ELIXIR Training Platform (2024-26)

The ELIXIR Training Platform (TrP) is building a network of training resources and services that aim to promote collaboration, visibility, and standardisation. SPLASH, a digital hub, showcases core services like TeSS and enhances the training life cycle.

Work Packages focus on infrastructure, guidelines, and Train-the-Trainer resources. Collaboration across ELIXIR entities is essential, as are standardised guidelines and a supportive community for knowledge sharing. The project's success will transform training delivery within the community.

Lead partners: BSC (Spain), INAB/CERTH (Greece), NBIS (Sweden)

The ExCo's role in governing the Training Platform involves overseeing and following up on the tasks in the Work Programme. This includes providing regular oversight through chairing monthly TrCG calls and supporting the organisation of the annual meeting for platform members.

Effective communication and alignment with other platforms are emphasised, along with providing feedback and recommendations based on wider community consultation and long-term goals. Additionally, strategic planning is necessary to ensure the platform's sustainability and explore avenues for additional support, including industry engagement and competitive funding calls.

Activity 1: Project management and coordination

ExCo’s will govern the platform and the work conducted by its members. This includes overseeing and follow-up on the tasks undertaken in the Work Programme. To effectively oversee the Training Platform activities, the responsibility includes chairing the monthly TrCG calls.

Additionally, it involves assisting in the coordination of the annual meeting for the Training Platform members. In order to maintain alignment, it is crucial to establish regular channels of communication with the other Platforms.

As part of the Hub's outreach activities, providing feedback on the Training Platform's initiatives is essential. This feedback should be based on recommendations derived from consulting the wider ELIXIR TrP community and ensuring alignment with ELIXIR's defined long-term goals (Priorities and Ambitions).

Moving forward in the 2024-2026 CoS Project, continuous strategy work needs to be taken as to prepare for the future and consolidate the work ongoing. This is an important aspect with regards to the platform's sustainability and life cycle.

Particular focus will be given in pursuing additional venues of support that will complement the existing and planned activities of the Training Platform. Examples of such venues include traditional competitive funding calls, private-public partnership efforts as well as industry engagement.

Lead partners: VIB (Belgium), SIB (Switzerland), Athena Research Center (Greece)

This work package focuses on consolidating the Training Platform Infrastructure, including both its services and resources. This is specifically important to keep increasing collaboration with the community and make the Platform and its activities visible to all stakeholders. To do so, a technical infrastructure to support related activities is essential.

This WP comprises the existing Training Metrics Database and aims to expand it to better support communities and standards as well as SPLASH (the acronym SPLASH is short for Skills, Professional development, Learning Assessment, Support and Help along the training life cycle), a digital environment representing a “one-stop-shop” for ELIXIR Training Platform services. Content of SPLASH will be produced in WP3, and the SPLASH website will be constructed in WP2.

Activity 1: Expanding the TMD to support communities and standards

A key component in measuring the impact of the ELIXIR Training Platform is the Training Metrics Database (TMD). The main goal of this Task is to enhance and improve the overall functionality of the service, while also updating and further refining the feedback survey questions to better reflect the changes in the overall regulatory frameworks (GDPR, etc).

As an example, the survey questions could be complemented by “impact stories” / narratives tied to the respective training efforts. In order to better facilitate this, a direct connection to existing initiatives (such as the ELIXIR Impact Focus Group and the RIPath) will be assessed.

Looking beyond ELIXIR, the additional functionality will also aim to support topic-specific and/or Node-specific survey questions, as well as use by communities not directly tied to ELIXIR (such as the Bioconductor community). The expectation is that TMD will be ultimately supported as a multi-node service delivery plan, with distinct Nodes picking up the various responsibilities, which include software maintenance, service hosting, user support, etc).

Activity 2: Establishing the technical infrastructure and operations of the Training Platform’s Training Life Cycle

The main effort of this WP will be to establish the technical infrastructure components that are currently missing, ultimately providing a coherent space for the content and outcomes of the Training Platform.

One key aspect is the requirement for these resources and documentation to be open, easily maintained for sustainable purposes, and tailored for a non-technical audience which will allow better adoption amongst the training coordinators and providers across the Nodes.

This activity will work to achieve this by adding the technical functionality in these resources and creating documentation for standard operating procedures that will assist existing and new technical maintainers to be onboarded and provide clear instructions on how to use these technical resources.

Lead partners: NKUA (Greece), The Arctic University of Norway (Norway), University of Cambridge (UK)

The main objective of this work package is to establish comprehensive guidelines for the complete training life cycle, which will be featured on the SPLASH website. These guidelines will be demonstrated through a few pilot cases that address currently missing topics.

The aim is to create a framework that encompasses various aspects, such as designing and implementing training resources, maintaining FAIR principles, establishing pathways, and delivering effective training, while also maintaining links and alignment to relevant efforts within ELIXIR (such as the Open Science activity in Node CoS).

Additionally, the work package focuses on defining the roles and expectations of a Training Coordinator and Training Platform members from both the ELIXIR TrP and Node perspectives. This includes formalising expectations, creating Node-specific requirements, and developing an onboarding process for new Training Coordinators. The ultimate goal is to establish a clear identity for ELIXIR Training Platform members and facilitate a more formal recognition process.

Activity 1: Unleashing the ELIXIR Training Lifecycle

The main goal of this WP is to build upon the BioHackathon23 Training SPLASH project and provide a framework (as a set of guidance documents/webpages) of the training services that can be used in combination towards a complete ELIXIR training life cycle, i.e., starting planning a training event, to the design and implementation of the individual training resources, to the connection across a pathway while maintaining the FAIR principles, to the skills required to effectively deliver it, to gathering and reporting course assessment.

This is meant to reuse/expand/build on the TrP handbook homogenising across the structure provided in the training lifecycle, and serve as content for the technical infrastructure developed in WP2.

Activity 2: Defining a Training Platform Standard Operating Procedure

The Training Platform interacts with diverse communities throughout the ELIXIR ecosystem and aims to consolidate access to services and resources across the training lifecycle. Many standardised processes already exist within the platform, but the majority are based on TrP tradition and culture rather than clearly defined and documented procedures.

The growing scale of operations necessitates a shift toward more formalised practices as the Training Platform expands its contributions and the TrP community changes and grows. Establishing a clear framework now will help immerse new members in the ELIXIR training community, provide structure and clarity to new Training Coordinators, and promote quick engagement with TrP activities.

Mapping ELIXIR Training Platform activities and formalising member roles also paves the way to introduce a more formal recognition process for member roles and their contributions. The goals in WP3 will be complementary linked to ELIXIR-STEERS WP4 ‘Strengthening and equipping ELIXIR Nodes and Node staff with key skills and resources in organisation, management and training ́.

Lead Partners: SIB (Switzerland), EMBL Heidelberg (Germany), Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy)

The objectives of this task are to consolidate all Train the Trainer (TtT) resources within the Training Platform's technical infrastructure, expand the TtT efforts to include impact assessment and onboarding, and foster the growth of the TtT community (considered for co-development with TtT content creation and training delivery under the People/Node Tiers in addition to the links to ELIXIR-STEERS WP4, Task 4.1 and 4.3).

The activities for the TrP WP4 will involve populating dedicated web pages/portals for TtT within the Training SPLASH, ensuring easy access and maintenance of TtT materials. It will also include FAIRification of content through a GitHub repository, developing additional resources for specific needs, implementing an impact assessment strategy, and creating a supportive environment for TtT instructors to share experiences and knowledge.

Activity 1: Consolidating the TtT programme, materials and content

This Task will be focused on consolidating the TtT resources, in alignment with the 5 steps of the TrP Life Cycle , to facilitate reuse by ELIXIR Nodes and beyond, and onboarding of TtT instructors. The task has clear links with ELIXIR-STEERS WP4 activities.

Activity 2: Nurturing of theTtT instructors’ community

This activity will be funded and covered as part of the ELIXIR 2024-2028 Programme People Tier.