Courses » Health Research Fundamentals

Health Research Fundamentals


National Institute of Epidemiology [NIE], Indian Council of Medical Research [ICMR] is offering online programmes on conduct of human bio-medical research. The programme will be offered as NIE-ICMR e-Certificate – NIeCer - Courses. The first in this series, NIeCer 101:Health Research Fundamentals, is a basic level course in health research methods. It will explain the fundamental concepts in epidemiology and bio-statistics related to research methods. This course will provide an overview of steps and principles for designing bio-medical and health research studies among human participants. 


Any current or potential health researcher
We expect this course to be useful for individuals interested in pursuing health research in the roles of study investigators, clinical/public health researchers (physicians, counselors, research associates, social scientists, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, data and quality managers etc.), scientists, ethics committee members and project managers. 

  • Undergraduate students in medical/dental/nursing/AYUSH streams
  • Graduate in any discipline

Government/ private sector, public health service institutions/ agencies, Post graduate institutions in biomedical and allied sciences, Medical colleges/ Universities, NGOs engaged in health research, Clinical research organizations, Pharma companies and marketing research organizations


All the instructors are faculty members for the two-year Master of Public Health [MPH] programme at the ICMR School of Public Health of the NIE, Chennai, India. The School is offering MSc (Biostatistics) from this July. Besides the Master's level programmes, the faculty members have been conducting PG diploma and various short-term training programmes in public health/epidemiology and biostatistics. Besides teaching, the faculty members have been conducting epidemiological/public health research. For more details please visit www.nie.gov.in


D Bella Devaleenal, MBBS, DLO, MPH
Scientist C, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai
S Sriram, MBBS, MPH
Scientist C, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai
M Santhosh Kumar, MBBS, MPH
Scientist B, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
V Saravana Kumar, Ph.D
Scientist B, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
E Rajalakshmi, MD (Siddha), MSc (Epid.)
Project Scientist C, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
Upasana Sharma, BAMS, MPH
PhD scholar, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai 


Week 1: Conceptualizing a research study
Introduction to health research – Dr. Sanjay Mehendale
Formulating research question, hypothesis and objectives – Dr. P Manickam
Literature review – Dr. P Ganeshkumar

Week 2: Epidemiological considerations in designing a research study (1/2)
Measures of disease frequency – Dr. R Ramakrishnan
Descriptive study designs – Dr. Prabhdeep Kaur
Analytical study designs – Dr. Manoj Murhekar

Week 3:
 Epidemiological considerations in designing a research study (2/2)
Experimental study designs: Clinical trials - Dr. Sanjay Mehendale
Validity of epidemiological studies – Dr. Tarun Bhatnagar
Qualitative research methods: An overview – Dr. Tarun Bhatnagar

Week 4: Bio-statistical considerations in designing a research study 
Measurement of study variables – Dr. R Ramakrishnan
Sampling methods – Dr. R Ramakrishnan
Calculating sample size and power – Dr. R Ramakrishnan

Week 5: Planning a research study (1/2)
Selection of study population – Dr. P Ganeshkumar
Study plan and project management – Dr. Sanjay Mehendale
Designing data collection tools – Dr. Tarun Bhatnagar

Week 6:
 Planning a research study (2/2)
Principles of data collection – Dr. Prabhdeep Kaur
Data management – Dr. P Manickam
Overview of data analysis - Dr. P Manickam

Week 7:
 Conducting a research study
Ethical framework for health research – Dr. Sanjay Mehendale
Conducting clinical trials - Dr. Sanjay Mehendale

Week 8: Writing a research protocol
Preparing a concept paper for research projects – Dr. P Manickam
Elements of a protocol for research studies – Dr. Tarun Bhatnagar


M Saravanan, MSc
Technician A, National Institute of Epidemiology-ICMR, Chennai


P Sharly Devi, MSc
LDC, National Institute of Epidemiology-ICMR, Chennai

  • The exam is optional for fee.
  • Date and Time of Exams: April 28 (Saturday) and April 29 (Sunday) : Afternoon session: 2pm to 5pm.
  • Exam for this course will be available in one session on both 28 and 29 April.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More   details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.

Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of best 6 out of 8 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 50% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT MADRAS. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.


The final score will determine if you will/will not receive a certificate.

1. Final score less than 50 "Fail"
2. Final score between 50 to 69 "Successfully completed"
3. Final score between 70 to 89  "Elite"
4. Final score of 90 and above "Elite+Gold"