10 training milestones

10 Training Milestones 

Martin Hammond


January 2003: First off-site workshop

Martin Hammond delivered Ensembl’s first off-site workshop. It was part of the Wellcome Trust’s Open-Door Workshops introducing freely available bioinformatics resources. Ensembl’s popular workshops later became the model for our own off-site training programme.


April 2004: Scientific Training Officer appointed

Lisa Mullan joined EMBL-EBI’s Training team as our first Scientific Training Officer. Lisa had already established a reputation as a bioinformatics training phenomenon in the UK research community, and she threw herself into her pan-European role at EMBL-EBI with equal enthusiasm.

Roadshow in Izmir, Turkey


June 2005: Launch of EMBL-EBI-wide roadshows

Purdue University in Indiana, USA welcomed our pilot training roadshow. Despite horrific thunderstorms which took out the PA system(!), the event was a great success.


November 2006: Start of our e-learning adventures

We created our first online training courses in response to requests from small companies needing on-demand bioinformatics training. This pilot paved the way for our future e-learning endeavours.

In EMBL-EBI’s East Wing


September 2007: Hands-on training programme launches

Our hands-on training programme started out in our purpose-built IT training room in EMBL-EBI’s East Wing. Vicky Schneider, our new Training Programme Project Leader, had coordinated a year’s worth of training in record time since joining us in March 2007 beginning with ‘A two-day dip into the EBI’s data resources’. Our desktop team and Scientific Training Officer James Watson worked tirelessly to set up the IT system in the room. Find out more about the launch in EMBL’s newsletter: EMBL&cetera.


February  2011: User Training Working Group

The User Training Working Group was formed, bringing together trainers representing the diversity of bioinformatics service teams across EMBL-EBI. The group has since become the lifeblood of our training programme. They help coordinate training throughout the organisation and ensure that feedback from courses influences is used to improve our services.

Train online launches


September 2011: Train online launches

Train online, our freely available e-learning resource, was launched. The resource was built by our web development team, and contains courses written by dedicated experts. From the beginning we have ensured that all training materials are open access under the creative commons ShareAlike license.


July 2012: Start of our Train-the-trainer project

Our collaborators from the Bioplatforms Australia successfully delivered their first courses on next-generation sequencing data analysis – the successful outcome of our first train-the-trainer project. Similar initiatives have since taken place in Brazil, Africa and throughout Europe, enabling these countries to build training capacity in bioinformatics.

New training suite


October 2013: New training suite

The expanding training programme outgrew our original training facilities in EMBL-EBI’s East Wing. We moved into the newly built South Building with two specially equipped training rooms. As a result, we switched to virtual machines and systems administrators became essential members of the team.




September 2017: Happy Birthday!

EMBL-EBI’s training programme turns ten years old.
It’s time to celebrate and look forward to what the next ten years will bring!