Introduction to Bayesian Methods in Clinical Research [ESP68]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days

Monday to Friday (full days)


Prof. Emmanuel Lesaffre

Course fee

€ 1190


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL




Basic statistics, experience with regression models, experience with R.


  • Biostatistics


Go to the ESP website

Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. Emmanuel Lesaffre, PhD

This course provides an introduction to Bayesian methods with an emphasis on the intuitive ideas and applications. The course treats the basic concepts of the Bayesian approach, such as the prior and posterior distribution and their summary measures (mean, median, credible interval, etc), the posterior predictive distribution. In addition, Bayesian methods for model selection and model evaluation will be treated.

The Bayesian approach will also be compared, both conceptually as well as practically, with the classical frequentist approach. Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques are introduced and exemplified in a variety of applications. The Bayesian approach will be illustrated in clinical trials, epidemiological studies, meta-analyses, diagnostic testing, agreement studies, etc. WinBUGS and OpenBUGS will be used as software. But also the use of their interfaces with R, i.e. R2WinBUGS and R2OpenBUGS will be illustrated.

Course format:

In the first three days of the course the Bayesian concepts will be explained. Theory and exercises will then be mixed depending on the topic. The final two days will be devoted to particular application areas and have largely a practical flavor. In addition the application of the Bayesian methodology in the medical literature will be highlighted.

Teaching methods:

Interactive lectures, exercises, practicals


  • Understanding the Bayesian concepts, able to read medical papers that make use of the Bayesian approach.
  • Be able to write a Win/OpenBUGS program for some basic statistical models.

Participant profile

Those interested in an alternative approach to analyze data from clinical research, public health research and epidemiology. It is strongly recommended that the participant has a good knowledge in classical statistics, including regression models. Experience with R is also recommended.



Reduction on fees


50% reduction on our fees for participating institutes of NIHES

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the departments or sections participating in NIHES.

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam:

  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Psychiatry, Section of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy
  • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Department of Medical Informatics
  • Department of General Practice
  • Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management
  • Generation R

50% reduction on our fees for NIHES affiliated partners

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the following NIHES affiliated partners:

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam, departments of:

  • Dermatology
  • General Paediatrics
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

Institute of Medical Education Research Rotterdam (iMERR)

Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital

  • Department of Cancer Epidemiology

25% reduction on our fees for partner institutes of NIHES

For participants formally appointed at the following departments, institutes:

  • Departments of Erasmus MC (except the departments mentioned above)
  • Addiction Research Institute (IVO)
  • Integraal Kankercentrum Zuid (IKZ)
  • Pallas Health Research and Consultancy
  • Municipal Health Service Amsterdam (GGD Amsterdam)
  • Municipal Health Service Rotterdam (GGD Rotterdam)
  • Havenpolikliniek
  • Admiraal De Ruyter Ziekenhuis

25% reduction for all (international) PhD students
Please state your supervisor/promotor’s name and email address on the application form (remarks field).

25% reduction on our course fees (maximum 3 EC points per academic year) for all NIHES alumni
Please state that you are a NIHES alumnus/alumna and the academic year you graduated (remarks field). Please note that the reduction on fees for alumni does not apply to the Erasmus Summer Programme.