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Advanced Courses on Life Sciences

Online Course – 5th Edition

Interactive Data Analysis and Visualization with R Shiny

October 24th-28th, 2022


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This course will be delivered onsite

All teaching activities will be carried out at the Museum of the Institut Català de Paleontologia M.C. (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

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).

See the full program here


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.

Participants must have a personal computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) with current versions of R and R Studio installed. A list of packages to preinstall will be sent to participants before the course.




October 24th-28th, 2022

Schedule and Course length

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.

35 hours.

This course is equivalent to 1 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.


Institut Catala de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont - MuseumMuseum of the Institut Català de Paleontologia M.C. (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain).

More about the Venue (including accommodation options) HERE.




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.

Ashton Drew instructor for Transmitting Science

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

Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

Transmitting Science


Orientation and Introduction to Shiny.

  • Getting everyone up and running.
    • Overview of course procedures and expectations.
    • Demonstration of Shiny products.
    • Free publishing options with ShinyUI and RPub.
  • 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.

Focus on the User Interface.

  • 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).
  • 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).

Focus on Shiny Server.

  • 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.
  • 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.

More Reactivity and More Practice.

  • 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.
  • Successfully complete at least one of five possible exercises to ensure understanding and practice troubleshooting.

Publishing Shiny Material.

  • 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.
  • 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 September 30th, 2022):
  • 570 €
    (456 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after September 30th, 2022):
  • 676 €
    (540.8 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • The price is VAT included. It includes coffee breaks and lunches.
    After registration you will receive confirmation of your acceptance in the course. Payment is not required during registration.

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


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 Spain may benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you would like to enquire about this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict registration order.