'Start using R' for health scientists 2019-2020

Target group

Engaged researchers and students, willing to learn the R programming language. Students who are interested in performing reproducible research through automatic reporting and in creating high quality graphs.


Beginners level. Participants will be asked to engage in self-study (2 hours/week).


Roos Colman, Biostatistics Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University,  statcel@ugent.be

Format & Content

All sessions will be highly interactive. The sessions will start with a short introduction, followed by exercises where students are encouraged to write their own code, with the support of the lecturers.  Participants will be asked to engage in self-study (using the book “R for dummies”). Exercises related to health sciences will be discussed.

The course will be offered through six interactive sessions. Programming in R will be learned progressively through a combination of intense guidance by statistical experts and by self-study.  
During the first sessions, we will learn to import and manipulate data and to perform some basic statistical analyses.  Once we have mastered the basics, we will use the ggplot2 package to discover the excellent graphical capabilities of R. Moreover we will see some introductory applications of RMarkdown to set our first steps in automatic reporting, a key ingredient for reproducible research.
Examples will be largely from health sciences.


Roos Colman

  • Roos Colman obtained a “Master in Biomedical Sciences” and a” Master of Statistical Data Analysis”, both at Ghent University. Since 2012 she has been working at the Biostatistics Unit of the Faculty of Medicine and Health sciences as a statistical consultant. She provides statistical advice and support to researchers and students and is involved in several statistical trainings.


    The specialist course will take place from 9:30h till 12h00 on:

    • April 2020: 24 +
    • May 2020: 8, 15, 29 +
    • June 2020: 5 and 12 .

    Participants will be asked to engage in self-study (2 hours/week).


    • UZ campus - K3 (entrance 42), first floor- PC room 1.1 - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium


    • April 24, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    Exploring R and Rstudio
    Constructing and working with vectors
    Importing SPSS datasets

    • May 8, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    Getting help
    Reading Excel and csv datasets
    Data manipulation: creating variables, creating subsets, sorting and ordering

    • May 15, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    Summarizing data

    • May 29, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    Basic statistical tests in R

    • June 5, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    High quality graphs using ggplot2

    • June 12, 2020 from 9:30h - 12h00

    Automatic reporting: Introduction to R Markdown


    Registration link: https://eventmanager.ugent.be/usingrhealthsc

    Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

    Participants are required to be present and participate actively during at least 5 out of 6 sessions.

    Registration fee

    The course is free of charge for members of the Doctoral Schools of UGent.

    Number of participants

    A maximum number of 18 participants can subscribe to allow highly interactive sessions in a pc room.