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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

4th Edition

R without Fear: Applied R for Biologists

June 4th-8th, 2018, Barcelona (Spain)

Statistics and Bioinformatics

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R without Fear- Applied R for Biologists

Course overview

In this course the students will learn how to use R to solve the most common tasks faced by the statistical practitioner. After reviewing basic R syntax, we will cover practical issues in statistical analysis: Data manipulation, data analysis using regression methods –from simple linear regression to generalized linear models– and data visualization.

In this learn-by-doing course we will start each section with an introduction to the statistical concepts that we will study. Then, the students will start practicing the newly acquired concepts working in the R environment, either by examining code examples or by solving exercises.

The course directed towards students who have a base experience in R and statistics but wish to develop or improve their skills, but it is not targeted to participants with extensive or none experience in R. By the end of the course the students will be able to use R to undertake most of their own statistical analysis with proficiency.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

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

How to get there


June 4th-8th, 2018




35 hours on-site.

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

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


Places are limited to 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

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



Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows, Macintosh, Linux) with the last version of R and RStudio installed on it.

Basic knowledge of statistics and familiarity with R is needed to follow the course. Regarding the later, you are expected to be able to do the following tasks in R:

  • Installing and executing R and RStudio.
  • Getting help.
  • Executing R commands.
  • Loading packages.
  • Setting a working directory.
  • Understanding the basic data structures (vector, list, matrix, data frame, array) and knowing how to create them.
  • Assignment (i.e. assigning a value or a data structure to a name).
  • Subsetting data structures ($, [, [[, subset, %in%).
  • Simple arithmetic manipulations.
  • Logical operators (&, |, !).
  • Comparison operators (!=, ==, >, >=, <, <=).
  • Create R scripts.
  • How to comment in R.

If you have doubts about your level of R, please contact the course course coordinators.


Monday, June 4th, 2018.

  • Introduction to R and RStudio.
    • Brief introduction to R.
    • Review of R basics.
    • The RStudio environment.
    • Reproducible research: R scripts and R markdown.
  • Data manipulation I.
    • Read your data: Local vs. remote location.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018.

  • Data manipulation II.
    • Tidy your data.
    • Manage your data.
    • R Pipelines.
    • Summarize your data.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018.

  • Regression models I.
    • Linear regression.
    • Multiple linear regression.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018.

  • Regression models II.
    • ANOVA.
    • Generalized linear model.
    • Non-linear model.

Friday, June 8th, 2018.

  • Data visualization with ggplot2.
    • Grammar of graphics.
    • The ggplot.
    • Basic visualizations (regressions, bar plots, error bars…).
    • Customize the ggplot.


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until March 31st, 2018):
  • 480
  • Regular (after March 31st, 2018):
  • 600
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).

20 % discount will be applied to your fee If you belong to any of the Institutions listed HERE. 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 coordinator).


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

3rd Edition, September 4th-8th, 2017

Course R without Fear: Applied R for Biologists - 3rd Edition, September 4th-8th, 2017Fourteen people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Spain: Institut de Biologia Evolutiva – CSIC – Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universidad de Vigo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad de Córdoba, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont.
  • France: Roscoff Marine Station – Pierre and Marie Curie University – CNRS.
  • United Kingdom: Liverpool John Moores University, University of Nottingham, University of Greenwich.
  • Chile: Universidad Católica del Norte.
  • Russia: Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University.
  • Italy: Università degli Studi di Firenze.

2nd Edition, September 19th-23rd, 2016

Course R without Fear: Applied R for Biologists - 2nd Edition, September 19th-23rd, 2016Eighteen people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Austria: University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.
  • France: Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnements Méditerranéens – CNRS.
  • Ireland: University College Dublin.
  • Poland: University of Szczecin.
  • Spain: Universitat de Barcelona, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea “La Mayora”, Fundación Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados IMDEA Agua, Universidad de Alicante, Autonomous University of Madrid, Laboratorios Ordesa, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries.
  • The Netherlands: Leiden University.
  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
  • United Kingdom: University of Sussex, Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew.

1st Edition, September 21st-25th, 2015

Course R without Fear: Applied R for Biologists - 1st Edition, September 21st-25th, 2015Twenty-four people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Tunisia: University of Gabes.
  • United Kingdom: East Malling Research, University of Nottingham, Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew.
  • Malta: University of Malta.
  • Lithuania: Vilnius University.
  • Denmark: Moesgaard Museum, University of Copenhagen.
  • Colombia: Universidad del Valle.
  • Spain: Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología – CSIC, Universidad de Murcia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History – Max Planck Society, Museum für Naturkunde – Berlin.
  • Estonia: Estonian Biocentre.
  • Italy: Second University of Naples.
  • Unites States of America: University of Washington, Burke Museum.
  • Poland: Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences.


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