Statistics courses

General course flyer

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Here are some of the comments from people who have done one of our courses.

Not many people enjoy statistics; our course participants did! Well, in as far as statistics can be enjoyed. We will throw protocols and flow charts at you, plus a certain amount of humor. We don't use toy data, but real data.

We have been in nearly every country in Europe for courses. From the warm south (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece) to the cold north (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania). From the west (Ireland) to the east (Bulgaria). We have also been in the United Arabic Emirates, Mexico, Canada, and in the far south, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

All in all we have educated about 7000 ecologist. We have revisited some institutes more than 10 times. Various institutes run 3 in-house courses per year. Some of our courses are part of national or EU funded MSc or PhD programmes. Other courses were funded by UNESCO or were part of EU projects.  

The course instructors are a statistician (Dr. Alain Zuur) and a biologist (Dr. Elena Ieno). Our biological and statistical backgrounds ensure a lively and enjoyable interaction with our participants. One of our strong points is that we can explain statistics in an understandable language.

Which courses do we teach?

Unfortunately, we cannot teach you everything in one week. We can entertain you for about 50 days; should you wish to do so. We provide a series of courses, see the figure below.

Courses Highland Statistics Download figure as jpg (0.5 Mb) or pdf file (8 Mb)

The two most popular courses are:

Most participants start with course 4 and do course 5 six months later. After a year they do the zero inflation course and/or the GAMM course.

The figure below shows the recommended order of courses. Note that course 4 contains an 'Introduction to R' module; so in principle you can skip course 1.

Time line courses Highland Statistics

Download figure as jpg file (0.5 Mb) or pdf file (5 Mb).

Our course material

Our course material is based on Analyzing Ecological Data (Zuur et al. 2007), Mixed Effects Models and Extensions in Ecology with R (Zuur et al. 2009), A Beginner's Guide to R (Zuur et al. 2009), Zero Inflated Models and Generalized Linear Mixed Models with R  (Zuur et al. 2012), A Beginner's Guide to GAM with R (Zuur 2012), A Beginner's Guide to GLM and GLMM with R (Zuur et al. 2013), A Beginner's Guide to GAMM with R (Zuur et al. 2014), and A Beginner's Guide to Data Exploration and Visualisation (Ieno and Zuur 2015).

Analysing Ecological Data  Mixed effects modelling and extensions in R  Beginner's Guide to R         

Your university library probably has a copy of one of our books. Have a look at the case study chapters; most are based on data sets from previous course participants and are in fact the exercises that you will be doing during the course.

Note that during the courses we discuss concepts, and we will avoid the (limited and isolated) matrix algebra that is in the books.

Attending or organizing a course

The easiest option is to participate in one of the open courses. Alternative, you can organize an open or in-house course at your institute. In-house courses are for a pre-set fee, and you decide who participates. With open courses, you only have to arrange the room; we do the rest.

However, there is a waiting list for new courses of about 12 months. Just email us if you have any questions.

Can you tailor a course?

Yes of course. In general our audience consists of postgraduate ecologists, and the theory and exercise data sets are relatively easy to grasp. Occasionally, we get requests to organize a course for a specific audience. For example, in October 2009 we ran a course for 12 forensic entomologists at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany. CSI viewers will know that these folks have quite interesting data sets; but rather different to what you will find in general statistical textbooks. The course organizer gave us a couple of data sets which we used as exercise data during the course, and we changed some of the examples during the lectures. Courses with small number of participants can also be run as a workshop. 

Where do we run our courses?

Anywhere. We have given courses in the UK, Portugal, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina, Italy, The Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Bulgaria, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, etc.

Courses in 2015 - 2016

When Where Status Course Remaining seats Flyer Price
23-27 November 2015 IMR, Bergen, Norway Email to join Introduction to Bayesian statistics Flyer £500
30 November - 4 December 2015 IMR, Bergen, Norway In-house Multivariate analysis 0 - -
11-15 January 2016 Nanaimo, Canada Fully booked. Email to join waiting list. Introduction to GAM and GAMM Flyer £500
8-12 February 2016 Lisbon, Portugal Open
Data exploration, regression, GLM & GAM with introduction to R 17 Flyer £500
15-19 February 2016 Lisbon, Portugal Open
Introduction to Linear Mixed Effects Models and GLMM with R. Frequentist and Bayesian approaches. 16 Flyer £500
7-11 March 2016 Konstanz, Germany Open
Introduction to GAM and GAMM 28 Flyer £500
4-8 April 2016 Helsinki, Finland In-house - - - -
11 - 15 April 2016 St. Andrews, Scotland Open
Introduction to Bayesian statistics for ecologists and psychologists 13 Flyer £500
9-13 May 2016 Genoa, Italy Open
Introduction to Zero Inflated Models 25 Flyer £450
30 May - 3 June 2016 Singapore

Registration for external participants starts on 1 January 2016
Email to express interest Introduction to GAM and GAMM

30 Flyer £500
6-10 June 2016 Perth, Australia Open Introduction to Linear Mixed Effects Models and GLMM with R. Frequentist and Bayesian approaches. 30 In prep £500
13-17 June 2016 Perth, Australia Open Introduction to Zero Inflated Models 30 In prep £500
20-24 June 2016 Adelaide, Australia Open To be decided 30 In prep £500
4-8 July 2016 Deaking University, Melbourne, Australia Open Introduction to Linear Mixed Effects Models and GLMM with R. Frequentist and Bayesian approaches. 30 In prep £500
11-15 July 2016 CSIRO, Canberra, Australia Open Introduction to GAM and GAMM using Bayesian and frequentist tools 25 In prep £500
18-22 July 2016 UNSW, Sydney, Australia Open Mixed modelling 30 In prep £500
25-29 July 2016 UNSW, Sydney, Australia Open Zero inflated models 30 In prep £500
August - September 2016 Pending locations: Alice Spring, Townsville, Brisbane Open To be decided 30 In prep £500
3-7 October 2016  NOCS, Southampton, UK Open Introduction to Linear mixed effects models,  GLMM and MCMC with R 25 In prep £500
October 2016 Livorno, Italy Open To be decided 25 In prep  
Any time Online Open
A Beginner's Guide to R   Flyer £200

See below for terms and conditions.

Course registration

To register for a course, please click on the 'Register' link. You will be asked for your name, email address (no spamming) and address. To finalize registration the website will take you to our bank where you can make a secure credit card payment. You can also register via a purchase order, in which case you need to email ( us your institutional address, purchase order number and European VAT number (if relevant). Please read the terms and conditions below before registering.

Terms and conditions:

  1. All fees are payable 6 weeks in advance and no admission to the course will be permitted until payment has been received. 
  2. Course literature and software is copyright protected and may not be reproduced or distributed without permission.  
  3. The course content might be modified or improved prior to the course start date. 
  4. In most courses, we are able to cover all advertised modules. Unexpected factors like power cuts, food poisoning, airline strikes etc. may slow us down. Occasionally the numerical knowledge of the participants is slightly lower than expected. We will do our best to cover all modules, but sometimes this is not possible. No refund will be given if we cannot cover all modules.
  5. Accommodation is not included as part of the course fee and participants are expected to make their own arrangements. 
  6. Refunds (after deducting a 15% bank and administration fee) will only be given if a place is cancelled at least 6 weeks before the start date of the course.
  7. A course participant can be substituted at any time before the start of the course. 
  8. We reserve the right to cancel any course without liability other than a refund of the full course fee. 
  9. Unfortunately, we cannot assist with VISA application. 
  10. The courses are designed for biologists and we will only discuss concepts; no detailed mathematics. As such, these courses are  less suitable for statisticians who wish to learn all the mathematical details.  

Past courses

Here is a list of past courses (2002-2015). We have seen a lot of people and it was (is) great fun! 




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2006 - 2002