Bioinformatics training: a global survey of training needs

TitleBioinformatics training: a global survey of training needs
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSchneider V, Brazas MD, Lewitter F, Attwood TK, Consortium GOBLET
Keywordsbioinformatics skills gap, bioinformatics skills survey, Bioinformatics training

The need for bioinformatics training is fast outstripping the pace of global training provision. The problem isn’t just affecting students – many postdoctoral researchers, research associates and even PIs/Group Leaders are discovering that they lack the skills necessary to analyse and interpret their data effectively. The situation has been exacerbated by the closure of bioinformatics degree programmes, leaving the educational gaps to be filled with a host of short, ad hoc, geographically dispersed training courses.

The issues aren’t just anecdotal. In 2013, the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB), in association with members of GOBLET (Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training –, surveyed bioinformatics training needs amongst life scientists. From >200 responses, the results showed that 76% considered themselves to be self-taught, or relied on colleagues to help them use bioinformatics tools and resources; 67% felt that data analysis and interpretation was the area in which training was most needed; 74% suggested that extra training should be delivered via hands-on workshops (57% suggesting a preference for e-learning).

Given these findings, and results from related surveys (e.g., from ELIXIR-UK), we wanted to assess the scale of the problem by casting the net wider, to gain a more global perspective on current bioinformatics training needs. Accordingly, we re-launched the SEB survey, driving it out to more networks/societies worldwide, but keeping the questions the same so that results from last year can be more readily compared. This poster presents an analysis of the full results from the global survey.