The Biostatistics Training Initiative (BTI), previously known as the Oncology Research and Methods Training Program (ORMTP) from 2010 to 2015, is funded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). This program has already placed 26 Master’s level Biostatistics students from the University of Waterloo into Ontario cancer centres including the London Health Sciences Centre, Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Eighteen of these interns were hired into cancer research positions upon graduation.
The program was created to address the need for highly skilled biostatisticians to work with large databases, to deal with escalated technological development in serological, tumour, and genetic biomarker research, to advance our understanding of disease risk and disease course, to guide treatment decisions, and to assess response to treatment. The massive amounts of data routinely collected now means quantitative methods aimed at detecting important signals are in greater demand than ever. Close collaborations between biostatistical, laboratory, clinical and population health scientists are vital to meet these goals in a timely fashion. This program had stimulated interdisciplinary collaborative research and training involving the oncology and biostatistics research communities.