RSS seeks member feedback for a review of its sections

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

The Royal Statistical Society's sections are part of its fabric and provide a great way for members to get involved in a particular area of interest and meet likeminded individuals. We are grateful to the members who lead each section and we want to support them more in the future to ensure that sections can make a significant contribution to the activity of the RSS. So we are now looking for your feedback on what you think of the sections and how we can improve their role in the Society.

What are the Society's sections?

The Society's sections bring together those interested in a particular field or area of application of statistics to share research and initiatives and promote development in the field. Sections hold regular meetings on topics relevant to that section's remit and provide an important source of expertise within the Society.

Sections cover a vast range of areas within statistics, from General Applications to more specific areas such as the Business & Industrial and Medical statistics sections. They are different to the Society's local groups, which cover specific geographical locations. There is also a Young Statisticians’ Section, for career-young statisticians in the first ten years of their statistical career.

Can I get involved with a section?

Yes! The Society actively encourages members to get involved in its sections and/or local groups. Further details on what each section does is listed below.

Why is a review being conducted?

The Society's sections have long been a fundamental part of the society's structure. However, it has been many years since we have taken a step back to look at how the sections are meeting the needs of our fellows. In a world where big data and digital technology are fundamentally changing the way in which data is handled and analysed, where statistical analysis is being applied to many areas of science and social science, throwing up practical and ethical questions along the way - are our sections meeting these challenges? Are there any gaps?

To help answer some of these questions, the RSS has drawn together a review group headed up by former RSS Council member Karen Facey. The group has already garnered opinions from section committee members and now it needs members to tell us how you engage with the sections and what we can do to help you become more involved (should you wish to).

Complete our survey!

We'd really like to hear your opinions in a short survey we have created. It will only take you a few minutes to complete it, so please give us your opinions and click here to complete the survey.

What will happen next?

The section review group consider the survey responses alongside the feedback from section committees and other relevant members and staff of the Society, and will present a final paper to the Society's Executive Committee towards the end of the year, which will be reported on in StatsLife.

The Society's sections

Here is a list of the Society's current sections, special interest and study groups:

Applied Probability

This section came into existence at the start of 2012 to help rejuvenate the Royal Statistical Society's interests in the area. The main activity of the Section is to organise loosely-themed meetings on aspects of applied probability, which we interpret as any use of probability to develop models and results that help us to understand the world around us.

Business & Industrial

BIS is targeted at practitioners and users of statistics in business and industrial applications. BIS aims to raise awareness of relevant events, share good practice, provide opportunities to network and discuss topics of interest.

Environmental Statistics

This section was originally formed as a Study Group in 1996 and now has full Section status. The committee has been organising meetings on a wide variety of topics of interest to statisticians and other environmental scientists. Our objectives include acting as a national focus for statisticians involved in environmental work. The Section also provides a cadre of experts on whom the Society can call for professional advice.

General Applications

The General Applications Section (GAS) is concerned with the exposition, study, informal debate and discussion of statistical subjects across a wide range of fields of application with a view to making statistical developments accessible to a broad general audience. GAS covers diverse, niche, and emerging application domains, and often demonstrates the applicability and value of new methodological enhancements in the context of such applications. We aspire to generate the Study Groups and Sections of the future (a successful example of this is with the creation of the Environmental Statistics Section).

History of Statistics Study Group

This study group was formed in September 2010, with the principal aim to bring together the various groups and individuals who have an active interest in the history of statistics. It holds at least one annual one-day event on a topic on the history of statistics and publishes the proceedings; it also contributes to the programme of the annual RSS conference.

Medical Statistics

The medical section is a long-established section of the Royal Statistical Society. Correspondence with fellow statisticians anecdotally suggests that the section was already well established in the 1960’s. Health and medical statistics continues to remain an important application of statistics and an area where statistics continues to develop in order to keep up with new advances in both science and technology.

Official Statistics

Interested in the collection, analysis and interpretation of official statistics of all kinds.

Primary Health Care Special Interest Group

This study group, created in July 2002 as a sub-group of the Medical Section, focuses on statistical methodology in this area, where there has been increasing research interest. The sub-group's terms of reference were renewed in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013 when it was given the status of a special interest group.

Quality Improvement

QIS provides a forum for statistical thinking and best practice in the application of statistical methods for improving organisational performance and outcomes. It encourages statisticians to be involved as key advisers at a practical level in organisational improvement. Originally part of Business and Industry Section, QIS was re-designated as a Section in its own right in 2004. It has enabled the Royal Statistical Society to be influential in the development of the new Six Sigma BSI and ISO standards and now has strong links with both BSI and Chartered Quality Institute.


Interested in the theory of statistics, development of statistical methods, new applications of established methods and related aspects of probability.

Social Statistics

This section arranges an annual programme of meetings on social statistics. The Section Committee may also form study groups for the examination and study of particular problems. The remit and activities of the Section are likely to be of interest to a wide range of audiences, including many people who would not consider themselves primarily 'statisticians' or members of the section. 

Statistical Computing

This section is interested in all aspects of the use of computers and computing in modern statistical analysis. Computational issues are an essential part of modern statistics, data analysis and data mining. Competent statisticians and practitioners must not just understand the principles on which statistical methods work but also be able to implement them on computers in ways that are transparent, require minimal user intervention and scale well with large data sets. The section is also interested in the fundamental design of software and systems for statistical computing.

Statistics and the Law

The Section started in 2015, evolving from a working group set up in the wake of various child abuse miscarriages of justice at the turn of the century. The group produced four reports <> as guidance for judges, lawyers, forensic scientists and expert witnesses, with the general theme of ‘Communicating and interpreting statistical evidence in the administration of criminal justice’. Now, the purpose of the Section is to enable the Society to make informed and, hopefully, influential contributions to the administration of justice as well as encouraging research and disseminating knowledge amongst the statistical, legal, forensic science and forensic medicine communities. The remit includes civil law as well as criminal law.

Statistics in Sport

Regarding the application of statistics in sports, defined as modelling and analysis inspired by, or applied to, a problem in sport.

Young Statisticians

The YSS aims to unite statisticians in the early stages of their careers, acting as a central resource which supports, promotes, coordinates and provides a voice for all those within the YSS community. It encourages networking through formal and social events both face to face and online;  aids the professional development of statisticians in the early stages of their career and provides an interface between young statisticians and all RSS activities/services and between statistical employers and employees.


RSS Groups

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