8th SPINE Summer School 2022: 16 - 19 August

The 8th SPINE Summer School will be organized by the University of Basel and will take place onsite adressing the topic  "Causal Inference for Health Research".


Not only since Bradford-Hill formulated his criteria to determine when to conclude causal relationships from observational data have health researchers been trying to identify robust methods for causal inference. In recent years the interest in causal inference has increased in diverse fields from epidemiology to artificial intelligence, from economics to biostatistics.

Understanding and predicting the effect of interventions is a fundamental component of effective policy and decision making. The ultimate goal of the majority of studies in health services (and public health more generally) is to establish if and how changing policies, practices and behaviours will affect health outcomes. 

Questions about the consequences of an action are of a causal nature and are therefore best tackled within a causal inference framework. Where appropriate, explicitly framing study questions with causal language has several advantages over common analytical approaches: adding to the transparency of the objectives and the underlying structural assumptions, clarifying the interpretation and the potential limitations of any analysis. 

Reasoning about causality with directed acyclic graphs, by describing data-generating mechanisms with causal diagrams, we can further enhance/improve the communications between scientific investigators, analysts and other stakeholders.

Especially in the context of real-world data analysis causal inference offers a coherent framework to strengthen the quality of the conclusions we can draw from quantitative analyses of empirical evidence in order to inform and guide decisions which carry the potential to impact public health and society.


The 2022 SPINE Summer School will bring international scholars and PhD students together to introduce key principles for causal inference from observational data including specifying a precise research question, working with directed acyclic graphs and the structural causal model. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how these principles can be applied to their own research project. The Summer School 2022 will be on-site at the University of Basel and offers a mix of lectures on methodological key challenges, active group work led by senior researchers, formative feedbacks from peers and experienced researchers to foster interaction and critical thinking.


Credits and CertificatesCertificate of attendance / 2 ECTS
Contact & Questionsmichelle.killenberger@unibas.ch
Michelle Killenberger
Course Fees

• Regular fee: CHF 1120
• External PhD Students: CHF 720
• INS & IUFRS-Alumnae: CHF 720
• PhD students INS & IUFRS: free
• Faculty INS & IUFRS: free

DateAugust 16 - 19 August 2022

Participants should have successfully completed graduate level courses in research methodology/statistics and be familiar with health research concepts.

RegistrationApplication form, see above (online)

For external PhD students/participants:

  • Recent CV (2 pages max)
  • Confirmation of enrolment in a PhD program

(if applicable)

Registration Deadline20 June 2022
Time / commitment6.5 hours / day class

2 hours preparation per day
Target groupDoctoral students, faculty members and researchers from all health care disciplines


Giusi Moffa, PhD

Michael Simon, PhD, RN

Sara Lodi, PhD

In cooperation with

Institut Universitaire de Formation et de Recherche en Soins IUFRS, Faculté de biologie et de médecine