Five reasons to come to the 2021 Conference

It goes without saying that our annual Conference is where statisticians and data scientists come to further their knowledge about statistical methods and applications, network and find out more generally what’s happening in the world of statistics and data science.

As well as the conference ‘streams’ focused around specific topic areas, we’ve identified five common ‘themes’ in this year’s sessions that might help you get even more out of your conference experience.

1: Find out what statisticians are doing to tackle the pandemic – and how the pandemic has affected statistics
The Covid-19 pandemic has made statisticians of us all. But what have the statisticians been doing to tackle the pandemic? Find out about the RSS-Turing Institute Covid-19 collaboration (8 September, 2.20pm) organised by RSS President Sylvia Richardson and past President Peter Diggle. There’s also a major discussion meeting featuring three papers on statistical aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic (8 September, 5.15pm). Other sessions looking at the impact of the pandemic examine how it’s being monitored, its effect on official statistics, a number of sessions on disease spread as well as statistical methods arising from Covid-19.

2: Become a data viz whiz
There are several sessions this year to help you develop your data viz skills. Interactive visualisation (7 September, 2pm) will provide a 30-minute crash course on the basics before providing some inspiration for interactive visualisation in action in the rest of the session, where the prize winners from a recent YSS Interactive Visual competition, will showcase their work.

Data viz fans might also be interested in a workshop being held the following day on Data Wrangling and visualisation using the tidyverse in R (9am). The tidyverse is a collection of packages in R that can be used to import, tidy, transform and visualise data. This workshop will feature a live coding demo tackling a realistic ‘messy’ dataset. And for those interested in seeing data viz in practice, then the session on Visualisation and visual analytics (9 September, 3.20pm) will present snapshots of current research-led visualisation work in the UK, and there's a session on visualisation in spatial and environmental statistics.
3: Keep up with the latest developments in Data Science
The last few conferences have seen a Data Science stream which focus specifically on issues affecting the data science community, and this year’s conference continues to build on that. Bin Yu's President's Invited Lecture will examine responsible data analysis and decision making, there's a session on the ethics of AI and another on making better decisions based on simulation. A lighthearted session, ‘Confessions of a data scientist’ will look at data scientists' 'deadliest sins', and a session on workflows in data science addresses some of data scientists' practical issues. Those looking for professional recognition might be interested in the session on the Alliance of Data Science Professionals who’ll be giving an update on current progress.

4: Celebrate pioneering women in stats
There are a number of inspiring sessions planned celebrating the role of women in statistics, including one on how women are breaking barriers in data science (9 September, 11.40am). A session celebrating key women in stats takes place on 8 September, 2.20pm, ‘Women in British statistics after Florence Nightingale’. And for any others who perhaps haven’t been given the representation they deserve, you can come and take part in a Wikipedia edit-a-thon for women and under-represented minorities in statistics and data science (8 September, 2.20pm).

5: Find out about ways to volunteer
A session on the RSS Statisticians for Society programme will feature those who’ve volunteered and how others can get involved in the scheme (7 September, 3.50pm), which now has funding until 2025. There’s also a more general session on how to get involved in the Society’s work (8 September, 4.10pm).

RSS Conference takes place 6-9 September 2021 at Manchester Central Conference Centre. You can also register to attend online (limited number of sessions only).

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