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ACCE Quantitative skills training

9th April 2018 @ 10:00 am - 10th April 2018 @ 5:00 pm

ACCE Quantitative Skills

Location: the University of York, Biology Department

Dates: Mon 9 April and Tue 10 April 2018


Facilitator: Colin Beale (

The increasing availability of large datasets covering a broad range of environmental data, from climate and satellite data to bioinformatics databases with Terabytes of valuable information present researchers within the ACCE programme with some fantastic opportunities to tackle new questions of great importance to the study of environmental change. However, to make the most of these data and the datasets we generate ourselves increasingly requires expertise in handling and manipulating datasets. All three ACCE institutions offer courses in the R statistical environment, focussing on data analysis. In reality, however, we often spend more time on data preparation, manipulation or tedious basic analyses than the statistical analyses we want to achieve. Moreover, empirical studies are increasingly supported by sophisticated simulation studies. Both these activities are greatly facilitated by a familiarity with basic programming. In this two-day course, we will learn how to automate tedious, repetitive tasks in R by making use of basic programming. As well as generic programming skills (e.g. data structures, the use of loops and conditionals, etc.) we will learn some specific R tools to make your analyses so much more productive (e.g. writing functions, system calls, string manipulations and low-level data input/output). The first day will consist of a series of short lectures/demonstrations and extended practicals, while the second day will see participants divided into groups to undertake a small research project that involves accessing, formatting and manipulating real datasets to answer genuine research questions of relevance across the ACCE programme.


9 April 2018: QUANTITATIVE SKILLS EVENT DAY 1 (Biology B/R012)

10:00 – 10:30 Registration + tea/coffee (Biology Department Reception and Atrium)
10:30 – 12:30 Session 1: Basic programming in R
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Session 2: Basic programming in R
15:00 – 15:30 Tea/Coffee
15:30 – 17:00 Session 3: Basic programming in R


10 April 2018: QUANTITATIVE SKILLS EVENT DAY 2 (Biology B/R012)

09:00 – 10:30 Session 1: Group project
10:30 – 11:00 Tea/Coffee
11:00 – 12:30 Session 2: Group project
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Session 3: Group project
15:00 – 15:30 Tea/Coffee
15:30 – 16:00 Session 4: Group project
16:00 – 17:00 Group presentations

Tea/Coffee and Lunches will be available from Cookies

Information for students and staff

The event forms part of the mandatory training portfolio for all ACCE- NERC funded students.


On-campus accommodation at the University of York can be booked by visiting:

As York is a popular tourist destination there is a lot of accommodation available to suit all budgets, much of it in the picturesque heart of the city. More details of the accommodation available can be found on the Visit York website (

Directions for getting to the Department of Biology can be found here:


9th April 2018 @ 10:00 am
10th April 2018 @ 5:00 pm


University of York
Department of Biology University of York Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD
York, YO10 5DD United Kingdom
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