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(Thursday 6th, Evening)
Master of ceremonies: Susan Starkings

Training statisticians for working in public affairs



Statistics play a critical part in public affairs, for example through official statistics, evaluating scientific research, validating evidence in courts, weather forecasting and audit selection. The immediacy of the internet, the all pervasiveness of the news media, and an increasing capacity for measurement have brought a dramatic shift in the capacity to record, access and transfer information and experiences. This can often place the statistician in the hot seat. Are statisticians being equipped for managing the political consequences when they judge the limits to measurability? Has the increased specialisation of statistical work diminished the flexibility of practising statisticians? The presentation considers these and other questions, to provide some basis for finding ways to better develop statisticians for these challenges, and so retain both our relevance, and the trust of the public.

Key sections of paper

  • Situations where statistical practice is a major influence in public affairs
  • Some features of the times we are in
  • Broader context that makes statistical measurement more challenging
  • Explaining the limits to measurability
  • Influencing the place of the statistician within institutions
  • Development needs that could influence the place and impact of statisticians
  • Looking ahead to the time of ICOTS 10