1504.0 - Methodological News, Dec 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/01/2012   
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Continuing the Collaborative Agreement between Australian Bureau of Statistics and the University of Wollongong

The Collaborative Agreement between the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology (CSSM) at the University of Wollongong and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) began in December 2004 and in March 2006 resulted in the appointment of Ray Chambers as the first Professor of Statistical Methodology - a position funded by ABS. The ABS is very pleased to announce that it has signed a new collaborative agreement that extends funding of the position from March 2011 until March 2014.

Since his appointment, Professor Chambers, working together with the director of CSSM, Professor David Steel, has improved the skills of ABS methodologists, by questioning the status-quo, encouraging innovation, and by encouraging the development of sound and defensible methods. He has achieved this through annual symposia, courses, mentorship, collaborations, workshops and membership of the ABS' Methodology Advisory Committee. In particular, Professor Chambers' leadership in developing methods of analysing data that are probabilistically-linked, an area of strategic importance to ABS, has been particularly beneficial. Frank Yu, head of the ABS' Methodology and Data Management Division believes that the work of the Centre has significantly enhanced the capability of ABS staff in conducting methodological research and improving the rigour of ABS' methodological design.

While the elements of the new agreement are essentially unchanged, it puts more emphasis on long term collaborations. The first collaborative project is to develop a framework that uses para-data, or data collected during the survey collection process, to improve response rates. Professor Chambers is continuing to work on analysis of probabilistically-linked data and will also work on likelihood methods for combining data, another area of strategic importance to ABS. A successful symposium on Robust Regression was held in October 2011. The next symposium is scheduled for October 2012 and will cover Analysis of Longitudinal Data.

For further information, please contact James Chipperfield (02 6252 7301 or james.chipperfield@abs.gov.au).