International Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISB) Conference 2016


The 37th Annual International Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISCB) Conference was held in the International Convention Centre, Birmingham on the 21st-25th August 2016. The conference shared numerous statistical-based talks and poster sessions, with three of these talks and two posters being presented among the seven attendees from the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM).

This conference is one of the biggest in the field of biostatistics and is well attended every year. This year was no exception and provided a great opportunity of networking with peers from around the globe. There were numerous parallel sessions covering a wide spectrum of themes; from observational studies’ analyses and big data, to early phase trials and adaptive designs.

Jane Holmes’ talk, titled “Practical challenges of running adaptive trials in an academic trials unit” described the how statisticians in CSM have approached the issues and difficulties when designing two clinical trials using an adaptive design.

Pradeep Virdee’s talk, titled “Interpretation of effect estimates in competing risks survival models: A simulated analysis of organ-specific progression-free survival in a randomised phase III cancer trial”, raised the hot topic of analysing and reporting competing risk model estimates and stimulated an interesting discussion at the end.

Virginia Chiocchia’s talk on “Multivariate analysis of paired data: a review of methods for paired organ systems” looked at the statistical techniques used to analyse paired data, drawing from fields such as ophthalmology and transplantation.

Eleni Frangou’s poster on “Investigating the Impact of Missing Confounders in Propensity Score Analyses of Treatment Effects” presented how missing data affect the estimation of treatment effects in observational studies attracted some interest during the coffee breaks.

Bethan Copsey’s poster on “An assessment of the design, conduct and dissemination of Phase I clinical trials” highlighted issues in the planning of dose escalation studies and poor dissemination of phase I trials.

This year, a new “Student’s Day” was offered by the Student Conference Awards sub-committee to present prospective, ongoing or recently graduated PhD students with the opportunity to share experiences and questions as well as to discuss current research challenges and how to be a good researcher. The day consisted of three sessions of short presentations delivered by student speakers. The talks were diverse, some of the areas represented were challenges faced in stepped wedge cluster randomised control trials, applying Bayesian techniques in personalised medicine research, longitudinal and time-to-event data and programing and simulation methods. Also included in the programme were talks on biostatistical research skills and developing a career in biostatistics. After each talk, the student audience were encouraged to take part in a short discussion, and after each session, all the speakers were recalled to give the audience another opportunity for more general questions about their PhD experience. The day provided an excellent opportunity for students on the same journey to all be gathered in one place in order to share with each other their own experiences, concerns and research progress.

The next ISCB Conference will be held in Vigo (Spain) on the 9th-13th July 2017. For more info visit