Virtual course

Managing a bioinformatics core facility

This knowledge exchange workshop is an opportunity for managers of bioinformatics core facilities to learn from EMBL-EBI’s service teams, and from each other. These facilities play an essential role in enabling research in the molecular life sciences. The landscape is constantly evolving as new research tools emerge, as experiments become increasingly data intensive, and as their clients – experimental researchers – become more exposed to the power of data-driven biology.

This course will allow participants to share experiences, discuss challenges and solutions that they face, and plan ways to cope with the ever changing demands raised by the molecular life science field. It will include sessions to learn from data providers at EMBL-EBI, hear how others have tackled common problems, and work together to design core services.

Who is this course for?

This workshop is aimed at new and experienced managers of bioinformatics core facilities, or other facilities that support their users to analyse and interpret large biomolecular data sets.  This course will not provide a platform for teaching hands-on bioinformatics analysis.

What will I learn?

Learning outcomes

After this course you should be able to:

  • Identify the strengths and limitations of your core facility
  • Apply a framework for designing new services (including training your users) or redesigning existing services
  • Appreciate different cost models, their pros and cons, and how to apply them in the context of your core facility
  • Advise your users on how to manage sensitive data and where to submit them
Course content

During this course you will learn about: 

  • The role of core bioinformatics facilities
  • How to design and resource your service
  • Introduction to project management


Cath Brooksbank
Sarah Butcher
Patricia Carvajal-López
Matthew Hartley
Nikiforos Karamanis
Vera Matser
Sarah Morgan
Brent Richter
Partners HealthCare of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals


Further to the below, we will be holding a follow-up day for all participants of the course on Thursday 16 February 2023. All timings are in GMT.

Time Subject Trainer

Day one - Wednesday 23 November 2022

08:45 - 09:00 Virtual arrivals  
09:00 - 09:30 Course introduction and introduction to EMBL-EBI Cath Brooksbank
09:30 - 10:20 Brief introductions, participant challenges, and expectations Cath Brooksbank and Matthew Hartley
10:20 - 10:40 Break  
10:40 - 11:15 Flash talks All participants
11:15 - 11:25 Break  
11:25 - 12:25 Keynote lecture: The evolving role of bioinformatics core facilities Sarah Butcher
12:25 - 13:25 Lunch break  
13:25 - 14:30 Spectrum exercise Patricia Carvajal-López and Vera Matser
14:30 - 14:40 Break  
14:40 - 15:40 Core facilities community building with ISMB core group TBA

Day two - Thursday 24 November 2022

08:45 - 09:00 Introduction to day two  
09:00 - 09:45 The F words: Funding and finances Sarah Butcher
09:45 - 10:00 Break  
10:00 - 11:45 Resourcing your service: People and compute Sarah Butcher
11:45 - 12:00 Break  
12:00 - 13:20 Resourcing your service: Cost model exercise Sarah Butcher
13:20 - 14:20 Lunch break  
14:20 - 15:30 Resourcing your service: Short talk and grant-costing exercise Sarah Butcher
15:30 - 16:30 Keynote lecture TBA

Day three - Friday 25 November 2022

08:45 - 09:00 Introduction to day three  
09:00 - 10:00

(re)Designing your service - part one - the design process

Nikiforos Karamanis and Vera Matser
10:00 - 10:10 Break  
10:10 - 11:40 (re)Designing your service - part two - understanding users Nikiforos Karamanis and Vera Matser
11:40 - 11:50 Break  
11:50 - 12:50 Project management - approaches and tools TBA
12:50 - 13:50 Lunch break  
13:50 - 14:00 Group photo  
14:00 - 15:00 Collaboration and networking session Cath Brooksbank and Sarah Morgan
15:00 - 15:30 Revisit challenges and expectations Cath Brooksbank
15:30 - 16:00 Workshop wrap up, feedback, and additional resources Cath Brooksbank


Programme may be subject to changes before registration.

Please read our page on application advice before starting your application. In order to be considered for a place on this course, you must do the following:

  • Complete the online application form.
  • Ensure you add relevant information to the application form where you are asked to provide details on:
    • scientific biography
    • work history
    • current research interests
  • Upload a letter of support from your supervisor or a senior colleague detailing reasons why you should be selected for the course.

Please submit all documents during the application process by midnight on 28 SeptemberItems marked * are in the application are mandatory. Incomplete registrations will not be processed. 

All applicants will be informed of the status of their application (successful, waiting list, rejected) by 14 October. If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact Sophie Spencer.


Participant Flash Talks

All participants will be asked to give a short presentation about the services they provide as core facility managers and/or their research work as part of the course. These talks provide an opportunity to share their research with the other participants and provide a forum for discussion. Further details will be provided following registration.


Applications close
28 September 2022

23 - 25 November 2022
Sophie Spencer
Open application with selection
15 places

  • Cath Brooksbank
  • Sarah Butcher
  • Patricia Carvajal-López

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