When Galaxy meets Carpentries to develop Scalable, Modular, Eco-friendly, COVID-ready Bioinformatics Curricula

About the Project

The Gallantries project is a collaboration between five European universities, members of Software Carpentry, and members of the Galaxy Project. We aim to increase bioinformatics and core data analysis skills in the field of life sciences across Europe. The pilot Gallantries project last year developed Hybrid Training; students in classrooms watched a single instructor broadcast a lesson and on-site helpers assissted them. This significantly improved the scalability and decreased the environmental impact of having the best instructors travel around Europe to teach. The new Gallantries grant will continue to focus on this, testing the viability of completely online teaching, and scaling the events to reach far more students than has previously been possible.

Bioinformatics is a rapidly evolving field, and the tools and concepts taught in degree-length education programmes become outdated quickly. Therefore, we will create a modular curriculum, consisting of interrelated, but independent modules covering the latest developments in the field. These modules will be designed to integrate into existing Master and PhD-programmes, either combined or individually. They will also be suitable for stand-alone use in workshops for researchers who have already obtained their PhD and are in different stages of their careers.

We will be developing 4 novel training modules:

Introduction to data analysis and -management, statistics, and coding Aimed at novices, this module will teach basic skills in data handling and analysis, statistics, and coding, using genomics and bioinformatics as the framework for the lessons.

Large-scale data analysis, and introduction to visualisation and data modelling Research studies often involve analysis of hundreds to thousands of samples. Students will learn to scale analyses from single samples to large cohorts.

Data stewardship, federation, standardisation, integration, and collaboration. Going beyond a single research study, generated data must be made interoperable, so that results can be combined across studies. This module will cover standardisation of data formats, accessibility of data in federated databases, and making data FAIR.

Data analysis for evidence and hypothesis generation and knowledge discovery Gaining novel scientific insights from these research analyses, requires visualisation, modelling, and statistical analysis. Here participants will develop the skills required for knowledge acquisition from large-scale genetic studies.

Additionally a Train-the-Trainer programme is in development to train instructors in giving hybrid and completely online events.

Distance Learning & Hybrid Events

Beyond the curriculum, Gallantries aims to address the scalability and ecological impact of training delivery via hybrid training events and remote learning. Hybrid events pair on-site helpers with remote instructors across, and broadcast trainings across multiple sites simultaneously. When this is not possible due to COVID-19 or other restrictions, we will hold remote learning events which will be broadcast to individuals wherever they are, with helpers available via the internet.

Graphic depicting training streamed to remote locations

With these models, we aim to bring training events to the students while reducing the environmental impact of instructor travels.