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Advanced Courses on Life Sciences

On-site Course – 3rd Edition

Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R Shiny

October 26th-30th, 2020, Barcelona (Spain)

Scientific communication

Scientific Communication


We realise that, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, making travel arrangements during this time is difficult. Therefore, registration for this course is open, but it does not require payment at this moment. We will only receive payments once the outbreak has calmed down and travel restrictions have been lifted.

Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R ShinyCourse Overview

This course is for individuals considering developing Shiny apps to deliver their research. Thus, the goal will be to teach the skills necessary to translate static products (your current analysis in R) to dynamic products delivered via a simple web-based graphic-user interface.

After a brief survey of the available basic tools (widgets such as slider bars, check boxes, and pick lists), we will move quickly to learn more advanced interactive features.

Activities interspersed throughout the class will provide hands-on practice with sample biological and ecological data. By the end of the course, students will have built a portfolio of example code and will have designed, constructed, and published at least one example Shiny app.

Why Shiny?

Shiny turns static data products into interactive web apps. With interactive and reactive data visualizations, your audience directly engages with your data for stronger communication and better understanding. The Shiny apps can easily be launched directly to the web via shinyapps.io or Shiny Server to be run by anyone (they don’t need to download your data or have R!).

Other Shiny examples: K-means (statistics), TreeViewer (visualization of phylogenetic trees), Word Cloud (generator of word clouds).


This course is suitable for students that already have the basic R skills to open data and run analyses or build a basic figure – but who have no or limited prior experience with Shiny. A laptop with current versions of R and R Studio installed. A list of packages to preinstall will be sent to participants before the course.




Centre de Restauració i Interpretació Paleontològica (CRIP)

C/ Mestre J. Lladós, 1
08781 Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


October 26th-30th, 2020




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 15 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

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

Ashton Drew instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Ashton Drew
KDV Decision Analysis LLC
United States of America

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

Transmitting Science

Ana Rosa Gomez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez Cano
Transmitting Science


Monday. Orientation and Introduction to Shiny.

  • Morning: Getting everyone up and running.
    • Overview of course procedures and expectations.
    • Demonstration of Shiny products.
    • Free publishing options with ShinyUI and RPub.
  • Afternoon: A First Shiny App.
    • Basic components: User Interface and Server components.
    • Overview of available widgets (slider bars, pick lists, check boxes, etc.).
    • Build basic apps: Use simple published examples as a guide, transcribe the code to work with a new dataset.

Tuesday. Focus on the User Interface.

  • Morning: Common applications of Shiny (more practice with widgets).
    • More practice with basic widgets to select parameters, subset data, etc.
    • Build a basic Shiny app for your own data (or a class sample dataset).
  • Afternoon: Dashboard Design Tools and Options.
    • UI layout autoscaling vs. absolute position.
    • Tabs and navigation bars.
    • Conditional panels.
    • More hands-on practice with your own data (or a class sample dataset).

Wednesday. Focus on Shiny Server.

  • Morning: Putting the right code in the right places.
    • What happens when you run Shiny? (and where are all your data objects?).
    • Where and when to load data, libraries, and functions.
    • Troubleshooting common problems.
  • Afternoon: Reactive Programming.
    • Base reactivity on project selection, data subset selection, or parameter selection.
    • Use submit and isolate to manage conditional reactivity.
    • Add a reactive element and submit button to your Shiny app built on Tuesday.

Thursday. More Reactivity and More Practice.

  • Morning: Interactive Plots.
    • Use click, double click, hover, and brush to select data subsets from a plot.
    • Build interactive plot using base plot and ggplot with your own data (or a class sample dataset).
    • Build an interactive plot using ggplot with your own data (or a class sample dataset).
    • Add code to print results of an interactive session.
  • Afternoon: More hands-on practice and catch-up.
    • Successfully complete at least one of five possible exercises to ensure understanding and practice troubleshooting.

Friday. Publishing Shiny Material.

  • Morning: Simple Sharing.
    • Advice on file managemet for easy sharing.
    • Orientation to RStudio’s hosting service, Shinyapps.io.
    • Brief comments on other advanced sharing options (Shiny Server, GitHub, etc.).
    • Share one of your apps with a classmate using zipped folder or Shinyapps.io.
  • Afternoon: Shiny with R Markdown (Optional, or more practice building example apps).
    • Intergrating Shiny content into R Markdown documents.
    • Publishing results of reactive programming to an R Markdown report.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until August 31st, 2020):
  • 491 € *
    (392.8 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after August 31st, 2020):
  • 598 € *
    (478.40 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
  • Early bird (until August 31st, 2020):
  • 821 € *
    (722.8 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after August 31st, 2020):
  • 928 € *
    (818 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, transportation from and to Barcelona city, accommodation from Sunday to Friday, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies will have an extra charge of 100 €.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com


Course Schedule

Participants will make their own way

  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons.

The class 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.

Course + Accommodation Package Schedule
  • Sunday:
    • 19:00 Meeting point in Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona) to take the bus to Els Hostalets de Pierola. If you are planning to arrive later, you can find more information on how to get there.
    • 20:00 Registration in the Hostel.
    • 20:30 Dinner.
  • Monday to Thursday:
    • 08:00 to 09:00 Breakfast
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included)
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons
    • 20:00 Dinner
  • Friday:
    • 8:00 to 9:00 Breakfast.
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons
    • 18:30 Meeting point in the Hostel to take the bus to Barcelona city.
    • 20:00 Arrival at Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona).

The class 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.


If you choose the Accommodation Package you will be hosted at the Youth Hostel Can Roviralta,  in shared dormitories (common bathrooms), although you will only share rooms with other course participants (male or female only).

If you prefer to stay in a single room, you can do so with a supplementary charge.

The Accommodation Package includes transportation from the centre of Barcelona to the venue and back, at the start and end of the course, respectively. The trip takes around 1 hour each way by private bus.

If you do not wish to take the Accommodation Package, you can find a few other options in near by towns or in Barcelona city. However, please be aware that from the centre of Barcelona city it takes about one hour by car and one hour and a half by public transport to arrive to Els Hostalets de Pierola. Course participants will find that staying in Els Hostalets de Pierola is more convenient.


Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the Course Fee. We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact courses@transmittingscience.com).

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Ambassador Institutions). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in the country were the course will be held, as well as PhD students based in that country 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.

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