Spatial and spatio-temporal models with R-INLA

Marta Blangiardo*, Michela Cameletti, Gianluca Baio, Håvard Rue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


During the last three decades, Bayesian methods have developed greatly in the field of epidemiology. Their main challenge focusses around computation, but the advent of Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods (MCMC) and in particular of the WinBUGS software has opened the doors of Bayesian modelling to the wide research community. However model complexity and database dimension still remain a constraint.Recently the use of Gaussian random fields has become increasingly popular in epidemiology as very often epidemiological data are characterised by a spatial and/or temporal structure which needs to be taken into account in the inferential process. The Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA) approach has been developed as a computationally efficient alternative to MCMC and the availability of an R package (R-INLA) allows researchers to easily apply this method.In this paper we review the INLA approach and present some applications on spatial and spatio-temporal data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
JournalSpatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Dr. Finn Lindgren for his help with the development of the R code implemented for the examples in Section 4 , and Dr. Léa Fortunato for her comments on Section 3.2–3.3 . Dr. Marta Blangiardo received partial support from the NERC-MRC Grant NE/I00789X/1 ; Dr. Gianluca Baio received partial support from the UK Department of Health’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centres funding scheme ; Dr. Michela Cameletti received partial support from the FYRE 2011 (Fostering Young REsearchers) project founded by Fondazione Cariplo and Università degli Studi di Bergamo .

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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