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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

3rd Edition

Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R Shiny

March 23rd-27th, 2020, Barcelona (Spain)

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Due to the current situation and restrictions regarding traveling, this course has been postponed. The course will be rescheduled at a later stage when the outbreak has calmed down. If you want to receive information on the new date please SUBSCRIBE to our Newsletter.

Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R ShinyCourse Overview

This course is for individuals considering developing Shiny apps to deliver their research. Thus, the goal will be to teach the skills necessary to translate static products (your current analysis in R) to dynamic products delivered via a simple web-based graphic-user interface.

After a brief survey of the available basic tools (widgets such as slider bars, check boxes, and pick lists), we will move quickly to learn more advanced interactive features.

Activities interspersed throughout the class will provide hands-on practice with sample biological and ecological data. By the end of the course, students will have built a portfolio of example code and will have designed, constructed, and published at least one example Shiny app.

Why Shiny?

Shiny turns static data products into interactive web apps. With interactive and reactive data visualizations, your audience directly engages with your data for stronger communication and better understanding. The Shiny apps can easily be launched directly to the web via shinyapps.io or Shiny Server to be run by anyone (they don’t need to download your data or have R!).

Other Shiny examples: K-means (statistics), TreeViewer (visualization of phylogenetic trees), Word Cloud (generator of word clouds).


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


March 23rd-27th, 2020




35 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School and ForBio.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 15 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Ashton Drew instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Ashton Drew
KDV Decision Analysis LLC
United States of America


Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


This course is suitable for students that already have the basic R skills to open data and run analyses or build a basic figure – but who have no or limited prior experience with Shiny. A laptop with current versions of R and R Studio installed. A list of packages to preinstall will be sent to participants before the course.


Monday, March 23rd, 2020. Orientation and Introduction to Shiny.

  • Morning: Getting everyone up and running.
    • Overview of course procedures and expectations.
    • Demonstration of Shiny products.
    • Free publishing options with ShinyUI and RPub.
  • Afternoon: A First Shiny App.
    • Basic components: User Interface and Server components.
    • Overview of available widgets (slider bars, pick lists, check boxes, etc.).
    • Build basic apps: Use simple published examples as a guide, transcribe the code to work with a new dataset.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020. Focus on the User Interface.

  • Morning: Common applications of Shiny (more practice with widgets).
    • More practice with basic widgets to select parameters, subset data, etc.
    • Build a basic Shiny app for your own data (or a class sample dataset).
  • Afternoon: Dashboard Design Tools and Options.
    • UI layout autoscaling vs. absolute position.
    • Tabs and navigation bars.
    • Conditional panels.
    • More hands-on practice with your own data (or a class sample dataset).

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020. Focus on Shiny Server.

  • Morning: Putting the right code in the right places.
    • What happens when you run Shiny? (and where are all your data objects?).
    • Where and when to load data, libraries, and functions.
    • Troubleshooting common problems.
  • Afternoon: Reactive Programming.
    • Base reactivity on project selection, data subset selection, or parameter selection.
    • Use submit and isolate to manage conditional reactivity.
    • Add a reactive element and submit button to your Shiny app built on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 26th, 2020. More Reactivity and More Practice.

  • Morning: Interactive Plots.
    • Use click, double click, hover, and brush to select data subsets from a plot.
    • Build interactive plot using base plot and ggplot with your own data (or a class sample dataset).
    • Build an interactive plot using ggplot with your own data (or a class sample dataset).
    • Add code to print results of an interactive session.
  • Afternoon: More hands-on practice and catch-up.
    • Successfully complete at least one of five possible exercises to ensure understanding and practice troubleshooting.

Friday, March 27th, 2020. Publishing Shiny Material.

  • Morning: Simple Sharing.
    • Advice on file managemet for easy sharing.
    • Orientation to RStudio’s hosting service, Shinyapps.io.
    • Brief comments on other advanced sharing options (Shiny Server, GitHub, etc.).
    • Share one of your apps with a classmate using zipped folder or Shinyapps.io.
  • Afternoon: Shiny with R Markdown (Optional, or more practice building example apps).
    • Intergrating Shiny content into R Markdown documents.
    • Publishing results of reactive programming to an R Markdown report.


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until December 31st, 2019):
  • 491 *

    (392.8 for Ambassador Institutions)

  • Regular (after December 31st, 2019):
  • 598 *

    (488 for Ambassador Institutions)

  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions HERE. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.org.

Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinators).


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain). Take a look at the venue.

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.



Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Furthermore, a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in Spain, as well as PhD students based in Spain without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.

Previous editions of this course


Course Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R Shiny - 1st Edition 2017 (Barcelona, Spain)

Course Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R Shiny - 1st Edition 2017


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