Detailed information about the course

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Advanced Data Management & Manipulation using R


25-26 November 2019


Dr. Marta Bellone, Coordinator of the CUSO Doctoral Program in Ecology and Evolution
Dr. Sara Santi, Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Organismal Biology


Dr Jan Wunder, Wunder Consulting Wald, ZH


The analysis of large data sets ("big data") is becoming increasingly important in science and elsewhere. In this course you will learn how to use R to manage and manipulate large data sets, i.e. to sort, merge, subset, aggregate and reshape data, including outlier detection and gap filling algorithms.

For advanced data manipulation, we are going to use novel developments such as dplyr ("A Grammar of Data Manipulation"), the pipe operator (%>%) for simpler R-coding and data.table for the fast aggregation of large data sets. Furthermore, we will have a closer look at R-data base connections, SQL queries and the creation of new data bases from R.

Depending on the course progress, there will be scope for individuals to work on small projects and/ or their own data sets.

Participants will be able to apply R as a powerful tool to manage, manipulate and analyse their own data sets. Particularly, there are going to learn:

  • the basic concepts of data structures & data management in R
  • the application of fast and efficient libraries specifically designed for the analysis large data sets
  • how to connect R to data bases and access them using SQL queries

 Course outline:

  • Data structures
Data management (merge, sort, reshape,...)
  • "The data.table way" (data.table)
  • "The grammar of data manipulation" (dplyr)
  • Tidying up messy data (tidyr, NAs & outliers)
  • Databases (ODB)
  • Reporting (knitr)

The completion of an homework will be requested after the end of the course (deadline: 13 December 2019).


University of Fribourg


1.0 ECTS


Course completion requirements:





  • Attendance – Presence and active participation is required during the entire course.
  • Home work - Participants are required to hand in a home work consisting of several exercises before 13 December 2019.





Please, reserve a day after the course for the completion of the homework!

1.0 ECTS will be attributed only after the completion of the homework. Certificates will be sent by post-mail.


Familiarity with R before attending the workshop or previous attendance of an introductory course to R.

For information: An Introduction to R, 4-7 June 2019, University of Lausanne

Bring your own laptop to the workshop with recent versions of R and R-Studio installed. Make sure that your laptop is properly connecting to the University of Fribourg or eduroam WLAN.


When? November 25-26 2019, from 9am to 5pm


Where? University of Fribourg

Room TBA


PhD students of the DPEE are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train (half-fare card, and 2nd class). Please send the original tickets along with the reimbursement form to:

 Marta Bellone  Doctoral Program in Ecology and Evolution
 PER04 building
 University of Fribourg
 Rue Albert-Gockel, 3
 CH-1700 Fribourg

NO reimbursement of your meal expenses

Regarding reimbursement of accomodation, please contact the coordinator of the doctoral program (ecologie-evolution(at) BEFORE the beginning of the course. NO reimbursement of accomodation without the agreement in advance of the course of the coordinator of the doctoral program.


Priority is given to PhD students from the Doctoral Programs in Organismal Biology and CUSO Ecology-Evolution (8 places each) until October 26 2019. After this deadline, first comes, first serves

CUSO PhD students: through your MyCUSO account 

External participants (non-CUSO PhD students, post-docs, etc...): use the icon "registration" at the top of this page and then the last gray box "non-CUSO student" ("personne hors myCUSO").



Deadline for registration
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