PhD Courses in Denmark

Components of causal inference with focus on assumptions and confounding control

Doctoral School in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Technology at Aalborg University

Welcome to: Components of causal inference with focus on assumptions and confounding control 

PhD Programme: Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Purpose: You already know that establishing a causal relationship is distinct from observing an association. While individuals who receive the flu vaccine tend to have a lower mortality rate compared to those who do not, we must consider whether this lower mortality is directly attributable to the vaccine or if it arises from other distinctions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. The concept of confounding introduces a pervasive bias when we compare groups that are not fundamentally similar. It represents a substantial challenge to drawing accurate causal conclusions from observational data. Consequently, the course's primary focus revolves around the essential task of mitigating confounding in epidemiological research using various techniques.

Course objectives: This course focus on models for confounding control (or adjustment), their application to epidemiologic data, and the assumptions required to endow the parameter estimates with a causal interpretation. The course introduces participants to a set of methods for confounding control with focus on survival analysis: methods that require measuring confounders and how this could be applied in perspective to the research question of interest. Specifically, the course introduces aspects of directed acyclic graphs, outcome regression, propensity score methods, and inverse-probability weighting of marginal structural models as means for confounding control, and how this can be implemented and analysed in standard statistical software.

Course format: Class lectures and hands-on workshop

Organizer: Peter Brønnum Nielsen, PhD, Assoc. Prof., Department of Clinical Medicine, AAU

Lecturers: Søren Paaske Johnsen, Peter Brønnum Nielsen, Chalotte W. Nicolajsen, +additional


Date: 18-20 November 2024

Time: 9:00-15:30

Place: SUND building, Aalborg University, Selma Lagerløfs Vej 249

Zip code: 9260 

City: Gistrup

Number of seats: 25

Deadline: 28 October 2024

Requirements: Basic training in epidemiology required (eg., the AAU course “Epidemiology – Basic principles” or similar). Basic statistics and basic programming abilities with Stata or R. All participants must bring a laptop with either Stata or R installed.

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registration.