June 2021

New Graduates!

In the past month and this coming month we have quite a few students coming in to SMS. Some are working remotely and we hope to see them in the department soon. Others have been with us a while and will be familiar faces around the School Ellen Hammatt: Ellen completed her Masters with SMS earlier in the year but has now started her PhD with us. She is working with Noam and Rod while also continuing some lecturing and tutoring work. Her previous work was titled "Collapse in a Transfinite Hierarchy of Turing Degrees" and she will be continuing her exploration in higher computability. Malcolm Jones: Malcolm will be returning to SMS in the start of July. He has also completed his Masters with us and will be moving on to PhD work. Previously Malcolm worked alongside Lisa and Astrid to complete his Masters on "Groupoids associated to inverse semigroups". Although his PhD topic is not yet confirmed, he will be continuing to work with Lisa - presumably in algebra, analysis and number theory again. Darcy Harcourt: Darcy has been with SMS for the duration of his undergraduate and honours years. He is now rejoining us to start work on his PhD. Darcy will be working with Budhi, starting next month. Dileepa Samankula: Dileepa is new to SMS and is joining us from Sri Lanka. This means she will be one of our remote students until boarders open up again - which will hopefully be soon! Dileepa will be working with Binh with a focus on Data Science.

Online Postgraduate Catch-up

As we have an increasing number of remote students in our cohort, it would be great to organize a regular catch up session so we can keep everyone in the loop and get to know each other. As we all have busy schedules, I think it would be best to aim for a monthly catch up session. But let me know if you want something more regular. Please complete the survey below so we can choose a time that suits as many of us as possible: http://vuw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7OiQMuURHEexbUO Responses will be collated on on the 5th July 2021.

In Person Postgraduate Catch-Up

As we are now distributed across various graduate offices, getting to know our colleagues can be challenging. A survey has been created so Caitlin can get an idea of the type of events you might be interested in so she can start planning some more social stuff in the future. Please note, some of things may be at your own cost but the School can help with room bookings, tea, coffee and biscuits where possible. Feel free to make additional suggestions. http://vuw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0IgX9axu9rR7q6O Responses will be collated on the 5th July 2021.

Call for Papers: Journal of the Royal Society Early Career Researchers Open Access Supplement

The Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand is planning an open access supplement with papers showcasing research conducted by early career researchers based in New Zealand. The planned scope for this supplement is wide and interdisciplinary in nature - highlighting the cutting edge contributions that will bring significant value to society in years to come. Early career researchers are individuals who are within 10 years of completing their highest qualification (PhD, Masters or similar). If you are interested in submitting a manuscript for the Journal - please send a preliminary title, indicative author liste and a short descriptibe title outlining the scope of your proposed manuscript (including 5-8 keywords) to the editorial office at publish@royalsociety.org.nz before the deadline on the 16th July 2021. For more information on the proposed timeline of the publication and the guest editorial team, please visit the Royal Society Page: https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/news/call-for-papers-special-issue-jrsnz-early-career-researcher/

Upcoming Events

3 Minute Thesis Competition

The 3MT Competition submission is due by the end of next Thursday (1st July, 11:59 pm).

Haven't started yet? It's never too late to start NOW!

For those who are still preparing, here is a summary of what to do for the 3MT talk:

• Create a clear, logical and compelling summary of your research.
• Highlight its significance, impact, results, outcomes,
conclusions (the audience will want to know, so what?).
• Speak to a general (intelligent) audience without ‘dumbing down’ your content.
• Avoid jargon. If you have important keywords, explain them.
• Be enthusiastic, engaging and professional.
• Use your time well.
• Think carefully about what you will put on your slide. (What will it be like for the audience to look at your slide?)

Submission Form

More Info (rules, prizes, etc)

NZIP & Physikos 2021 Conference 12-14 July (Queen Margaret College, Wellington)

This conference ties together the NZ Institute of Physics and the New Zealand Physics Teachers Conference. If you have an interest in physics and physics education - this could be the event for you. The conference is taking place over three days and has a broad range of physics topics, education adn research including:
  • nanotechnology
  • quantum optics
  • space physics
  • astrophysics
  • climate physics
  • medical imaging technology and materials
If you would like to check out the programme in more detail, check out the conference webpage. If you are interested in attending, have a chat to your supervisor about available registration support.

Ihaka Lecture Series 2021

The Ihaka lecture series is starting up again for 2021. The series is named after Ross Ihaka one of the two creators of the R programming language. The lectures are public lectures covering a wide range of topics relating to data analysis, statistics and computing with a wide variety of applications. The lectures will be streamed live here. You can also view previous lectures from 2017 onwards at the same link.

SMS will also be streaming them in CO350 on the relevant dates. Nibbles and drinks will be provided from 6pm prior to the start of each lecture. The lectures themselves start at 6:30pm and run for about an hour. See below for the lecture schedule and summaries:

Lecture 1: Data Science in the Connected Era - Dr Simon Urbanek (Department of Statistics, UoA)

Thursday 29th July 2021

Our world is increasingly interconnected, which has several implications. On the one hand it increases the amount and variety of data we can collect to make informed decisions and improve our lives, but also it allows us to perform data analyses without constraints related to the physical location of the data or compute infrastructure. Modern computer technologies such as cloud computing and the Web have given rise to social media, but in this talk we will explore the possibilities of leveraging them for visualisation and data analysis, connecting people with data across the world and fostering collaboration. We will illustrate the benefits of that approach using RCloud - a collaborative tool for data analysis and interactive visualisation which supports several data analytic languages, distributed computing, discovery, sharing and reproducible research. It allows us to analyse data collaboratively at a large scale and communicate results efficiently. Professor Simon Urbanek is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland. Simon obtained his PhD in Statistics from the Augsburg University, Germany in 2004 and has worked at AT&T Labs in Data Science and AI Research for 15 years, leading research and projects on large-scale data analysis in the areas of mobility networks, TV and advertising. His main interests are visualisation, interactive graphics, big data analytics, statistical and distributed computing. He is member of the R Core Development Team and author of numerous popular R packages including Rserve, multicore, rJava, iPlots, RJDBC and iotools.

Lecture 2: Implementing a Machine-Learning Tool to Support High-Stakes Decisions in Child Welfare: A case study in Human Centred AI - Professor Rhema Vaithianathan (Centre for Social Data Analytics, AUT)

Thursday 5th August 2021

Data analytics techniques like predictive risk modelling offer incredible opportunities to learn from rich data sets and make decisions supported by data. But while the private sector has been quick to realise the benefits of data analytics (especially as a tool to drive profitability), the public sector has moved much slower, despite needing new solutions to many wicked social problems. Professor Rhema Vaithianathan will reflect on what we can learn about applying data analytics in a trusted way, from the very different experiences of the private and public sectors. In particular, she will talk about different approaches to key concepts like consent, transparency, fairness and community voice and how they can contribute to project success or failure. She will go on to talk about new ‘rules of engagement’ that are emerging for social good uses of data analytics, drawing on her experiences implementing the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, a machine learning tool used to support screening of child abuse calls in Allegheny County, PA (United States) since 2016, and scaling out of this work in California and Colorado. Professor Vaithianathan is a Professor of Economics at Auckland University of Technology where she is director of the Centre for Social Data Analytics, a research centre focused on using data analytics for social impact. She is also a Professor of Social Data Analytics at the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland, where she leads a second node of the Centre
for Social Data Analytics.

Lecture 3: Modelling to support the COVID-19 response in Aotearoa New Zealand - Dr Rachelle Binny (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research and Te Pūnaha Matatini)

Thursday 12th August 2021

Mathematical models are playing an important role in the ongoing pandemic, providing insights into the spread of the virus and the effects of interventions to help inform response strategies. This seminar will give an overview of mathematical modelling by Te Pūnaha Matatini to support New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. We will describe the models used to simulate spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand, how they can help inform decisions on switching between Alert Levels, and how we are modelling the risk of new cases arriving at the border. Rachelle Binny is a mathematical biology researcher at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research in Christchurch NZ, and a Principle Investigator in Te Pūnaha Matatini, the NZ Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems and Networks. Her research lies at the interface of mathematics, statistics and biology and is data-driven. Following a BSc in Mathematical Biology (University of Dundee, Scotland), she undertook a PhD (University of Canterbury, Christchurch) to develop new models of collective cell behaviour in wound healing, and calibrate these using experimental data. After completing her PhD in 2015, she spent two years as a postdoc at Manaaki Whenua (a Crown Research Institute for environment and biodiversity) before taking on a Researcher position there. Rachelle’s current research combines modelling theory with data from ecological systems to guide conservation management.

Scholarship Opportunities

Betty Loughhead Soroptimist Scholarship 2022

Soroptimist International exists to inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls. The Betty Loughhead Soroptimist Scholarship provides financial assistance to women who are studying for a qualification to:
  • enter or re-enter the workforce; or
  • change occupation
Who can apply? Women who are:
  • New Zealand citizens
  • At least 25 years old on 1 September 2021
  • Enrolled in an NZQA approved education programme, undertaken in NZ
  • Have a proven record of academic achievement
  • Able to use the scholarship in the 2022 academic year
Download an application form at: www.blsst.co.nz Applications open on 1 June 2021 and close on 31 August 2021

Sir Robert Jones Refugee Daughters' Scholarship

The Sir Robert Jones Scholarship assists young women from refugee backgrounds to complete a university degree or tertiary qualification from an approved tertiary institution. This philanthropic gift is for young women who aspire to a tertiary qualification, but are denied the opportunity because of family circumstances. Tuition fees are paid for full-time study and university hostel accommodation is paid for two years if the student attends a tertiary institution away from home. Applications close on the 16th July 2021. For more information, Please check out the RASNZ website.

Capstone Editing Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women

This grant provides woment with up to AUD$5000 (approx NZD$5367) for one academic year towards costs associated with a research project leading towards a publication. The fund may be used for a broad range of research related costs with examples listed on the grant page. As part of the application, you will need to outline the scope of your project and what you plan to use the funds for, along with evidence of involved costs. Applications are open until the 7th July 2021. Check your eligibility and apply on the grant webpage: https://www.capstoneediting.com.au/research-grant

Capstone Editing Laptop Grant for Postgraduate Coursework Students

This grant provides AUD$3000 (NZD$3220 approx.) for a postgraduate student to purchase a computer, laptop or software. The grant comes as a Harvey Norman voucher. Applications are open until 26th July 2021. Check the eligibility criteria on the grant webpage: https://www.capstoneediting.com.au/laptop-grant

Capstone Editing Research Scholarship for Honours Students

This scholarship provides AUD$3000 (NZD$3220 approx.) to honours students to assist with thesis research. This scholarship can be used to cover any research related costs - including textbooks, travel to a conference, field trips, thesis editing etc. As part of the application, you will need to outline how the funds are to be used and evidence of associated costs. Applications are open until 3 July 2021. For information on eligibility criteria, please check the grant webpage: https://www.capstoneediting.com.au/honours-scholarship

Capstone Editing Grant for Professional Thesis Editing

This grant will provide funding to one Masters student and one PhD student. This grant will cover all costs associated with thesis editing, with no wordcount limit (as long as it meets your universities submission wordcount limit). Applications are assessed on academic merit and financial need. Check out eligibility criteria on the grant webpage: https://www.capstoneediting.com.au/thesis-grant Applications close on the 9 September 2021.

Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarship

This scholarship aims to build human capability in pure or applied sciences and the social sciences by providing early career support for New Zealand researchers who demonstrate a passion for science and technology. Successful applicants will receive £14777 (NZD$29053 approx.) living allowance per year, along with their course and college fees. The scholarship also includes one return airdare between the UK and NZ per annum. Funding is for a maximum of 3 years. Applications close on the 5th August 2021. For more information, please visit the Scholarship page: https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/rutherford-foundation/funding-opportunities/cambridge-rutherford-memorial-scholarship

Sir Hugh Kawharu Masters Scholarship for Innovation in Science

This scholarship aims to support and encourage Masters level study by Māori students in the sciences. This scholarship is for $10 000 to be used at masters level in a sciences subject. Applications are open until 31st August 2021. Please check out the Royal Society page for more information and eligibility criteria: https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/the-sir-hugh-kawharu-masters-scholarship-for-innovation-in-science/

Freemasons University Scholarship

Freemasons University Scholarships are aimed at students with an above average academic record and a commitment to their community. Postgraduate scholarships are worth $10 000 each. Prior association with Freemasonry is not a criterion to receive the award. Applications close on the 1st October 2021. For more information, check out the application form.