Voice of the Future 2018: Bringing young scientists to Parliament

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The Royal Society of Biology’s annual Voice of the Future event offers students and early-career scientists the opportunity to question key political figures about important scientific issues. YSS committee members Lucy Teece and Stephen Blaxland represented the Royal Statistical Society at this year’s event held, in the Houses of Parliament during British Science Week.

Throughout the morning, a multitude of questions raised by representatives from a wide range of scientific societies, organisations, and local high schools, were answered by the newly-appointed Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Sam Gyimah; the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science & Innovation, Chi Onwurah; members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, Martin Whitfield, Stephen Metcalfe, and Carol Monaghan; and the director of the Government Office for Science, Dr Rupert Lewis.

 

Diary of an RSS fellow teaching at AIMS Cameroon: Part 2

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RSS fellow and medical statistics PhD student Will Hulme moved from University of Manchester in January to teach at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Limbé, Cameroon. Here he shares the next installment of his experiences of a typical day working at AIMS Cameroon.

The flagship programme that Will tutors on is a residential Master's degree for talented African graduates, with lecturers invited from across the world. There are 47 students on this year’s course from 17 different African nations.

A Q&A with RSS Journalism Award winner Aasma Day

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In last year's RSS Statistical Excellence in Journalism awards, the Johnston Press investigations team was Highly Commended in the Investigative Journalism category. The team's entry was a collection of articles centred around a 'Drive for Justice' campaign which ran in several different regional newspapers as well as in national newspaper the i and which highlighted sentencing figures for those convicted of death by dangerous driving.

The team was praised by the RSS judges for clearly presenting statistical analyses of sentencing figures alongside emotive case studies. Aasma Day, who leads the Johnston Press investigations team, talks about how the team sourced and presented its data, and how its reporting helped raise awareness of an issue that eventually saw a change in the law.

Taking stats to school: A Q&A with William Guy lecturer Jeff Ralph

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Jeff Ralph is head of analysis at the Methodology Advisory Service in Methods, Data and Research (MDR) at the Office for National Statistics, and is this year's Royal Statistical Society William Guy Lecturer. Since taking on the role, Jeff has been delivering lectures about maths and statistics to school students around the UK and tomorrow he is due to speak in Belfast.

We caught up with him to find out how his experience in schools has been so far.

Diary entry of an RSS fellow teaching at AIMS Cameroon: Part 1

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Ever thought about teaching the statistical skills and knowledge you've gained in another part of the world? RSS fellow and medical statistics PhD student Will Hulme moved from University of Manchester in January to teach at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Limbé, Cameroon, and in the first of a series of blog posts, he shares his experiences of a typical day working at AIMS Cameroon.

Comprising six (and counting) centres for postgraduate education, research, and outreach in the mathematical sciences, AIMS's ultimate purpose is to equip Africa's future mathematicians and scientists with the means to propel the continent towards scientific, educational, and economic self-sufficiency. The flagship programme that Will is currently tutoring on is a residential Master's degree for talented African graduates, with lecturers invited from across the world. There are 47 students on this year’s course from 17 different African nations. 

A winning formula: a Q&A with stats journalism winner Martin Beckford

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The RSS has just launched its Statistical Excellence in Journalism awards for 2018, which seeks to celebrate well-presented statistics in the media and reward those who use statistics well in their work to uncover insights on key public issues. Here we speak to the winner of last year’s Investigative Journalism category, Mail on Sunday home affairs editor Martin Beckford (pictured receiving his award), whose article focused on the number of police on duty at night in the UK.

Martin's article was described by the judges as 'an informative piece of journalism that examines an issue which is of huge relevance at the moment'. Using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, he was able to access police staffing levels at night and, comparing these to ONS population figures, was able to present the huge number of people per officer at the time when most crimes take place.

RSS and SAGE partner to create data courses for social scientists

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SAGE Campus, a suite of online data science courses tailored for social scientists, has been launched in response to an emerging skills gap among social scientists looking to work with big data. The Royal Statistical Society partnered with SAGE Publishing for two of these courses, as SAGE head of methods intervention, Katie Metzler, explains.

You may have heard the phrase 'data is the new oil', which Clive Humby, mathematician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard, is credited with saying first in 2006. The comparison between data and oil refers to its value being extracted through refinement; or in the case of data, through analysis. But unlike oil, data is being produced at a faster and faster rate every day. As Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, put it: 'A billion hours ago, modern homo sapiens emerged. A billion minutes ago, Christianity began. A billion seconds ago, the IBM PC was released. A billion Google searches ago … was this morning.'

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