A close collaboration exists between VAXINFECTIO UAntwerpen and CenStat UHasselt via the Methusalem Consortium.
The CenStat at the University of Hasselt is headed by Prof Marc Aerts and was founded in May 1998 as a result of a growing applied statistics branch within the University. The scientific research conducted within the CenStat is internationally renowned, both for its theoretical as well as for its applied component. It attracts numerous foreign students to the training in biostatistics and collaborates worldwide with many (inter)national institutions and top companies in the pharmaceutical sector. The successful collaboration of more than 15 years with the CEV, UAntwerpen and with many other VAXINFECTIO groups, has led to its participation in the Methusalem consortium. The Methusalem funding enables joining the expertise of VAXINFECTIO and CenStat on a long-term basis with shared appointments, enabling the consortium to play a pivotal role internationally. Indeed, CenStat is continuously expanding its international network and is increasingly involved in cutting-edge EU funded projects like the FP7 funded project on Integrated Design and Analysis of Small Population Group Trials (IDEAL) in collaboration with universities and research institutes in Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Poland and Luxembourg and MIMOmics (Methods for Integrated analysis of multiple Omics datasets), a FP7-HEALTH-2012 Innovation project, coordinated by the Leiden University Medical Center. Another excellent example of CenStat’s collaboration between members from the pharmaceutical industry, the technology industry, and the research sector is the ExaScience Lab dedicated to investigate High Performance Computing (HPC) applications in the life sciences.
The MID group in particular has contributed to the POLYMOD (Improving Public Health Policy in Europe through Modelling and Economic Evaluation of Interventions for the Control of Infectious Diseases) under FP6 funding, along with the CEV at Antwerp University. Prof. Niel Hens is still very much involved in this collaborative network, which continues to stimulate partnerships, exchange of staff and data-sharing initiatives.
Beyond Flanders and Europe, CenStat reaches out to students, research institutes and universities in southern countries through unique VLIR-UOS funded education and research programs dedicated to building local capacity in biostatistics, epidemiology and public health methodology in developing countries. A recent expansion of CenStat’s internationalization is the Distance Learning Master Program in Biostatistics Program which already many involves students in Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia since its starting point in 2014.