ELIXIR and BioNT collaborate to support better targeted bioinformatics training

An ELIXIR-funded collaboration with the Bio Network for Training (BioNT) has resulted in a report on digital skills training demand and guidelines covering training delivery. These outputs will help target future bioinformatics training to areas of greatest need and boost the quality of the training.

BioNT is an international consortium of nine partners, including six academic organisations and three small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The consortium provides open access training for digital skills in the biotechnology industry and biomedical sector, along with activities to promote community building between industry and academia.

ELIXIR funding enabled representatives from ELIXIR Germany, Spain and Norway to attend a face-to-face meeting hosted by one of BioNT’s SME partners, HPCNow!, in Barcelona in autumn 2023. Meeting participants focused on analysing results from a bioinformatics training needs survey and producing guidelines on SME-targeted training. Analysis of the training needs survey has been published in a report and the training guidelines are also available.

The training needs survey had 68 responses and identified the participants by collecting their current employment situation, demographics and areas of expertise. The second part of the survey assessed participant training preferences, including topics of interest, desired interaction with other participants and preferred training timings.

Forty four respondents identified as academics and 19 were from industry, the five identifying as neither were excluded from the results. The most popular areas for training were “data analysis” (94.7% in industry and 84.1% in academia), followed by “software usage” and “data management” (both 52.6% in industry and 54.5% in academia). The full report contains analysis of all the survey questions.

As well as producing the report, the Barcelona meeting participants were able to discuss  collaboration opportunities involving BioNT and the ELIXIR infrastructure, including ELIXIR training resources, the ELIXIR industry programme and projects funded through the ELIXIR Scientific Programme 2024-28. The ideas and future plans are summarised in a short document.

The funding was part of the ELIXIR Knowledge Exchange Scheme, which supports partnerships between industry and ELIXIR members by providing travel and accommodation expenses for work on a collaborative project.

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Fri 23 February 2024