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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

SQuID: developing data simulation tools for research and teaching of multi-level statistical analyses

Alternative title: SQuID: utvikle datasimuleringsverktøy for forskning og undervisning i statistiske analyser på flere nivåer

Awarded: NOK 4.5 mill.

Almost every scientific discipline now requires some level of aptitude in quantitative methods and statistics, with deep relevance for society in terms of the impacts of science education and research. The collection and analysis of data in the life sciences is also rapidly improving with large data sets from high-throughput DNA sequencing to automatic tracking and video systems in behaviour and physiology. The effective use of statistical methods is therefore a key aspect of biology teaching and research. Our response to this is SQuID (Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences) - an international collaboration of researchers and educators using customised data simulations to understand complex statistical models to investigate diversity in biological systems. This INTPART extension of SQuID, based at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, NTNU, involves 12 academic institutions in 9 countries, and will combine world-class collaborative research with excellence in science education.

SQuID (Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences) is an international network using customised data simulations of variability at multiple hierarchical levels to improve the use of generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs). This INTPART extension of SQuID will formalize and thus facilitate world-class collaborative research with excellence in education in Norway by creating a long-term international cooperation with 12 academic institutions in 9 countries. SQuID will accomplish this via three linked activities at the SFF Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), NTNU, that will further extend its research excellence in quantitative methods and develop robust future teaching programs at NTNU. First, using workshops at CBD and 5 focal institutions in target countries, we will formally trial various innovative teaching methods as part of short graduate courses for local students and faculty. Second, original research programs will be promoted in 4 subtopics in which GLMMs could have significant impact within biology. Third, the SQuID opensource data simulation and interactive tutorial software will be further developed for use in research, formal statistics courses and individual-based learning at NTNU and elsewhere. The expanded SQuID collaborative network of institutes will allow us to focus on key research questions with specific relevance to local and national strategy, which will in turn drive improvements by CBD staff in the SQuID data simulations and online tutorials. Research exchanges for promising researchers and students will enhance these activities and identify future members of the SQuID network. The effectiveness of SQuID interactive teaching, use of social media and online tutorials for both classes and distance learning will be assessed with the help of NTNU educational professionals, allowing for greater improvement and dissemination of best-practice in these educational approaches at NTNU, across Norway and beyond.

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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research