ELIXIR training team builds closer bioinformatics links with Brazil

In June 2023, members of ELIXIR Portugal and ELIXIR Switzerland visited Curitiba, Brazil, to collaborate on training in data management and Findable Accessible Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data with Brazilian research and innovation organisations.

The six-month project ran for the first half of 2023 and was funded by the ELIXIR Staff Exchange Programme. It culminated in the delivery of a course in ELIXIR-based biological data management to 25 life scientists and a hackathon to FAIRify training materials, which were both co-located with the international conference of the Brazilian Association for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (AB3C). 

Following the training there were visits to the National Cancer Institute (INCA) and the FioCruz Foundation, in Rio de Janeiro, where an Introduction to Data Management Plans course was delivered. There were opportunities to share experiences about training and data management initiatives in ELIXIR and Brazilian organisations and discuss ideas for future collaborations.

Like most European countries, Brazil participates in a range of projects to share genomes and health data, all of which require high-level expertise in data management. Jorge Oliveira, Deputy Technical Coordinator of ELIXIR Portugal said: “Teaching data management in a different culture brings new challenges and fresh approaches to teaching. It was inspiring to see everyone sharing ideas and methods and working together to overcome difficulties.”

Patricia Palagi, co-lead of ELIXIR’s train-the-trainer activities, who also travelled to Brazil commented: “It was fantastic to meet so many people genuinely interested in good training, and to work together to make future (and legacy) training materials open to all and FAIR.” 

It was the first time the FAIR Training handbook, a major ELIXIR and global community effort, was used to teach others how to FAIRify their training materials. The participants rated the course effectiveness very highly and reported they would immediately put their learnings into practice.

Bruna Piereck, Bioinformatics Trainer at ELIXIR Belgium, who contributed to the training events online, said "This project was an amazing opportunity to strengthen ties between ELIXIR Nodes and to initiate new collaborations with Brazilian organisations."

Next steps include building long term collaborations between ELIXIR Portugal and Brazilian bioinformatics institutes. An initial task is further development of the ELIXIR FAIR training handbook in partnership with colleagues from Brazil. There is also scope for additional staff exchanges to cement the bilateral links.

Participants of the “Ready for BioData Management? Introduction to Data Management Plans” course, showcasing their data management plan canvas.

Find out more

Contact: Joana Wingender (joana.wingender [at] elixir-europe.org)

Supported by:

Mon 4 September 2023