Setting New Standards in Statistics Education

Changes in the HELENA training program

© Adobe Stock









Helmholtz Zentrum München is raising the bar in the training of its junior scientists in the field of statistics and is offering seven-day training courses in the ABCs of statistics to all its graduate students and postdocs.

The courses are organized and headed by experts of the Core Facility Statistical Consulting at the Center. They kick off with an introduction to the statistics programming language R, move on to providing insights into basic statistical methods and their application and wind up focusing on essential requirements in terms of reproducibility and open research.

“One of our concerns is ensuring that our junior scientists have a sound footing in statistics,” as Dr. Monika Beer, the director of HELENA, underlined. “Previously, the demand for statistics courses often well exceeded the existing offerings. The Center has now invested handsomely in outstanding statistics training.”

To meet strong demand, the Core Facility Statistical Consulting has been expanded to include a training unit. Meanwhile, the statistics experts have put 20 courses covering 55 days on this year’s agenda.

The number of participants has intentionally been limited to 20 per course, thereby enabling ample scope for practical exercises and questions.

“Statistical literacy is key to designing experiments, analyzing data and drawing valid conclusions from the results,” Dr. Elmar Spiegel and Ronan Le Gleut explain. The two experts - armed with master’s degrees and extensive research experience - have joined the Statistical Consulting Unit in order to pass on their knowledge. Together with Hannah Busen and Andreas Beyerlein, they form the teaching team of the Core Facility. “I’ve found my calling here,” enthuses Elmar Spiegel. ”I’ve always wanted to teach, and now I’m able to combine that with research and consultation work.”

The Core Facility headed by Professor Christiane Fuchs advises and assists scientists at the Center in all statistical matters. “We help our colleagues produce sound statistics,” as Elmar Spiegel summarizes. Further courses that delve deeper into subjects introduced in the basic courses are already in the planning pipeline.

Basic training in statistics is part and parcel of the HELENA training program. Participation is obligatory for all graduate students and postdocs who have joined Helmholtz Zentrum München since January 1, 2019, though all other staff members are more than welcome to attend.


Further information on mandatory requirements can be found at

The next course dates are listed at