The scientific research conducted within the Center for Statistics, a division of I-BioStat, is internationally renowned, both for its theoretical as well as for its applied component. Also our education and consultancy records are excellent.
Given the growth of the statistics research group and the desire to unify our teaching, research, and consulting activities, the Center for Statistics (CenStat) has been established. This event took place in May 1998, at the occasion of the celebration of the 25th birthday of the UHasselt (then Limburgs Universitair Centrum) and the 10th anniversary of the "Master of Science in Biostatistics" program.
Currently, we proudly look back on a 35-year old tradition of statistics at UHasselt and a few years ago we celebrated the 10th anniversary of CenStat. Not only has the establishment of CenStat given more shape to the activities in the three domains, it also became the driving force for steady growth.
Since September 2007, the two-year Master in Statistics program has been structured according to four tracks. The first one, Biostatistics, is the oldest and grew out of the existing Master of Science programs. The second one, Bioinformatics, is strongly connected to but different from Biostatistics and focuses on genetics and bioinformatics. Third, we proudly feature a track in epidemiology and public health. Fourth, we prominently and separately present the ICP-Biostatistics program; it is very similar to the main Biostatistics Program, but places particular emphasis on topics relevant for South countries.
Our Master in Statistics program has led to a sharp increase in contacts with national and international expert centers. In turn, these contacts generated further collaborations. For example, it led to research funding from the Federal Government, Belgian Science Policy, FWO-Vlaanderen, IWT, NATO, and the European Community. For almost two decades, the education has been enriched with an extra dimension, due to cooperation with third world countries. Every year, a group of selected students from South countries take the international course program in Biostatistics. This program is funded by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR).
On 10 September 2008, the Leuven and Hasselt Rectors signed the Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (I-BioStat) agreement. For two decades, the Hasselt and Leuven entities have assumed responsibility over education, scientific consulting, and research in biostatistics, bioinformatics, and methodological statistics. Over time, strong collaborative links have been forged between both. The two groups then joined forces in an interuniversity institute. I-BioStat extends further the two divisions’ activities in biostatistics, statistical bioinformatics, and genetics. This is enabled by means of additional appointments at professorial and postdoctoral level, and through project-based investments. Jointly, Leuven and Hasselt are creating a well recognized platform.