Biostatistician, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

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Biostatistician, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre 2016-10-15T05:47:55+00:00

Project Description

Academic Level A/B
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is seeking expressions of interest for the position of Biostatistician. This position will contribute high level statistical expertise to a project grant funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council examining the global epidemiology of drug and alcohol use disorders using existing data from the World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative.
The WMH Survey Initiative is a project coordinating the implementation and analysis of general population epidemiologic surveys of mental, substance use, and behavioural disorders in countries in all World Health Organization Regions. The WMH Survey Consortium includes nationally or regionally representative surveys in 31 countries, representing all regions of the world.
The successful applicant will be responsible for applying sophisticated statistical techniques to drug and alcohol data gathered from surveys carried out in 31 countries around the world from over 160,000 people. Specifically, this project has the following aims:
1. Estimate the incidence, prevalence, persistence and remission of alcohol and illicit substance use (e.g. cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and opioids) and use disorders across 31 countries;
2. Examine patterns and predictors of transitions from use to symptom onset, from symptom onset to substance abuse and dependence, and transition to remission, considering country-level variation;
3. Using novel data mining methods, develop an algorithm to predict substance users at highest risk of developing substance use disorders, and further identify subgroups within those highest-risk groups who may differ in clinically meaningful ways.
The Chief Investigators on this project, who will work closely with the successful applicant, are Professor Louisa Degenhardt (NDARC) and Professor Ron Kessler (Harvard University), co-director of the WMHS initiative.
The successful applicant will have the opportunity to receive in-house training from experienced biostatisticians at Harvard University, Boston, USA. They will then be based at NDARC where they will carry out remote statistical analysis accessing the Harvard Medical School WMH Server. They will also attend an annual remote analyst meeting in Boston for two weeks. Statistical analysis will include, but is not limited to, regression modelling, survival analysis, causal modelling and modern data mining techniques. The successful applicant will also be responsible for data management, variable construction and will ensure that all tables, figures and text accurately reflect the results of any given analysis.
The successful applicant will have a minimum Masters or equivalent degree in statistics, biostatistics or other quantitative discipline and will have strong, demonstrated skills in statistical analysis of complex survey data. Candidates outside the health sciences field who have qualifications and experience with machine learning and/or data mining techniques will also be considered. At least three years demonstrated experience programming in SAS is essential. The successful applicant will also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
This is a full-time, fixed term (35 hours per week) position available for 12 months, with the possibility of renewal for up to three years.

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