1504.0 - Methodological News, Mar 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2005   
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The 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 was signed on 6 December 2004 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. Other staff of the Centre include, amongst others, Professor David Steel and Dr Robert Clark. 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 activities in statistical methodology targeted at ABS staff. Part of the arrangement involves UOW developing a proposal for a professional doctorate in statistics.

This agreement will forge stronger links between the Methodology Division 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. As university courses with small student numbers are increasingly being discontinued or combined with other courses to maintain student numbers, the Methodology Division is finding it harder to get enough graduates with the specialised training required for methodology work.

This initiative is part of an overall strategy to improve skills of our staff, to ensure sound and defensible methodology is used and to encourage innovation. We expect this relationship will utilise a number of activities such as problem solving clinics, commentaries on project report/research papers, attendance at our methodology panel meetings, adviser on Staff technical development, membership on technical subcommittees as well as personal mentoring of a few staff.

For more information, please contact, Bill Gross on (02) 6252 6302.

Email: bill.gross@abs.gov.au