Respected Business researchers honoured as Fellows of Academy of Social Sciences of Australia

Three of Monash Business School’s most respected researchers have today (Wednesday 11 November) been elected as new Fellows of the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences of Australia (ASSA).

Head of the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Professor Rob Hyndman; Professor of Econometrics, Professor Gael Martin; and Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Economics, Professor Michael Shields, are among six Monash University academics to be recognised as Fellows.

The Academy of Social Sciences of Australia brings together more than 700 of the nation’s leading researchers and professionals across the social sciences disciplines. Each Fellow is elected by their peers based on a sustained and internationally distinguished contribution to their field. Just 38 new Fellows were elected in 2020.

Professor Hyndman’s work includes demand forecasting for the electricity industry, estimating life expectancy for the Australian indigenous population, and forecasting Australian tourism demand.

He has also been a recipient of the Dean's Award for excellence in innovation and external collaboration (2010), the HP Innovation Research Award (2010), the Vice Chancellor's Award for Postgraduate Supervision (2008) and the Dean's award for excellence in research (2008).

“It is a great honour to be elected a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. As a statistician working on new statistical methods, my work is inherently interdisciplinary, as I develop tools that are widely useful in many disciplines, including areas of social science such as demography, economics and political science,” Professor Hyndman said.

“Making statistics useful for practical purposes has always been part of my research agenda. I have been a strong proponent and developer of open source learning resources and open-source research tools. This helps translate my research into practice, and allows practitioners to implement the most recent research ideas.”

Professor Martin’s primary interest is in exploring statistical methods for complex dynamic models in economics and finance. The development, application and validation of Bayesian simulation-based methods is central to her research, with recent contributions made to the burgeoning field of approximate Bayesian computation.  She was an ARC Future Fellow from 2010 to 2013.

“My interest is not just in methods of inference and computation, but also prediction. My current work provides a new way of producing accurate predictions when the predictive model does not match reality. This is most pertinent to the social and economic sciences, where statistical data arise through human activities and interactions that one cannot hope to adequately capture with a mathematical model,” Professor Martin said.

“Critically, most of my research is co-authored, and I acknowledge the significant contributions of my wonderful collaborators, both in Australia and overseas, including PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Being elected as a Fellow is a great honour for me, but is also a testament to their efforts and talent.”

Research undertaken by Professor Shields is primarily in the areas of applied health and labour economics. He has worked on a wide range of topics including life satisfaction, socioeconomic inequalities in health, mental illness, substance abuse, measuring health status, intra-household allocation, labour market discrimination, nursing labour markets and immigration.

He recently held an ARC Future Fellowship, and is currently working on ARC grants focusing on social isolation, loneliness and mental health.

“My most recent studies have focused on the links between local area economic conditions and health, the characteristics of individuals who are resilient, the effect of spousal bereavement on loneliness and social isolation, the impact of job insecurity on health, and how economic preferences are related to health status,” Professor Shields said.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to contribute to and be recognised as a Fellow of the renowned Australian Academy of Social Sciences.”

Professor Kate Burridge (Professor of Linguistics in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics), Professor Jude McCulloch (Professor of Criminology and Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre), and Professor Andrea Whittaker (Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences) were also recognised as ASSA Fellows.