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15th and 16th of August, 2018, Harvard University, Cambridge


The first annual R/Pharma conference will be held Wednesday, August 15th and Thursday, August 16th at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

R/Pharma is an ISC working group (www.r-consortium.org/projects/isc-working-groups) under the R Consortium. The conference is envisioned as a relatively small, scientifically & industry oriented, collegial event focused on the use of R in the development of pharmaceuticals. The conference will cover topics including reproducible research, regulatory compliance and validation, safety monitoring, clinical trials, drug discovery, research & development, PK/PD/pharmacometrics, genomics, diagnostics, immunogenicity and more. All will be discussed within the context of using R as a primary tool within the drug development process. The conference will showcase the current use of R that is helping to drive biomedical research, drug discovery & development, and clinical initiatives. (Note that topics related to the use of R in hospitals/clinics for patient care by clinicians, doctors, and researchers will likely be the focus of the upcoming R/Medicine conference.)

The conference will be a single track conference consisting of keynotes from renowned industry practitioners to key R developers to leading academics, pre-conference workshops and full-length presentations as well as a number of shorter, highly-energetic lightning talks.

R/Pharma is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability or any feature that distinguishes human beings. For more information, please see the R Consortium code of conduct.


We made a decision for our inaugural event to keep things small scale and to focus on establishing the trajectory into the future. Unfortunately in doing so, attendance capacity was scaled back considerably from what we had originally planned. Based on this years success, we plan to open up more spots next year.

The location will be the Center for Government and International Studies in the Tsai Auditorium at Harvard University and capped at 150 attendees.

As of now, we are planning to make the inaugural gathering a free event.

We plan to provide invitations firstly based on committee membership and advisory support, speaker acceptance, academic/student and diversity attendance. We are still determining the best path for opening general attendance and please check the website for updates that will be posted soon.

By design, R / Pharma is deliberately a smaller conference in terms of attendance in order to encourage maximum opportunities for direct interaction with speakers so I don't expect attendance to go over 300 in upcoming years.

Our entire event is a community-lead effort and 100% volunteer run. The event is vendor neutral and very much an academic conference. Harvard has been very helpful in hosting the event.

Organizing Committee:

Michael Lawrence Roche/Genentech
Paul Schuette FDA
Elena Rantou FDA
Elizabeth Hess IQSS Harvard University
Eric Nantz Eli Lilly
Harvey Lieberman Sanofi
Min Lee Amgen
Michael Blanks PPD
Edward Lauzier Merck
Melvin Munsaka AbbVie
James Black Roche/Genentech
Bella Feng Amgen
Reinhold Koch Roche/Genentech
Phil Bowsher RStudio


Confirmed keynote speakers below.

  • RStudio

    Max Kuhn Modeling in the tidyverse

    RStudio Twitter

    The tidyverse (tidyverse.org) is an opinionated collection of R packages designed for data science. All packages share an underlying design philosophy, grammar, and data structures. The packages primarily consist of tools for data ingest, manipulation, and visualization. In the last year or so, Rstudio and others have been creating a set of packages focused on the modeling process. In this talk, we will introduce the tidyverse and illustrate these new tools whose goals are to: simplify the modeling process, encourage empirical validation and good methodology, and to enable a wider variety of approaches.

  • FDA

    Lilliam Rosario Modernizing the new drug regulatory program in FDA/CDER: Can Collaborations and Sharing Help?

    FDA Bio

    Lilliam will be presenting a perspective on what the office of computational science is doing to support regulatory review for safety assessments. She will explore the concept of collaborations and sharing to support process and transparency, along with a perspective with the use of R.

  • Roche/Genentech

    Michael Lawrence Enabling open-source analytics in the enterprise

    Roche/Genentech Twitter

    The open-source analytics community is driving innovation in precompetitive spaces like statistical methodology, reproducibility approaches, visualization techniques, and scaling strategies. The diverse and rapidly evolving ecosystem of open-source tools and standards stands in contrast with the disposition of the enterprise towards stability, standardization, and reliability. This talk will present the policies and frameworks we have developed at Genentech to enable internal scientists to responsibly leverage open-source tools and to participate in the community process through their own contributions.

  • RStudio

    Joe Cheng Using interactivity responsibly in pharma

    RStudio Twitter

    Shiny is a package for turning analyses written in R into interactive web applications. This capability has obvious applications in pharma, as it lets R users build interactive apps for their collaborators to explore models or results, or to automate workflows. However, the interactivity of Shiny apps is a double-edged sword, as it introduces challenges to the traceability and reproducibility of your analysis. To use interactive applications in pharma responsibly, these challenges must be addressed. In this talk, I'll look at some of the tools and techniques you can use in Shiny to deal with these challenges head-on.


Harvard University, CGIS South, Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA, USA. Cambridge, MA


Several out-of-town attendees will be staying at the Sheraton Commander which is a short walk from CGIS building.

This hotel is a 13 minute walk to the conference venue. You can make a booking on their website: http://www.sheratoncommander.com/

There are several other hotels nearby as well as a thriving Airbnb community.

Schedule and abstracts

Please visit here for the full program.


Harvard University, Harvard Data Science Initiative and Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science


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