GOBLET (the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training) has run surveys to determine the need for bioinformatics training worldwide. They recently published the results of this study.
In the last decade, life-science research has become increasingly data-intensive and computational. Nevertheless, basic bioinformatics and data stewardship are still only rarely taught in life-science degree programmes, creating a widening skills gap that spans educational levels and career roles. To better understand this situation, GOBLET ran surveys to determine how the skills dearth is affecting the need for bioinformatics training worldwide.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that respondents wanted more short courses to help boost their expertise and confidence in data analysis and interpretation. However, it was evident that most respondents appreciated their need for training only after designing their experiments and collecting their data. This is clearly rather late in the research workflow, and suboptimal from a training perspective, as skills acquired to address a specific need at a particular time are seldom retained, engendering a cycle of low confidence in trainees.
To ensure that such skill gaps do not continue to create barriers to the progress of research, GOBLET argues that universities should strive to bring their life-science curricula into the digital-data era. Meanwhile, the demand for point-of-need training in bioinformatics and data stewardship will grow. While this situation persists, international groups like GOBLET are increasing their efforts to enlarge the community of trainers and quench the global thirst for bioinformatics training.
Dr Celia van Gelder (DTL) is a member of the GOBLET Executive Board. She explains: “GOBLET was established in 2012 by an international group of societies and networks to offer an umbrella for bioinformatics, biocuration, biocomputing and computational biology learning, education, and training. Its mission is to provide a global, sustainable support and networking infrastructure for bioinformatics trainers and trainees (including a training portal for sharing materials, tools, best practice documents, etc.).” (Read more about GOBLET.)