Author: Patricia Carvajal-López

The landscape in the bioinformatics field is constantly evolving, new research tools emerge, experiments become increasingly data intensive, and the typical users of bioinformatics core facilities, who frequently are experimental researchers in life sciences, become more exposed to the power of data-driven biology. Consequently, bioinformatics core facilities play an essential role in enabling research in the molecular life sciences, which also entails a growing need for highly specialised services from these facilities and their teams.

In an effort to support bioinformatics core facility scientists and their leads, EMBL-EBI organises the Managing a bioinformatics core facility course. The 2023 iteration of the course was organised in collaboration with RItrainPlus and took place from the 7th to the 9th of November at EMBL-EBI training facilities in Hinxton, UK. The course provided 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.

Throughout three consecutive days the trainers and organisers worked with the group on activities and discussions to delve into identifying the strengths and limitations of their core facilities, designing their core services, resource them, measure their impact, best practices for managing their projects, and how to strengthen their teams for a higher employee engagement.  Some reflections and takeaways from our 2023 cohort of bioinformatics core facility managers are detailed below.

“I liked the interaction and discussions: they help gain different perspectives and get acquainted with issues people face and the solutions they propose“.

“The networking was great. Getting to spend 3 days with people in the same professional space with same challenges was a perk to the already great and comprehensive course we got”.

“Congratulations to all of you for putting this nice course together. I am very pleased with the quality of the trainers and all the expertise you shared with us. The space for forums was fantastic”

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to attend this workshop in person, although I would have learnt a lot if I attended online, the benefits of spending 3 days together getting to know each other has been as valuable as the topics we have covered in the workshop”

The face-to-face format of this training event plays an important role in the activities and networking opportunities that our participants have. RItrainPlus provided travel bursaries to support two bioinformatics core facility managers to attend the event. 

Thank you to all our organisers and trainers for their time and dedication, thank you to all of the course participants for their enthusiasm and eagerness to strengthen their teams and services, and also thanks to RITrainPlus for supporting our participants for attending this course and for promoting and disseminating the event through its networks.

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The ‘Managing a bioinformatics core facility’ course: a platform for continuous development of research infrastructures team leads