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Report: R Training Workshop at IDI

Updated: Jan 31, 2019


In response to a growing need and frequent requests from the statistics unit at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), the pharmacometrics group at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Makerere University in conjunction with the head of the statistics unit, Dr Agnes Kiragga organized a 3-day non-residential R training workshop from the 26th to 28th November 2018. This was an in-house training for only IDI staff and was by invite only.


The 8 participants comprised 3 statisticians, a bioinformatics scientist, a data manager, 2 information technologists and one mathematician.

Topics and training materials

The training run from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Morning sessions included power point presentations by the faculty which also included live coding demonstrations in R. Afternoon sessions were dedicated to hands on work in which participants were required to attempt various exercises on their own in consultation with fellow participants and faculty as well.

Topics covered were tailored to introduce a beginner to the basics of the R programming language and gradually introduce them to more advanced concepts. Topics included; Introduction to data types in R, vectors, matrices, data frames, loops in R, functions in R, the Dplyr Package and the ggplot2 package.

Training materials were developed and prepared by each of the three faculty and part of the material was taken from a previous pharmacometrics course that was offered 2 years ago and comprised a one-week R training. Training data sets were from publicly available sources or from the inbuilt R data sets.

Future plans

This training was a pilot to ascertain the level of need, interest as well as the training materials. We intend to offer a similar course for a larger number of participants which will include a broader range of cadres from undergraduate students to professionals.


A feedback questionnaire was providing post training to all participants and their response will be essential to improving the course for the next participants. However, throughout the course, we received non-structured feedback from the participant’s. Below are some of the excerpts:

This 3-day course has been much more productive to me than the 2 week course unit in R that was offered at my master’s program” –Harriet Ninsiima
“Dplyr is my new favorite thing”Godwin Anguzu


Report by Aida Kawuma.