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International symposium on current trends in modeling and software development in data science and Statistics

Organized jointly by SAMRC (South Africa) and Hasselt University (Belgium)

Cape Town, South Africa


Workshop and short course, 20/02-21/02: Online recourses and digital education platform for Data analysis, modeling and reporting using R, R studio and  R markdown.


Conference, 22/02-23/02: Current trends in modeling and software development in data science  and Statistics.


/ about

About us:

This 4 days meeting is jointly organized by the SAMRC Biostatistics Research Unit and UHasselt Data Science Institute and aims to bring together academic staff and researchers from academia, research institutes and government organizations from both South and North regions. Our aim is to provide a platform for a discussion about both scientific and development topics and to initiate South-South and North-South interactions  and engagement around these topics.​ The meeting in Cape Town in February is the opening event that is organized a part of VLIR-UOS eR-BioStat ITP project.  Eight other meetings will take place during 2024 to 2026.

The VLIR-UOS International Training Program: the eR-BioStat ITP - Development of local E-learning platforms in (bio)statistics

Biostatistics and Statistics are the building stones which are essential for scientific research work. Without good and wide knowledge of Biostatistics and Statistics (from here onward we use (bio)statistics), the research output is typically of low quality and could be misleading.  Many capacity building projects are devoted to capacity building of (bio)statistics via the development of new education programs in the South. However, typically, after the end of the project and the project budget, it becomes difficult to maintain the project deliverables and to maintain the education program developed within the project in the same quality level. The eR-BioStat ITP project is developed to overcome this problem and to ensure a sustainable and robust education program for (bio)statistics in the south by providing an E-learning platform which offers (free) education materials, ready to be used in the class, in (bio)statistics. Further, within the eR-BioStat ITP project we train the participants from three countries, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa (12 local universities in total) to develop their local version of the >eR-BioStat platform and in this way we will increase ownership and sustainability of the project outcome in the South after the end of the project. The output of the eR-BioStat ITP project can be easily transferred to local universities that are not included in the current project.

SAMRC Biostatistics unit:

The SAMRC’s Biostatistics Unit (BU) provides a source of biostatistics expertise and support to the organization’s network of medical and health researchers as well as government departments and national and international research bodies. It is an interdisciplinary unit with expertise in Biostatistics, GIS, Data Management and Food Science.


Key focus areas of the Biostatistics division of the Biostatistics Research Unit

  • Development of generic, innovative and rigorous statistical methodology to improve the design and analysis of health studies

  • Providing biostatistical leadership and expertise in collaborative health and medical related research projects

  • Providing relevant biostatistical knowledge and support to inform local, national and international public health policy through service on projects and review boards.


Building biostatistics capacity through postgraduate supervision and specialized training in South Africa and in the region.​

ICP connect & South meeting:

The ICP Master of Statistics awards scholarships to a select group of outstanding individuals to study under the Master of Statistics and Data Science programme at Hasselt University. It also involves initiatives in South countries including Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Indonesia, among others. Previous collaborations have led to the inception of a Center for Statistics in Mozambique and MSc programmes in (Bio)statistics and/or epidemiology in Cuba and Ethiopia. The main aim of the ICP programme is to continue our efforts in elevating our beneficiaries, including individual scholars and partner institutions, to international competitiveness.

 The ICP South Workshop is a yearly activity co-organized by the ICP Master of Statistics programme and a partner institution in the South. This is organized in a selected South country to facilitate knowledge exchange between different institutions among institutions/universities from the South and Hasselt University. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Evidence of a first degree in statistics, mathematics or computer science;  or health sciences with quantitative skills in statistics, mathematics, or computer science.

  • Involvement in Biostatistics teaching and training

  •  A limited number of travel scholarships to participate in the symposium will be awarded on a competitive basis to 10 applicants.

  • The travel award will cover flights, accommodation with bed and breakfast,


Course facilitation, conferencing and resources for the symposium  duration

  • Participation in the workshop & conference is possible without a scholarship as well. Limited places are available. To apply, fill in the application form below.


What's next ?

Follow us on social media to get more information on the next >eR-BioStat ITP meeting, early in summer 2024,  in Moi University, Kenya.


Invited speakers


Short courses


Social event



network event



A link to follow the workshop & conference online (day 1) is available here

Meeting ID: 345 573 954 112  Passcode: KotxFb


A link to all course materials are available here.


09:00-09:30:   Registration and welcome coffee.

09:30-09:45: Tarylee Reddy (SA-MRC, South Africa): Wellcome.

09:45-11:00: Ziv Shkedy (Hasselt University, Belgium).

                       Introduction & the >eR-BioStat platform .

11:00-11:30: Coffee break.

11:30-12:30: ​Participants presentationsEducation programs in local Universities&  research institutes.

     11:30-11:50: Legesse Debusho (UNISA, South Africa)

     11:50-12:10 Peter Njuho ( University of Zululand, South Africa )

     12:10-12:30 :Caston Sigauke ( University of Venda, South Africa) 

12:30-14:00: ​Lunch .

14:00-15:30: Rudradev Sengupta (J&J, Belgium).

                       Short course: data analysis, modeling and reporting using R, R studio and  R markdown.

15:30-16:00: Coffee break.

16:00-17:30: Rudradev Sengupta (J&J, Belgium).

                       Short course: data analysis, modeling and reporting using R, R studio and  R markdown.

17:30-19:30: Reception + an evening event.

A link to follow the workshop & conference online (day 2) will be available here

Meeting ID:  383 435 688 372  Passcode: Ly36aC


A link to all course materials are available here.


08:30-09:00:  Registration and welcome coffee.

09:00-10:30:  Ziv Shkedy (Hasselt University, Belgium) An >eR-BioStat: example, the GitHub platform and the WIX platform.

10:30-11:00: Coffee break.

11:00-12:15: ​Participants presentations: Education programs in their Universities&  research institutes..

     11:00-11:20: Graceful Mulenga (Botswana international University of Science and Technology).

     11:20-11:40 :Peter Nyasulu and Innocent Maposa ( Stellenbosch University, South Africa)

     11:40-12:00  Nobuhle Mchunu (SA_MRC, South Africa): Personalized screening Intervals for HIV biomarkers using                                          extended joint model.

12:10-13:30: ​Lunch .

13:30-15:00: Rudradev Sengupta (J&J, Belgium).

                      Short course: data analysis, modeling and reporting using R, R studio and  R markdown.

15:00-15:30: Coffee break.

15:30-17:00: Rudradev Sengupta (J&J, Belgium).

                       Short course: data analysis, modeling and reporting using R, R studio and  R markdown.

17:00-19:30: Reception + networking 

A link to follow the workshop & conference online (day 3) will be available here

Meeting ID:  380 462 581 22  Passcode: rCGZL3



08:15-09:00:  Registration and welcome coffee.

Morning Session:

Chairperson:Tobias Chirwa (WITS, South Africa)

09:00-09:15: Tarylee Reddy (SA-MRC, South Africa): Welcome etc.

09:15-10:00: Ann Mawangi (Moi University, Kenya): Data Science Decision Support in the HIV Care Cascade.

10:00-10:30: Khangelani Zuma (HSRC, South Africa) :The Role of Surveillance: shining a spotlight on who we are missing in                         HIV and AIDS response.

10:30-11:00: Henry Mwambi (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, online presentaion).

11:00-11:30: Coffee break + poster session

11:30-12:00: Esnat Chirwa (SA-MRC, South Africa): Strengthening women’s research network and capacity to address                                   women’s health in Sun Saharan Africa.

12:00-12:30: Issac Singini (SA-MRC, South Africa): Joint model diagnostics using R

12:30-14:00 Lunch

Afternoon Session:

Chairperson: Ann Mwangi (Moi University, Kenya).

14:00-14:30: Samuel Manda (University of Pretoria, South Africa): Statistics Integration of Health Survey Data for

                       Estimating HIV Spatial Patterns

14:30-15:00: Osvaldo Loquiha (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique): Statistics and data science in Mozambique.

15:00-15:45: Niel Hens (Hasselt University, Belgium). On the design and analysis of studies of infectious diseases with                                   applications in the Global South'

15:45-17:30: Networking, projects' interactions and wine tasting. For more details look here.        

17:30: Dinner

A link to follow the workshop & conference online (day 4) will be available here

Meeting ID:  324 743 509 890  Passcode: xWueGe



08:30-09:00: Registration and welcome coffee.

Morning Session:

Chairperson: Tarylee Reddy (SA-MRC, South Africa)

09:00-09:45: Misrak Gemzu  (NIH, USA): Strengthening local biostatistics Capacity:  North-South-South clinical                                         research collaborations.

09:45-10:30: Joseph Hogan (Brown University, USA): Building and sustaining a Kenya-US academic partnership in                                 biostatistics:Successes, challenges, and a view toward the future

10:30-11:00: Coffee break

11:00-11:30: Bedilu Alamirie Ejigu (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia): Sustainably Strengthening Statistical Science –                             Socio-economic Community Interaction in Ethiopia: An Ethiopian-EU project.

11:30-12:00: Jade Membrebe (Hasselt University, Belgium): South-North collaboration.

12:00-13:30: Lunch

Afternoon Session:

Chairperson: Ziv Shkedy, Uhasselt, Belgium)

13:30-14:00: Nonhlanhla Yende-Zuma (SAMRC, South Africa): Assessing vaccine effectiveness in resource-limited                                   settings: experiences from South Africa.

14:00-14:30: Tobias Chirwa (WITS, South Africa): Developing regional biostatistical excellence - Case of Sub Saharan                              Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics (SSACAB).

14:30-15:00: Panel discussion: projects and collaboration networks..

15:00-15:45: Bethany Hedt-gauthier (Harvard University, USA, online presentation): Reimagining data science and                                  statistics in Africa

15:45-16:00:  Tarylee Reddy (SA-MRC, South Africa) and Ziv Shkedy (Uhasselt, Belgium):Summary, Good bye and see                              you in the next event etc.

16:00: Reception and departure.




The meeting will take place at the SAMRC Conference Centre which offers seven upmarket fully air-conditioned conference facilities with multimedia equipment. Free WiFi will be available for the duration of meeting.


Accommodation has been secured at  the StayEasy Century City hotel, Cape Town and daily shuttles to and from the conference venue will be provided. 

For more details regarding accommodation and travel arrangements , contact Mandy Salomo


A link for accommodation booking can be found here.



Application form

Download and complete the application form here

Contact person ITP & >eR-Biostat

Ziv Shkedy (UHasselt, Belgium)


CONTACT persons for the ICP connect program in UHasselt

Jade Membrebe (UHasselt, Belgium)


Niel Hens (UHasselt, Belgium)


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Contact persons for the workshop/Conference

Tarylee Reddy (SA-MRC, South Africa):


Ziv Shkedy (UHasselt, Belgium)

Master of Statistics and Data Science in UHasselt ?

More information available here,

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