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Invited Speakers

The 60th South African Statistical Association Conference is privileged to host as our invited speakers Professor Berthold Lausen, Doctor Saralees Nadarajah and Professor Louise Ryan. In addition we welcome Professor Jim Ridgway as a guest of the  SASA Education Committee.

Professor Berthold Lausen

University of Essex, UK


Research areas: biostatistics, classification, clinical research, computational statistics, data analysis, data science, epidemiology, public health, systems biology

Doctor Saralees Nadarajah

University of Manchester, UK


Saralees Nadarajah is at the School of Mathematics, University of Manchester, UK.

His research interests include climate modeling, extreme value theory, distribution theory, information theory, sampling and experimental designs, and reliability.

He is an author/co-author of four books, and has over 800 refereed journal papers published or accepted.  He has held positions in Florida, California, and Nebraska.

Professor Louise Ryan

University of Technology Sydney, Australia


Louise Ryan grew up a small country town in Australia.  After completing her undergraduate degree at Macquarie University in Sydney in 1979, she left for the USA to pursue her PhD in the Harvard Statistics Department.  In 1983, she joined the Harvard Biostatistics Department as a postdoctoral fellow, joint with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  She was promoted to Assistant professor in 1985, full professor in 1995 and finally the Henry Pickering Walcott Professor and Chair of the Department.  Louise returned home in 2009 as Chief of the Division of Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s peak scientific research body.  She joined University of Technology Sydney as a Distinguished Professor of Statistics in 2012. 

Louise is well known for her methodological contributions to statistical methods for cancer and environmental health research.   She has been involved in a number of high profile studies sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, including assessing the environmental risks associated with exposure to arsenic in drinking water as well as assessing the health effects of methylmercury.  Some of her recent methodological work relates to the development of computationally and cost-efficient approaches to the design and analysis of complex spatial and longitudinal surveys.  She is presently working on an ambitious project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to integrate knowledge from multiple different studies of child growth development.

Louise has authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including Harvard’s Centennial Medal and elected Fellowship in the Australian Academy of Science as well as the National Academy of medicine in the United States.   She is a passionate advocate for the advancement of women and minorities in the statistical and mathematical sciences.  She is active in the profession, currently serving as President of the International Biometric Society. 

Professor Jim Ridgway

School of Education, Durham, UK,


The SASA Education Committee is proud to announce that one of the most prestigious Statistics Education specialists in the world, Prof Jim Ridgway, is coming to the annual SASA  conference, to be held from 26-29 November 2018 at the Florida campus, UNISA! 

Professor Jim Ridgway hails from the School of Education, Durham, UK, where he directs the SMART Centre – see  This centre aim to create novel interfaces to present multivariate data, and populate them with interesting data on topics such as educational attainment, sexually transmitted diseases, riots, drug and alcohol use by young people.  Jim is particularly interested in public understanding of arguments that involve data, and statistical literacy.  His current research focuses on reasoning with evidence, and data visualization.  A collaboration with the House of Commons Library led to the development an interactive data visualisation that presented a huge amount of information at constituency level ahead of the 2015 General Election – see  A current EU-funded project involves five countries in creating teaching materials at school and undergraduate levels that use data on inequality, migration, poverty and crime in a programme to develop statistically literacy - see

His other research interests include assessment and gender inequalities