Advanced data analysis workshop and data challenge.


Two days of learning  with data and competing in a fun challenge supported by the best experts

Data challenge

Cash price of up to £1000 for top teams given by our sponsors.  

Who is this for?

This satellite meeting is for researchers in physical activity who have a good grasp of statistics and some working knowledge of scripting in R and who want to learn something new and different. 


What do I need?

What if I don't have a team? 

How do I prepare?

Registration and Cost

Registration opens 1st of June 2018. PLACES ARE LIMITED 

(only 20 places)

Pragmatic info





A first: Learn, Play, Win

We are pleased to present a world first. ISPAHack will be the first ever physical activity data challenge. We are also lucky that with the help of our sponsors we can actually offer cash prices and clearly show that good skills in data analysis have value.  

Day 1: Workshop

The first day will be dedicated to learning advanced data analysis techniques in very small groups. We will use pragmatic examples and give you code to build upon to perform novel analyses and great data visualisation. Three topics will be covered:

  • Compositional Data Analysis: The Opencoda team (Duncan McGregor and Javier Palarea) will  demystify CoDa and show you how to model, plot and use compositional data in physical activity research. 
  • Functional data analysis: Vadim Zipunnikov ( ) will introduce how to analyses continuous pattern of activity. 
  • Non-linear pattern analysis: Seb Chastin will explain the dynamics of 24 hours pattern of activity and how to deal with bouts statistics and other representation of behaviour (e.g. Markov models).

Groups will have a maximum of 10 students. 

Day 2: Data challenge

Teams of four analysts will be formed and at 9:00 am we will distribute a large physical activity data set and a research question. Teams will have 8 hours to perform a creative, novel and interesting analysis to answer the question using this data set. The team will have to put together a 3 minutes presentation of their results to show in front of a panel of experts.

Data Challenge

What is it?

Hackathon and data challenges are now pretty common place. They are a great way to learn, have fun, make friends but also move knowledge forward in big leaps. Surprisingly we have not used them much in physical activity research. 


It will be a chance for the people who often work in the darkness (the geeks and analysts) to shine and have the value of their work rewarded.

How it will go!

  • STEP 1: On the 11th of October during the workshop we will constitute teams. Some of you might come in teams preformed too.
  • STEP 2: At 9 am on the 12th we will gather at the venue and distribute a dataset and research question simultaneously to all the teams.
  • STEP 3: Teams will have 8 hours to work with the data, codes and the help of our expert team at hand to develop a novel, creative and insightful analysis.
  • STEP 4: Teams will have to give a 3 minutes presentation of their results in front of a judging panel.
  • STEP 5: We will go and party in Glasgow.
  • STEP 6: Winners and prices will be revealed in London. 


The top three teams will be given cash prices. YES CASH PRICES!!!!

This thanks to our sponsors and up to £1000. YES £1000.


Teams' output will be judged on the following criteria

  1. Significance of the advance or innovation in the methodology
  2. The creativity of the analysis 
  3. The elegance of the analysis

The panel will judge the presentation but also codes produced.


The output need to be entirely generated with R.

No contact with external experts or coder will be allowed on the day. 

All output from the challenge (codes and presentation) will be made freely available on

If the panel feels that there is ground to produce a manuscript out of the results all the attendants to the workshop will be invited to contribute. 

What can we expect as data and question?


It would not be much fun if we told you. It is a secret but we guarantee that it is going to be fun and very relevant to contemporary physical activity research.

Who is this for?

Before you register make sure you check this!

This workshop is for anybody who deals with data and has a good grounding in stats (from dabbler to total nerd), and who wants to challenge themselves.

To really be able to benefit from the workshop and take part in the data challenge though, you must have some experience in manipulating data using scripting languages. R is the language we will use. If you have experience in SAS and SPSS scripts then you should be able to adapt.  We recommend that you spend a little time doing one of these excellent free courses




This is not a zero to hero course! You must understand basic statistics such as linear regression (not just pressing SPSS buttons). 


What do I Need?

You will need a laptop with latest version of the FREE software 

- R (

- Rstudio ( 

Please load some basic packages into R

- ggplot2

- ggtern

You will need some passion for data and learning and a good sense of humour

How do I prepare?

We recommend that you make yourself as familiar with R as possible. This book is one of our favorite

There are plenty of free courses to get you started on R




What if I don't have a team?

Don't worry. We are going to spend some quality time in Glasgow (secret party) so you will get to know other people. We will form teams on the first day. This is the first time that such an event happens so you will not be on your own.

I am still not sure this is for me?

Please get in touch and we will discuss this with you and guide you.

There will be no refund!

Can we come as a team?

Yes of course, teams have to have four members. If you are not four we will find you some team mates. If you are more then we will need to form more than one team.

Why so few places and how are they allocated.

We want to keep number down to enable better learning and more interaction between attendee and the team of experts. We want this event to be quite personable and ensure level is quite high.

Places are allocated on the first come first served. Registration opens 1st of June and will close when 20 places are filled.

Registration and Cost

Registration opens 1st June - ONLY 20 PLACES

To register please follow this link: .

The cost of attending the satellite meeting is £250. This will include the workshops, codes teaching material and entry to the data challenge. Lunches, tea and coffee will be provided.

Our team will be in touch with you after registration to give you further details and send you material.

NB: make sure you check this is for you. No refund will be given

Pragmatic Information


The satellite meeting will take place at Glasgow Caledonian University. The campus is right in the heart of Scotland most vibrant and lively city. 

It is easily reachable via air or train with several daily connection with London and many international airports.

Exact details of room will be given upon registration.


Glasgow offers the full spectrum of accommodation from super swanky hotel to boutique and budget.

We have special discount rate for this event     


Glasgow is easily reachable by air or train. Getting to our campus from the airport takes about 20 minutes and 5 minutes from the train station.

Flight from London are about 1 hour long. 

We will start at 9 am on the 11th and finish around 17:00 on the 12th October. We are likely to party on the evening of the 12th!!!!!

You can your travel accordingly