Hasselt University was established in 1971. Subsequent expansions led to 6 faculties and schools: Medicine, Life Sciences, Sciences, Information Technology, Economy, and Law. Enhanced by its faculty and research-institute structure, research efforts are concentrated around well developed and carefully chosen themes. A key theme is statistics, next to biomedical sciences, material physics, digital media, and environmental sciences. The Center for Statistics (Censtat, ±50 staff) groups biostatistics, bioinformatics, and epidemiology research of UHasselt. Research themes encompass longitudinal and incomplete data, survival analysis, clinical-trial methodology, epidemiology and survey research, risk assessment, bioinformatics, and statistical genetics. CenStat has a strong track record for research funding from the (pharmaceutical) industry; CenStat has a strong methodological and applied tradition in clinical trials. CenStat’s strength prominently shows in its highly successful Master in Statistics. In the 2004 ranking by the Canadian Journal of Statistics, CenStat hit the world’s top 15 ranking of statistical departments. KU Leuven, being the 6th European university in the 2008 Leiden bibliometric ranking has near 6 centuries of tradition. Its most famous researchers include Vesalius, Rega, Erasmus, Mercator. KU Leuven is a charter member of the League of European Research Universities. KU Leuven Centre for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (L-BioStat). L-BioStat (20 scholars) is active in research, education, and consulting in biostatistics and bioinformatics. Research emphasises longitudinal data, clinical trials, bioinformatics and statistical genetics. The culturally diverse research staff is internationally recognised and research funding has been secured from university, governmental, and industrial sources. UHasselt’s and KU Leuven’s Joint Venture: the Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (I-BioStat). CenStat and L-BioStat have similar missions in biostatistics and bioinformatics, in the areas of research, education, and scientific collaboration. Both have strong, internationally recognised reputations. Further, they have a long tradition of collaboration (joint publications, highly respected book projects, short courses, joint organisation of scientific events), not in the least because many staff members have past and/or present links with the other institution. For all of these reasons, to fully exploit the mutual strengths and the advantage of scale, and to be a top European and international player, the academic authorities, both centers were united in 2008 into I-BioStat with the applicant, appointed by both universities as founding director. Taken together, I-BioStat has a strong methodological and practical tradition in biostatistics and statistical bioinformatics.
Main Project Tasks: Main methods areas relate to clinical trials, in particular surrogate markers, longitudinal data, incomplete data, joint modelling, Bayesian analysis, epidemiology, infectious diseases, food safety, microbial risk assessment, small area epidemiology, etc.
Prof. Geert Molenberghs is Professor of Biostatistics at Universiteit Hasselt and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. He published on surrogate markers in clinical trials, and on categorical, longitudinal, and incomplete data. He was Editor of Applied Statistics Biometrics and Biostatistics. He was President of the International Biometric Society, received the Guy Medal in Bronze from the Royal Statistical Society and the Myrto Lefkopoulou award from the Harvard School of Public Health. He was founding director of CenStat and I-BioStat. He authored several books and received several Excellence in Continuing Education Awards of the American Statistical Association. He established a team with world renowned colleagues such as Profs. Geert Verbeke, Marc Aerts, Niel Hens, Tomasz Burzykowski, Ziv Shkedy, and Christel Faes.