Bioinformatics training & education: towards global sustainable solutions
Bioinformatics education and training is in strong demand. Undergraduate and postgraduate students are discovering that they lack the necessary training to use bioinformatics tools and databases – to which their daily work increasingly exposes them – most effectively. While ‘high-throughput biology’ is transforming the bioinformatics research landscape, many bioinformatics degree programmes are closing down, leaving the resulting educational gaps to be filled with a variety of short, ad hoc, geographically dispersed training courses. The emergence of this ‘new biology’ is challenging trainers and educators not only to cover basic bioinformatics concepts during their courses, but also to stay abreast with new technologies as they emerge (e.g. NGS). Here, the problems are particularly acute, given the speed of turnover of the under-pinning technical platforms, coupled with the dearth of easy-to-use Web interfaces to the relevant analysis tools – users with no command-line experience are left struggling to keep up.
To tackle some of these issues several trainers, organisations, networks, societies and individuals around the world have joined forces to create a unique new Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training, GOBLET (www.mygoblet.org). The goal of GOBLET is to coordinate and consolidate world-wide bioinformatics training activities: to share, not duplicate, effort; to share, not duplicate, cost; to work together in a mutually respectful way towards common solutions and a sustainable future.
Here we outline the wider mission of GOBLET, its partners, its relationship with European training efforts through ELIXIR, and its achievements to date; including a brief review of its online training portal.