Teaching statistics in Africa: Volunteering for AIMS-Tanzania

Written by Nancy Duong Nguyen on . Posted in Features

The RSS campaign to send statisticians to teach MSc students in Africa is about to send another of our fellows to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) centre in Tanzania. Nancy Duong Nguyen, who recently finished her PhD in Statistics at University College Dublin, explains what motivated her to volunteer for the scheme before she makes her six-week trip to AIMS-Tanzania.

In the first year of my PhD, I had the pleasure of listening to Jonathan Rougier (Bristol) and Peter Diggle (Lancaster) discuss their interesting projects in Africa. Along with other students at the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics, I was fascinated (and amused) with Professor Rougier’s work on weighing donkeys in Kenya and inspired by Professor Diggle’s work on modelling the prevalence of river blindness in some African countries. These two professors concluded their talks with what I will always remember - there are more than enough good problems for us statisticians to work on and that we should always analyse the problems, not the data.

Trust deficit could hinder efforts to use data for good

Written by Hetan Shah on . Posted in Features

RSS executive director Hetan Shah explains why the Royal Statistical Society is pushing for a Council for Data Ethics, which could develop new frameworks for data governance and rebalance the current 'data trust deficit'

We live in a fast-changing landscape of digital data. Algorithms, big data, data science, machine learning, the internet of things and smart cities—to cite just the most recent trends—are changing policy, business and daily life.

Voice of the Future: Bringing science to Parliament

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in Features

Every year, as part of British Science Week, Voice of the Future offers young scientists the chance to put questions about science policies to key political figures. This year, RSS fellows from our Young Statisticians Section, Lucy Teece and Johnathan Love, represented the field of statistics at the debate which was held in Parliament on 15 March.

Lucy Teece is a research associate in biostatistics at Keele University and Johnathan Love is a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde, researching statistical methodologies and experimental designs in animal health trials.

Measuring public trust in official statistics

Written by Ian Simpson on . Posted in Features

Ian Simpson of NatCen explains some of the findings published in a recent report looking at the public's views of UK official statistics. 

As part of its annual British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, NatCen Social Research measured views on UK official statistics and the organisation that produces them, the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The questions were also asked in the 2014 BSA survey, allowing for comparison of results.

Event report: RSS teacher training day for maths scholars

Written by Scott Keir and Sophie Carr on . Posted in Features

The RSS held two workshops on Core Maths and statistics for current scholars on the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship programme. Here we give some background to the scheme and report back from the day

The RSS is one of the partner organisations running the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship programme, which identifies and supports people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the mathematical sciences, and who have the potential to be an inspirational teacher.

STEM for Britain: Showcasing science research in Westminster

Written by Kevin McConway on . Posted in Features

The STEM for Britain Awards is a prestigious poster competition for early career science researchers held in parliament during British Science Week. Our former vice president for academic affairs, Kevin McConway, has been a judge in the mathematics category ever since it was introduced three years ago. Here, he gives the lowdown on this year's event and its winners.

Originally this event was called SET for Britain (Science, Engineering and Technology), but in 2014, researchers in the mathematical sciences were allowed to enter as well, so it’s now called STEM for Britain. There are actually five separate competitions: physics; chemistry; biological and biomedical sciences; engineering; and mathematical sciences.

Building bridges between Westminster and science

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in Features

Since 2001, the Royal Society has run the Parliamentary Pairing scheme, enabling scientists and parliamentarians – either MPs or civil servants – to shadow each other at work. The aim of the scheme is to promote greater understanding between the science community and those who make the decisions that affect them.

One of the Royal Statistical Society’s statistical ambassadors, Liberty Vittert (pictured, left), took part in the scheme this year. Liberty is Mitchell lecturer in statistics at the University of Glasgow, and spent a week in London back in December 2016. For two days she shadowed her local MP Patrick Grady (also pictured), the Scottish National Party’s MP for Glasgow North. Prior to that she attended a series of preparatory talks for the scientists participating in the Parliamentary Pairing scheme, run by the Royal Society, to explain how parliament works and where opportunities for influencing policymaking exist.

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