Continuous development of bioinformatics research infrastructure team leads

Data-intensive analysis is a large – and rapidly increasing – component of the molecular life sciences, and bioinformatics core facility scientists and managers are key members of the research team. With a heavy workload and a complex skillset, opportunities to train and network are essential.
Continuous development of bioinformatics research infrastructure team leads

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As more and more data-driven methodologies are implemented to solve biology-based questions, the need for high-throughput analysis tools and technologies also increases at an accelerated pace. Bioinformatics core facilities come into play to address this increasing need of data-intensive analysis, and in consequence, enable research in the molecular life sciences.

Bioinformatics core facility members are highly specialised professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds in fields such as computer sciences, research infrastructures and/or life sciences. Often, they also combine service-oriented duties while doing research themselves.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ type of bioinformatics core facility; academic, industry or clinical, smaller or bigger teams, the number of groups and users that they service, the financing model that they follow, the services they provide like user training, grant planning and writing support, etc. – team leads of these facilities must look after all these aspects, while also seeking progression for themselves and their team members.

Aiming to support these team leads and their groups, the European Bioinformatics Institute, a part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI), offers the course Managing a bioinformatics core facility.  This course provides a knowledge exchange platform between this institute’s service teams, bioinformatics research infrastructure leads from other institutions, and fifteen bioinformatics core facility scientists and managers from countries all over the globe.

Over three consecutive days, the trainers, organisers and participants will identify the strengths and limitations of the participants’ core facilities; apply frameworks for designing new services or redesigning existing services; analyse cost models and their role on different types of core facilities; identify strategies and approaches on project management, performance and impact, team building and employee engagement.

Core facility scientists and their team leads handle excessively heavy work loads. The in-person setting of the course offers an invaluable opportunity not only to analyse the logistical and service aspects of their facilities, but also to take the time to network and exchange experiences with research infrastructure leads, specialists in different fields and fellow core facility managers from different countries.

The 2024 iteration of this course is organised in collaboration with RItrainPlus and will take place from the 29–31 of October at the EMBL-EBI training facilities in Hinxton, UK. Fifteen places are being offered, and to support bioinformatics core facility managers to attend the event, two travel bursaries are being provided by RItrainPlus. Applications for this course will close on 28 July.

Group photo, on three levels, standing on steps.
Managing a bioinformatics core facility, 2023 cohort of course participants and trainers.

Thank you to all our organisers and trainers for their time and dedication to supporting bioinformatics core facilities teams and their leads. Thank you to all the previous participants for their enthusiasm and eagerness to strengthen their teams and services. Also, thanks to RITrainPlus for supporting this course and the participants for attending. We are looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of core facility scientists this year.

Please note that some materials from previous iterations of the course are available through the EMBL-EBI Training website. Browse this website to access different training resources such as webinars, on-demand self-paced tutorials and collections, as well as the list of all our upcoming and past courses. If you are a team lead in a life-science research group, make sure to take a look at the materials from the Bioinformatics for principal investigators course.

Images by EMBL-EBI.

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