Australian Bureau of Statistics funds new statistics professorship, Dec 2004

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Australian Bureau of Statistics funds new statistics professorship

The pressing need to establish a program of research into new and innovative methods of collecting, analysing and exploiting statistical information has led to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) partnering with the University of Wollongong (UOW) to establish a Chair in Statistical Methodology.
An agreement formalising the establishment of the new professorial post will be signed today in Canberra between the Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, from the ABS and UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerard Sutton.

The new Chair will be located within the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology at UOW. The centre will undertake fundamental research, industry focused research, and contract research projects involving statistical or survey methodology. It will also develop a program of training courses in statistical methodology targeted at ABS staff.

The ABS will fund the salary and on-costs for the Professor of Statistical Methodology for an initial period of five years. Part of the arrangement involves UOW developing a proposal for a professional doctorate in statistics.

Mr Trewin said the agreement would forge stronger links between the ABS and the university sector and ensure that statistical methodology skills are available more widely around the nation.

"Statistical methodology is an area of critical importance to the ABS and other providers of statistics," said Mr Trewin. "It requires specialist training to ensure quality statistics are produced for Australia. It is increasingly important in the information age and there is a need for more people with these skills."

"As university courses with small student numbers are increasingly being discontinued or combined with other courses to maintain student numbers, the ABS is finding it harder to get enough graduates with the specialised training required for methodology work."

UOW’s Director of the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology, Professor David Steel, said that valid and effective statistical methodology was the foundation of much of the information needed by government and industry.

A strong relationship already exists between the ABS and the statistics group at UOW including the ABS funding undergraduate scholarships for students undertaking a major in Applied Statistics, worth more than $20,000