RSU Will Have a New Biostatistics Master's Programme
On 7 April 2021, the decision to license the Biostatistics master’s study programme at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) was taken at a meeting of the Study Quality Commission of the Quality Agency for Higher Education.
The decision to license the Biostatistics programme was taken after evaluating the extensive documentation that had been submitted, the outcomes of the visit by licensing experts and the experts’ opinion. Didzis Elferts, Professor at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia (UL), was the group's lead expert. Representatives from the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia and the Student Union of Latvia were also a part of the group.
The study programme was developed in cooperation with other higher education institutions in Latvia, Sweden and Estonia. It is the only biostatistics master's degree study programme in the Baltics. The concept of the study programme aligns with the biomedicine, medical technologies, biopharmacy and biotechnologies specialisation as outlined in the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Latvia. The programme’s contents will ensure the competitiveness of both the programme and its graduates in Latvia and internationally. The contents take global trends in data collection and analysis, and the development of e-services and conducting of research for the introduction of new medications and food supplements into consideration. The programme will also include developing competencies required in the labour market related to processing big data.
Experience exchange events, working groups and discussions as well as the attraction and mobility of foreign experts were implemented during the development of the study program together with lecturers and industry experts, representatives of interested organisations from the State Agency of Medicines, AS Olainfarm, SIA Silvanols, the Latvian Statistical Association, among others. Students' suggestions were also heard during the development process.
‘The new RSU study programme will create an excellent opportunity for anyone who want to study, or to link their future to statistics and research in medicine, pharmacy or other healthcare-related sectors. The programme will promote learning in courses related to statistics, medicine, epidemiology and clinical trials.’
Andrejs Ivanovs, the Head of the Biostatistics study programme and the Head of the RSU Statistics Unit.
Ziad Taib, a representative of international employers and the Global Product Statistician at AstraZeneca and an Adjunct Professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, appreciated the contents of the programme and recognised the job opportunities the programme’s graduates would have abroad. The expert mentions that the 31st International Biometric Conference will be held in Riga in 2022. The conference could be a good promotional event for the new study programme as biostatistics conferences like this attract a wide range of participants – about 800-1,000 biostatisticians from Europe, South America, North America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania.
RSU plans to launch the master’s study programme in English in the 2021/2022 academic year. The possibility of implementing the study programme in Latvian, both as full-time and part-time studies, as well as distance learning will be considered in the future. Studying in this programme will take place in an international environment as the programme will attract international lecturers from European partner universities. The programme will also cooperate closely with representatives from pharmaceutical companies and scientific institutions abroad. The opportunity to undergo study placements are part of the study programme. Places will be available both at various RSU research departments to work with scientific research data, as well as at different companies. Students’ master’s theses will be drawn up on the basis of the work carried out during placements.
The initiative to create the study programme was launched in 2017, but since 2019 it has been developed with the support of the project Reducing study programme fragmentation and promoting study internationalisation at Rīga Stradiņš University (project No. 184.108.40.206/18/A/014).