Best practices in bioinformatics training for life scientists.

Allegra Via, Thomas Blicher, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, Michelle D Brazas, Cath Brooksbank, Aidan Budd, Javier De Las Rivas, Jacqueline Dreyer, Pedro L Fernandes, Celia van Gelder, Joachim Jacob, Rafael C Jimenez, Jane Loveland, Federico Moran, Nicola Mulder, Tommi Nyrönen, Kristian Rother, Maria Victoria Schneider, Teresa K Attwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The mountains of data thrusting from the new landscape of modern high-throughput biology are irrevocably changing biomedical research and creating a near-insatiable demand for training in data management and manipulation and data mining and analysis. Among life scientists, from clinicians to environmental researchers, a common theme is the need not just to use, and gain familiarity with, bioinformatics tools and resources but also to understand their underlying fundamental theoretical and practical concepts. Providing bioinformatics training to empower life scientists to handle and analyse their data efficiently, and progress their research, is a challenge across the globe. Delivering good training goes beyond traditional lectures and resource-centric demos, using interactivity, problem-solving exercises and cooperative learning to substantially enhance training quality and learning outcomes. In this context, this article discusses various pragmatic criteria for identifying training needs and learning objectives, for selecting suitable trainees and trainers, for developing and maintaining training skills and evaluating training quality. Adherence to these criteria may help not only to guide course organizers and trainers on the path towards bioinformatics training excellence but, importantly, also to improve the training experience for life scientists.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-537
Number of pages10
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 25 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-I1-012-43
Acknowledgements: The article Open Access charge was jointly funded by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC, Norwich, UK), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, UK), the SLU-Global Bioinformatics Centre (SGBC, Uppsala, Sweden), the SeqAhead (COST Action, BM1006) and EMBnet. Meetings of the Bioinformatics Training Network were hosted at the EBI from 2009-2011, supported by the SLING project, funded by the European Commission within Research Infrastructures of the FP7 Capacities Specific Programme, grant agreement number 226073. The B3CB meeting was hosted by EMBnet in Uppsala, Sweden, and the BTN2012 and the GOBLET kick-off meeting were hosted by the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre (NBIC). AV is supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), award number KUK-I1-012-43.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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