Elaborating a common pan-European Bioinformatics Training Strategy

Monday, November 4, 2013
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, United Kingdom

Workshop Aims

From 4-5 November 2013, TGAC hosted an international meeting, to reach consensus between several institutions (including those involved in ELIXIR Nodes with a training component) on common and scalable Actions (based on what each Node and other partners are doing and can offer) required to implement a Pan-European Training Strategy.

Expected Outcomes

Action plan containing commitments, deliverables and milestones from those participating (with a clear time-line, indicating who does what by when).

Programme

Day 1

Lunchtime-Afternoon
 
12:00 Lunch & registration
12:30 Welcome & round table introductions
13:00 Lightening talks from meeting representatives
          What are the training needs? What are you doing to address these needs? What can you offer at pan-
          European level that’s sustainable? What is your vision for pan-European over-arching training strategy?
            TGAC, UK - Vicky Schneider
            DTU, DK - Thomas Blicher
            University of Oslo, NO - Stale Nygard
            SIB, CH - Patricia Palagi
            MIB, UK - Natalie Stanford
            EdGe, UK - Mick Watson
            HUJI, IL - Michal Linial
            University of Tartu, EE - Hedi Peterson
            Pirbright, UK - Jan Kim
            EBI, UK - Gabriella Rustici
            CSC, FI - Eija Korpelainen
            INSTRUCT - Claudia Alen Amaro
            CGAT, UK - Chris Ponting
            NBIC, NL - Celia van Gelder
            ISBE - Barbara Skene
            EBI, UK - Cath Brooksbank
            ABN, AU - Annette McGrath
            SSI, UK - Aleksandra Pawlik
            IMG, CZ - Jan Paces
            University of Ljubljana, SI - Peter Juvan
            IGC, PT - Pedro Fernandes
            Software Carpentry, USA - Titus Brown
            GOBLET - Terri Attwood
14.30 Coffee break
15:00 Common areas and efforts, and unique strengths
          Defining aims/milestones we aspire to achieve (registry of trainers/materials, bootcamps/hackathons,
          scaling up, e-learning etc.?)
16:30 Present milestones, establish who will work on what - Actions
18.00 Day 1 closes
19:00 Dinner

Day 2

Morning-Lunchtime

09:00 In groups, define specific (achievable) deliverables and Actions
          (with clear time-lines, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms)
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Present and discuss agreed actions, formulate road-map
12:00 Lunch
14:00 Meeting closes

Outcomes

The event focused on several key areas: raising awareness, the bioinformatics curriculum, and recognition and accreditation for bioinformatics training - see TGAC press release.

Discussions took place around the need to avoid redundancy across the diverse training efforts, and especially in creating multiple repositories. Emphasis was placed on the importance of synchronising developments, both on a national and international level. For example the GOBLET training portal that already exists (www.mygoblet.org/training-portal) needs to be considered alongside future plans coming from the ELIXIR Nodes.

In terms of the bioinformatics curriculum it was agreed that it is important to:

  • Liaise with community/target audiences to understand their needs in order to design relevant courses;
  • Liaise with existing programmes (e.g., GOBLET), and consult them about the courses based on the experience they already have;
  • Benchmark against other courses.

To achieve this, plans are in the pipeline to organise events in international settings, such as a special session at ISMB in Boston in July 2014, and a discussion group at ECCB in Strasbourg in September 2014.

The need to define standards and appropriate benchmarking was agreed, as was the need to disseminate best working practice. It was also decided that evaluation by trainees and by trainers (peers) should be considered to ensure learning had been transformative.

The meeting closed with a set of agreed objectives and a proposal to meet again in six months to ensure momentum is maintained.

The meeting generated lots of discussion, both during and after the event: Titus Brown shared his thoughts about the meeting, and has since shared his reflections on bioinformatics training suites.