Friday, May 1, 2015

The need for bioinformatics education

In recent years, high-throughput technologies have brought big data to the life sciences. The march of progress has been rapid, leaving in its wake a demand for courses in data analysis, data stewardship, computing fundamentals, etc., a need that universities have not yet been able to satisfy—paradoxically, many are actually closing “niche” bioinformatics courses at a time of critical need. The impact of this is being felt across continents, as many students and early-stage researchers are being left without appropriate skills to manage, analyse, and interpret their data with confidence.

The Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training (GOBLET) is focusing on developing a training portal into a global, community-centered resource and supporting activities to train the next generation of bioinformaticians. Since its formation in 2012, GOBLET has quadrupled its membership and successfully built upon the earlier work of the Bioinformatics Training Network. Over recent years, GOBLET's achievements have included: co-launching with the ISCB Education committee a Community of Special Interest for Computational Biology Education; running various community-building events and workshops for the discussion of the design and content of bioinformatics training, and launching a training portal that acts as both a central repository of training materials and courses, and a catalog of trainers and course organizers. GOBLET aims to further develop high-quality, comprehensive, branded training materials and courses, and is currently exploring accreditation mechanisms.

In case you are interested to learn more about GOBLET, a new paper just published in PLoS Computational Biology is a good way to start.

For the first time, bioinformatics educators and trainers across the globe have come together to address common needs, rising above institutional and international boundaries to cooperate in sharing bioinformatics training expertise, experience, and resources, aiming to put ad hoc training practices on a more professional footing for the benefit of all.

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