31st Intensive Course in Applied Epidemiology 2024

31st Intensive Course in Applied Epidemiology 2024

Dates: Monday 4th March - Friday 8th March 2024
Location: The Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen
Cost: Click here for pricing details.

Our one-week Intensive Course in Applied Epidemiology provides a complete overview of key considerations in epidemiological research methods.

Our in-person intensive course will furnish you with the skills and knowledge that you need to undertake study in the field of epidemiology, covering methods of disease measurement, study design and analysis, key methodological considerations including bias, confounding, validity and reliability, as well as practical information for successful study conduct.

Our course draws on the expertise and knowledge of course organisers Professors Gary Macfarlane and Gareth Jones, who have over 50 years' combined of experience in epidemiology teaching, with our teaching supplemented with special guests bringing in specific additional expertise as required.

No prior epidemiological training is required, and the course aims to take delegates up to the level of epidemiological module within a typical MPH programme.

Please note: our regular booking is now closed for this year's event, however we may still have places available on request. 

If you would like to discuss late registration, please contact epidemiology@abdn.ac.uk 


Find out more about ICAE

Who is our course for?

This course is for anyone looking to ground themselves in the key concepts, study design and methodological considerations in epidemiological research.

While we will cover the principles of epidemiological analysis, how different approaches should be employed for different study designs, and how these should be interpreted, it does not cover advanced statistical analysis techniques.

The course covers methods common to all chronic disease epidemiology, although is particularly suited to clinicians, researchers and other practitioners in pain and musculoskeletal disease, due to the specific research expertise of our faculty members.

What you'll learn

Our course is taught in an intimate face-to-face setting at the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library at our historic Old Aberdeen campus. Sessions run all day from mid-morning on Monday 4th to lunchtime on Friday 8th March and consist of a variety of lecture presentations, interactive activities, practical exercises and open discussion.

Our presenters have over 50 years combined experience teaching in an intensive face-to-face format, and the course consistently receives positive responses from delegates. 

What the course covers

The course covers all the key skills you will need to embark upon epidemiological research, including:

  • Measuring incidence and prevalence of disease within a chosen population
  • Study design, including cohort studies, case-control studies, randomised controlled trials, as well as case-crossover and case-cohort studies
  • Key methodological issues, including how to make sure your study data is valid and reliable, and how to minimise bias and avoid or assess confounding.
  • How to incorporate qualitative research methods into your epidemiological studies and how they can enhance understanding of quantitative data.
  • Assessment of causation from associations
  • How to bring your theoretical knowledge and skills together to put them into practice

Key skills

The course will equip you with key skills in epidemiological research, including how to:

  • Choose the right study design
  • Measure disease in a population
  • Understand methodological issues such as validity, reliability and bias and confounding
  • Incorporate qualitative and mixed-methods approaches within your study
  • Infer causation from associations
  • Put your theoretical knowledge and skills into practice


Please note that the following programme is indicative only and individual sessions are subject to change.

Monday 4th March 2024

  • Epidemiology for tomorrow's world
  • Measuring and comparing the burden of disease
  • Key epidemiological study designs – the case control study

Tuesday 5th March 2024

  • Key epidemiological study designs – the cohort study
  • Selecting a study sample, and unpicking confidence intervals
  • Are we measuring what we think we’re measuring? – issues of validity and reliability

Wednesday 6th March 2024

  • Stepping away from the normal – less commonly used observational study designs
  • Logistic regression
  • Interventional studies – the randomised controlled trials

Thursday 7th March 2024

  • Doing things that RCTs cannot do – the use of disease registries in epidemiology
  • Incorporating qualitative research into epidemiological studies
  • How to avoid bias and control for confounding
  • Chocolate and Nobel prizes – deciding when an association might be causal

Friday 8th March 2024

  • Putting theory into practice
Course presenters

Course presenters

Professor Gary J Macfarlane
Head of Epidemiology

Professor Macfarlane is Dean of Research (Interdisciplinary Research and Research Impact) at the University of Aberdeen. He has been Professor of Epidemiology at The University of Aberdeen since 2005 and previously held the same post at the University of Manchester from 1999. He trained in Statistics/Computing Science and then Medicine at University of Glasgow before undertaking his PhD at the University of Bristol. He worked at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, before leading a programme of pain research at the Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the University of Manchester. His subsequent research has focused on musculoskeletal disorders and the research group which he leads undertakes research using epidemiology, clinical trials, disease and drug registers and health services research. He is a Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society as well as a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Professor Gareth T Jones
Professor in Epidemiology

Gareth is a non-clinical epidemiologist and is currently Professor in Epidemiology and deputy head of the Epidemiology Group at the University of Aberdeen. He trained in epidemiology at the University of Manchester in (what was then) the Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit where he undertook a PhD in the epidemiology of low back pain in schoolchildren, then worked as a Lecturer in Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology. He moved to the University of Aberdeen in 2005 as a Senior Lecturer. He is currently Professor in Epidemiology and deputy head of the Epidemiology Group. He works on all aspects of the Epidemiology Group programmes of research including studies of aetiology, outcome, and management of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, with a major focus on musculoskeletal pain (including fibromyalgia) and inflammatory disease (axial spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis). He has published around 140 original research papers, reviews, and book chapters.

Our venue

The fabulous Sir Duncan Rice Library sits in the heart of our historic King’s College campus in Old Aberdeen, and its iconic design is visible from much of the city. Our state of the art teaching premises are on the top floor of this seven-story building, and offer majestic views over Aberdeen city, the beach and North Sea, and the surrounding countryside.

Our King’s College campus is based in one of the most beautiful areas of Aberdeen, featuring beautiful historic architecture such as the King’s College Chapel and Elpinstone Hall, and is in close proximity to a number of conveniences including shops, cafes and the nearby Cruikshank Botanic Garden. The campus is also a short walk from Aberdeen Beach which stretches along the North Sea coast, and is a short bus journey from Aberdeen City Centre.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library comprises the University’s main library, and has won several awards for architecture, including the 2012 Aberdeen Civic Society Award, a 2013 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) award, a 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA National Award, and was nominated for the 2013 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.

About Aberdeen (including getting here, where to stay and what to do)

About our city

Aberdeen, also known as the ‘Granite City’ is Scotland’s third largest city, and sits on the edge of the North Sea in the middle of the Grampian region.

The city features a unique and ideal location, with close proximity to the mile-long Aberdeen beach, a number of picturesque gardens and old architecture to explore, whilst also boasting a wide variety of modern shopping and leisure experiences including food and drink experiences, inspiring art galleries and museums, a bustling nightlife and year-round festivals and public events.

Aberdeen came out top in a 2021 Shawbrook survey of the ‘Happiest Cities in the UK’, with residents reporting a high quality of life. Driven forward by the success of the North Sea oil industry, Aberdeen is also one of Scotland’s most prosperous areas, with investments worth more than £10billion in the pipeline to be injected in education, culture, growth and prosperity.

Whilst in Aberdeen you are also only a short trip from some of Scotland’s most fantastic experiences, including the Cairngorms National Park for some outdoor adventure, and the striking Dunottar Castle in nearby town of Stonehaven.

Travelling to Aberdeen

For further information about getting to Aberdeen, please visit visitABDN's 'Getting Here' page (opens in a new window).

When booking travel, you are recommended to only book refundable travel and accommodation due to potential uncertainties.

Additionally, we would strongly recommend you consider the following when making any travel arrangements:

  • Flexible flight bookings (i.e. refundable fares)
  • Travel and medical insurance


While we do not currently have any specific agreements with any local hotels, previous delegates have found both the Douglas Hotel and Jury’s Inn in the City Centre to be conveniently located, with easy access to local amenities and transport routes.

Other hotels that our attendees have used in the past include: Premier InnHoliday InnMillennium Copthorne Hotel and the Mercure Caledonian Hotel – please check the providers’ own websites for rates, bookings and further details.

Further information

For further information about getting to Aberdeen and what else you can do during your visit, please visit https://www.visitabdn.com/ (opens in a new window).

Course fees and how to register

Course fees

Late registration / Commercial and industry delegates : £1250

Booking and registration

Please note: our regular booking is now closed for this year's event, however we may still have places available on request

If you would like to discuss late registration, please contact epidemiology@abdn.ac.uk 

All late registrations will be charged at the full commerical delegate rate of £1250 per attendee.

Withdrawals after 31st January 2024 date will also be subject to a late withdrawal fee.

Contact us

If you have any questions about this year's course, or about our course offers in general, please drop us an email at: