of graduation) in a statistics related area. Previous winner are not allowed to register.
  • - One participant can submit only one video. You may present your thesis, dissertation, or other substantial research project.
  • - Video length is limited to 1-3 minutes. Any video over 3 minutes will be automatically disqualified.
  • - Video must not have any slides, props or additional media (music, subtitles etc.)
  • - The language of the video must be English; Presentations are to be spoken word (no songs or poems are allowed)

  • - Record yourself within 3 minutes in a video and upload it to your YouTube account with the privacy setting as ‘Unlisted’ or ‘Public’.
  • - Put your name and research title in the ‘Title’ section and also put “YSC 2019 Video Competition” in the ‘Description’ section of the video.
  • - Fill the competition registration form here ( which includes:
    • - link to your video
    • - university/college/organisation that you represent
    • - brief summary of your video (no more than 150 words)

Video publication:
All submitted videos will be posted on Statistical Society Australia/YSC2019 official website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts (unless indicated ‘no’ in the submission form). This will not affect competition eligibility and judgement.

Judging criteria:
  • - Organization: Was the presentation well-structured and easy to follow?
  • - Engagement & delivery: Did the presentation make audience want to know more? Did the presenter show enthusiasm? Did presenter maintain proper eye contact, steady pace, clear voice range, and confident stance?
  • - Comprehension & content: Did the presentation show an adequate elaboration of the research main components including background, research question and its significance, method, and findings? Did the presentation avoid too much use of technical terms and jargons?
  • - Video quality: Was the voice is clear and no distractive noise from surrounding? Was the video-recording quality good enough?

There will be cash prizes for winners!
First prize: $200
Second prize: $100

Please feel free to direct any enquiries to Ratih Putri Pertiwi pertiwir (at)

2017 winners:
First prize: Kate Saunders, University of Melbourne (Title: Preparing for the worst: Modelling extreme rainfall)
Runner-up: Rodelyn Avila, University of Canterbury (Title: Understanding Disease Risk via Bayesian Disease Mapping)


We would encourage any participants to find their own accommodation at Canberra. There are several accommodaton options around Manuka Oval and it is best to lock in your accomodation as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we have an exclusive offer for our delegates for the special rate of $165 (instead of $175) at the Forrest Hotel and Apartments is 11 minutes walking distance from Manuka Oval. More information are available at or

Delegates are also entitled to 10% discount at the East Hotel, 7 minutes walking distance from Manuka Oval. Registered delegates please contact eo(at) for the promo code. More information of the hotel is in

Conference Dinner

After a busy conference day at YSC2019 let's enjoy an evening of relaxing, connecting and wholesome pub-style cuisine at the Kingston Hotel ( while we celebrate women in statistics. You don't have to be female to do that! The Kingston Hotel, fondly referred to as "The Kingo" is one of Canberra's original watering holes and has become one of Canberra's most popular pubs. Please join us to discuss issues concerning women in statistics in Australia, to network with fellow statisticians and supporters and simply have a fun night out with friends!

The cost for the dinner is $20 for delegates of YSC2019 and $40 for everyone else.

Registrations for this dinner close strictly on 24 September 2019.

About Canberra

Why not combine your trip to the conference with a little holiday, and explore Canberra to experience Australian culture and history at superb monuments and galleries? Our beautiful capital is a city surrounded by parkland and native bush and Spring is the perfect time for a visit. As the home of Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra plays host to a community of residents who've relocated from larger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney to work in politics, government and related industries such as media. Add a large student population (Australia's prestigious Australian National University and Canberra University are located here) and a number of renowned galleries and museums, and the result is a small but cosmopolitan city with a great food scene and plenty of creative flair.


YSC2019 is timed perfectly so that delegates have the opportunity to experience Australia’s biggest celebration of spring: Floriade. This iconic Canberra event will run from Saturday 14 September until Sunday 13 October 2019. Floriade is more than thousands of flowers. Click here to see what it’s all about:

How to get to Canberra

There are frequent domestic flights from major Australian capital cities to Canberra. It is only an easy three-hour drive from Sydney and an eight-hour drive from Melbourne. There are plenty of scenic routes if you like to get off the beaten track and visit one of the many country towns along the way. To find out more about Canberra, follow these links: To get a first impression, why not check out this latest episode of “Travel Guides”. It’s now available on Channel Nine:

Contact Us

Raaj Kishore Biswas: raajkishore.biswas (at)
Marie-Louise Rankin: eo (at)

Organising Committee

Raaj Kishore Biswas Chair
Philip Clare Program Chair
Janan Arslan Committee Secretary
Myra McGuinness Co-Abstract Submissions Manager
Jemisha Apajee Co-Abstract Submissions Manager
Emi Tanaka Website Manager
John Yeung Assistant Website Manager
Kylie-Ann Mallitt Social Media Manager
Sharmala (Sharm) Thuraisingam Sponsorship Manager
Nidhi Menon Venue Liaison/Local Contact
Ratih Putri Pertiwi Social Program Manager
Armin Pourkhanali Treasurer
Marie-Louise Rankin Executive Officer

Look back at YSC2017