Public servant embarks on productive PhD in mathematics

Working hard or hardly working? This is the question Joseph Chien hopes to answer when he starts his PhD with the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute next year.

Joseph has just been awarded the prestigious Sir Roland Wilson scholarship, which is offered annually to high-performing Australian public servants looking to conduct research in areas of public interest.

“I am the first person from the ABS in the program which is very exciting,” says Joseph.

“In the past the scholarship has mostly been awarded to treasury, defence, attorney-generals and also environment, immigration and social services. This is the first time that the ABS participated in this and I was very grateful for the opportunity and obviously very happy to be the first winner.”

As a Director in the Methodology Transformation Branch at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Joseph will focus his research at ANU on exploring the micro-drivers of productivity.

“My research is really about trying to make better use of government administrative data. I realised that I really wanted to use this administrative data to understand the micro-drivers of productivity,” he says.

Joseph explains that the Sir Roland Wilson scholarship doesn’t just pave the way for useful and meaningful research, but it also produces future leaders and creates strong collaboration between the ANU and the Australian Government.

“This scholarship provides a great opportunity to really create a network of scholars. It’s also great for the government sector as well, to have someone bring their close connections with the research community back to the department.”

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