ACEMS Engagement Activities

ACEMS enabled a breadth of engagement-related events, services and activities in 2019 both for and with external stakeholders. Some of these are highlighted in Figure 1.

Figure 1.Some of the engagement-related activities and services enabled by ACEMS during 2019

Key Activities

Key activities and events with research collaborators in 2019 included:

  • ACEMS Node Tours and Meet-and-Greets with ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Jessie Roberts
  • The ACEMS Annual Retreat
  • Presentations to external organisations including research briefings
  • ACEMS sponsorship of other organisations’ events and initiatives of benefit to the mathematical sciences
  • Public lectures with esteemed guests from industry, research and government
  • ACEMS (co-)hosted and (co-)organised public events, including workshops, seminars and hackathons
  • Applications for joint funding
  • Placements of vacation research students and AMSI interns, and
  • Continued engagement with citizen science to realise research outcomes.

A few of these are detailed below.

ACEMS Node Tours by Jessie Roberts, the Centre’s Stakeholder Engagement Officer, provided an impactful opportunity to connect with and facilitate networking between internal and external stakeholders in each of the four states that host ACEMS university nodes – Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia -- including by hosting Meet-and-Greet events.

ACEMS Meet-and-Greet networking events are an important forum for ACEMS members to connect with each other, including across ACEMS nodes, and network with external stakeholders, including industry partners, affiliates and research collaborators.  Table 1 lists details of the Meet-and-Greet events held in each ACEMS state. At least 150 ACEMS members from across the Centre’s seven nodes participated.

Networking at the Queensland and Victorian ACEMS’ 2019 Meet-and-Greet events.

Table 1: ACEMS Meet-and-Greet Events in 2019

Event Date Location & Node(s) Attendees (Approx.)
ACEMS Sydney Meet-and-Greet 12 February 2019 Sydney (UTS, UNSW) 27 registered
ACEMS Queensland Meet-and-Greet 28 March 2019 Brisbane (QUT, UQ) 52 registered
ACEMS Melbourne Meet-and-Greet 30 May 2019 Melbourne (UoM, Monash) 35 registered
ACEMS Adelaide Meet-and-Greet 31 May 2019 Adelaide (UoA) 36 registered

The ACEMS Retreat affords an important opportunity to bring together researchers, students, and external stakeholders, from across Australia, to grow connections, opportunities, and share knowledge.

A total of 143 ACEMS members and industry guests attended the annual retreat. It was great to see the high level of engagement of industry guests, who actively participated in both the main and ECR/student programs.

Industry Engagement Aspects of Annual Retreat

There is a strong focus on industry engagement at the Annual Retreat, within both the main retreat and the student/early career researcher programs.

The Main Retreat Program, for all members, features:

  1. ACEMS stakeholder engagement presentation(s)
  2. Industry and stakeholder invitations (including POs, IAMs, and other current and potential collaborators)
  3. Industry guest speakers affording an opportunity for our industry stakeholders to either showcase an existing or proposed collaborative project with ACEMS
  4. Partners and Collaborators Lunch, for past and current collaborators
  5. Industry Collaboration Support Scheme (ICSS) presentations from ACEMS members who have received funding for an ICSS project.

The Student and Early Career Researcher (ECR) Retreat Program, features:

  1. An Industry Panel session
  2. Networking drinks with industry guests
  3. Dinner with industry guests
  4. Contributions from industry guests during other sessions as appropriate, such as this year’s CV writing session.

The Industry Panel at the 2019 Student and ECR Retreat featuring (L-R) a mathematician working in industry, Steven Barry (Airservices Australia); data scientist Jonathan Carroll (Genentech - SA); research scientist Emily Hackett-Jones (LIFELENZ and the Centre for Cancer Biology); a researcher from outside academia, Hamideh Anjomshoa (IBM Research - VIC); and mathematical consultant Steven Donaldson (Polymathian - QLD).

Industry Presentations at ACEMS Annual Retreats

A total of twelve industry guest speakers delivered presentations or spoke on industry panels, as part of both programs. These speakers came from twelve different organisations, including: POs, IAMs, and others.

Industry Guest Speakers at the 2019 ACEMS Main and Student/ECR Retreats

Speaker Organisation
Dr Steven Barry Airservices Australia
Philip Bell Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Dr Juan Ortiz Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS)
Dr Maaike Wienk Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)
Dr Simon Grainger Bureau of Meteorology
Dr Jessica Cameron Cancer Council QLD
Dr Emily Hackett-Jones Centre for Cancer Biology and LIFELENZ
Dr Petra Kuhnert CSIRO/Data 61
Guy Blucher DST Group 
Dr Jonathon Carroll Genentech
Dr Hamideh Anjomshoa IBM Research
Steven Donaldson Polymathian

Industry guest presenters at the 2019 Main and Student/ECR Retreats

More than 11 events were organised jointly with ACEMS members and industry, government, and/or end-users in 2019, as detailed in the table below.

Event Title Location
AutoStat Research Week 2019: Frontiers in Statistical Research and Practice: A three-day training event with interactive case studies and talks from leaders in the field and workshops on statistics and machine learning using the world’s most advanced data science platform, AutoStat. Brisbane
Data Science Down Under - Recent Advances: The aim of the workshop was to bring together Australian researchers and practitioners as well as key international academics in areas related to data science, including mathematics, statistics and computer science, to discuss recent advancements, share ideas and foster new local and international collaborations. Newcastle
Brisbane Cancer Atlas Workshop: “Cancer Atlas and You” by ACEMS AI Susanna Cramb. This workshop highlighted the key findings from the Cancer Atlas, gave insights into the methods and data used, and answered the question: what do the results mean for you? Brisbane

Data Science for Social Good: A workshop for exploring challenges, potential solutions, successes, and future research directions using data science for social good. Speakers:

  1. Keynote by Sir Peter Donnelly (CEO of Genomics; University of Oxford and Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics; and former ACEMS Governance Advisory Board member): “Using Genomics to Understand an Individual’s Risk for Common Diseases; 
  2. Kristian Lum (Human Rights Data Analysis Group): “Statistical challenges in casualty estimation” during a conflict (for reasons including historical memory, retrospective policy analysis, and assigning culpability for human rights violations);
  3. Logan Graham (Rhodes Artificial Intelligence Lab): “Progressing by Regressing: Building ML-for-Good Teams”;
  4. Jacqueline Davis (Food4Cities, Amsterdam): “Food security in Africa: Food4Cities”;
  5. Louise Ryan (ACEMS CI, UTS): “Statistics and Public Policy” strategies for helping policy makers take account of uncertainty;
  6. Nial Friel (Insight, Ireland): “A statistical analysis of the company-director network of Irish companies 2003-2013: towards understanding the financial crash”;
  7. Antonietta Mira (USI, Switzerland): “Network data science for social good”;
  8. Susanna Cramb (ACEMS AI, QUT): “Australian Cancer Atlas”;
  9. Jacinta Holloway (ACEMS PhD student and Research Assistant, QUT): “Satellite image analysis to monitor Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”;
  10. Julie Vercelloni (ACEMS AI, QUT): “Virtual Reef Diver” online platform harnessing citizen science for the Reef;
  11. Joshua Bon (ACEMS PhD student, QUT): “Sunny Street Vollie: Simple Stats for Nonprofit Sunny Street” (healthcare for homeless and vulnerable people) to identify community needs and demonstrate impact; and
  12. Mark Lawrence (Mark Lawrence Group and ACEMS Affiliate Member): “The Effective and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence in Australia: Opportunities, Challenges and Risks in Financial Services”.

ACEMS (co-)hosted or took part in 13 “Women in Mathematics Day” events around Australia during 2019. Learn more about these events here and our related podcast episode here

Locations around Australia

The 20th INFORMS Applied Probability Society Conference

Caption: A snippet from the conference website with ACEMS members highlighted.  The Centre also sponsored the conference. (Source: )

Propensity score methods for estimating causal effects in non-experimental studies: The why, what, and how Sydney
Semiparametric regression with R Sydney
The 16th Workshop on Algorithms and Models for the Web Graph Brisbane
Workshop New Trends in Integrable Systems Osaka (Japan)
2019 ROpenSci OzUnconference – hackathon in R programming language Melbourne
Git 101 Workshop (at the 2019 ROpenSci OzUnconference) Melbourne

ACEMS members at the INFORMS Applied Probability Conference

ACEMS researchers and PhD students presenting at “Data Science for Social Good” on ways in which mathematics, statistics and data science can benefit society. From top left to bottom right: ACEMS Deputy Director Kerrie Mengersen welcomes attendees; ACEMS speakers Joshua Bon, Julie Vercelloni, Susanna Cramb, Louise Ryan and Jacinta Holloway.

ACEMS members delivered 15 presentations to external organisations across industry, government, non-profit, and research, as detailed in the table below.

Of these, at least 11 comprised an ‘industry briefing’, being for the primary purpose of knowledge transfer or research translation to a targeted audience including research collaborators or end users.

ACEMS Member Briefings and Presentations to External Organisations in 2019

Summary of Briefing or Presentation Key Participants from ACEMS and Organisation
Australian Department of Social Services (DSS) Briefing: Presentation of Project Results to Management
ACEMS researchers: (1) completed an overview of the results of the DSS benchmarking project to senior management of Data Exchange Branch; and (2) presented the results of peer grouping and measure adjustment methods development.
ACEMS: Daniel Kennedy, Kerrie Mengersen and Jess Cameron.
DSS (Data Exchange Branch) members: Claire Weekes, Daniel Oehm and Rob Stedman.
Australian Department of Social Services (DSS) Briefing: Presentation of Theory, Code & Methodology
ACEMS researchers presented an analyst-level overview of the code and methodology developed for the DSS benchmarking project. This included an explanation of the necessary theory including Bayesian statistics and Dirichlet Process mixture modelling, and a run-through of the procedure to fit and interpret these models.
ACEMS: Daniel Kennedy and Jess Cameron.
DSS (Data Exchange Branch): Claire Weekes and Daniel Oehm.
The Developing Foundation Inc.
(established in 1978 by families seeking appropriate treatment for a loved one with brain injury or developmental disability)
Briefing: PhD Project Work
ACEMS PhD student Trish Gilholm collaborates with The Developing Foundation to develop and apply Bayesian personalised predictive models to create developmental profiles and assess treatment options for children with disabilities. She briefed The Developing Foundation on the modelling, process, and results of her latest paper, being on clustering developmental milestones using Bayesian methods. Together, they discussed ways to implement and extend the model, and the potential implications of the insights for the work The Developing Foundation undertakes.
ACEMS: Trish Gilholm.
The Developing Foundation: Hugh McKenzie.
Queensland Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) – Water Quality Team DES Briefing/Workshop Sessions 1 and 2 (Water Quality):
ACEMS members presented the different types of uncertainties relevant to nutrient load estimates within sediment.  In the two workshops, participants also prioritised and ranked the potential sources of uncertainty associated with load estimates.
ACEMS: Shovanaur Haque, Kerrie Mengersen, Erin Peterson, James McGree and Catherine Leigh.
Department of Environmental Sciences: Ryan Turner and Catherine Neelamraju.
Queensland Department of Environmental Sciences – Air Quality Team DES Briefing/Workshop Sessions 1 and 2 (Air Quality):
ACEMS members conducted a short series of information and knowledge exchange sessions with the Air Quality team at DES. These sessions focused on air quality data and anomaly detection methods with the view to developing a pilot project based on previous work with the water quality investigations team at DES on anomaly detection.
ACEMS: Catherine Leigh, Erin Peterson, Kerrie Mengersen and James McGree.
Session1: Christian Witte and Steven Torr.
Session 2: Christian Witte, Don Neale, Tahlia Duncan and Esther O'Brien.
Metro South Health: Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Briefing: Presentation and discussion of Collaborative Research Outcomes (Year 1)
ACEMS members have collaborated with four public hospital emergency departments (Logan, Redland, QE-II and Princess Alexandra) in Metro South Health, Queensland. Outcomes from the first year of project were presented in one of the research group meetings held at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
ACEMS: Kalpani Ishara Duwalage and Gentry White.
The audience included project collaborators, including: Ellen Burkett, research clinicians from PA hospital, and HDRs from UQ.
NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer (OCSE) Briefing: Decision-Making Tools and Processes Presentation, and a Collaborative Workshop
ACEMS Chief Investigator Professor Louise Ryan: gave presentations on (1) strategies for addressing uncertainty in decision making; (2) use of innovative RShiny tools in the decision-making process, for interactive analysis of groundwater aquifer levels; and (3) participated in a workshop at NSW OCSE to discuss decision making around water allocation plans.
ACEMS: Louise Ryan.
NSW OCSE: Chris Armstrong.
Queensland Academy of Sports (QAS)
Swimming Australia Limited (SAL)
Briefing 1 on research projects
Briefing to QAS and SAL of early work by joint postdoc and student projects, including on: career trajectories; relay modelling; and winning time modelling.
ACEMS: Paul Wu, Kerrie Mengersen, Chris Drovandi, Edgar Santos-Fernandez, Toktam Babaei, Michael O'Shea and Lawrence Garufi.
QAS: Christine Voge and Lachlan Mitchell.
SAL: Mark Osborne.
Queensland Academy of Sports (QAS)
Swimming Australia Limited (SAL)
Briefing 2 on research projects
ACEMS members and students presented modelling outcomes and new insights for prototypes: career trajectory and relay modelling; relay results; and winning time model.
ACEMS: Paul Wu, Kerrie Mengersen, Chris Drovandi, Toktam Babaei, Michael O'Shea and Lawrence Garufi.
QAS: Christine Voge.
SAL: Mark Osborne and Paul Azzopardi.
Defence Science Technology Group (DST Group) Research Capabilities Presentation and Workshop
ACEMS Chief Investigator Professor Kate Smith-Miles was invited to present on research capability at a workshop run by DST Group in Sydney for Modelling Complex Warfighting.
ACEMS: Kate Smith-Miles.
Various DST Group attendees.
The College of Law
(Professional Education Body)
Workshop 1 for Legal Practitioners
ACEMS Affiliate Professor Nick Fisher applies performance measurement research to help practitioners.  This workshop was focused on "Understanding and improving your client’s experience".
ACEMS: Nicholas Fisher.
The College of Law: Chris Lemercier, Assistant Director Practitioner Education (Professional Development).
The College of Law
(Professional Education Body)
Workshop 2 for Legal Practitioners
ACEMS Affiliate Professor Nick Fisher applies research to help practitioners. This workshop was focused on "Corporate Culture, Due Diligence and Board reports: some thoughts on their interaction".
ACEMS: Nicholas Fisher.
The College of Law: Chris Lemercier, Assistant Director Practitioner Education (Professional Development).
Australian Academy of Science (AAS): National Committee for the Mathematical Sciences Committee Decadal Plan Reports & Meeting
As Chair of the National Committee for the Mathematical Sciences, ACEMS Chief Investigator Professor Peter Forrester prepared and presented key documentation relating to the Decadal Plan reports and committee meeting.
ACEMS: Peter Forrester.
AAS: Meaghan Dzunda.

ACEMS encourages and celebrates a culture of research engagement and impact. The table below lists awards received by ACEMS members in 2019 for success in these domains; the full list of members’ awards is here. The ACEMS awards were announced at the Annual Retreat to celebrate a culture valuing engagement with external stakeholders and research impact.

Engagement and Impact Awards Received by ACEMS Members

Award Awarding Body ACEMS Recipient(s)
Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science Australian Museum Finalist: Virtual Reef Diver team
Excellence in Research, End-User Impact UNSW Dr Tomasz Bednarz
ANZIAM Medal ANZIAM Professor Peter Taylor
Ren Potts Medal Australian Society for Operations Research Professor Kate Smith-Miles
Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards - Regional award for ‘Spatial Enablement’ category Survey and Spatial Sciences Institute Australian Cancer Atlas team
Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards – Regional award for ‘People & Community’ Survey and Spatial Sciences Institute Virtual Reef Diver team
ACEMS Impact and Engagement Award (Group) ACEMS Australian Cancer Atlas team
ACEMS Impact and Engagement Award ACEMS Dr Steve Psaltis
Learn more about the winners celebrated in these awards by clicking on the links above.

Recipients of ACEMS awards presented by Director Peter Taylor at the Annual Retreat dinner (L-R): Steve Psaltis; and Australian Cancer Atlas team representatives Kerrie Mengersen and Farzana Jahan.

Peter Taylor (left) receiving the ANZIAM Medal from Professor Phil Howlett