EMBL-EBI and LifeTrain: driving lifelong learning in the biomedical sciences
Tailored to continuing professional development
We are working with LifeTrain – the European Common Framework for continuing professional development in the biomedical sciences – to support the continuing professional development of biomedical professionals. As a signatory of LifeTrain, we are committed to upholding its agreed principles for course providers.
As part of this commitment we have adopted the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s Education and Training quality standards as follows:
University accreditation OR a system for approving, monitoring and reviewing the training offered
All EMBL courses are regularly reviewed in light of feedback from the trainees, trainers and other stakeholders. The performance of the EMBL-EBI Training Team is also reviewed every four years as part of EMBL’s independent review process. EMBL-EBI is not a higher education institute and therefore does not offer university accreditation for its courses; however, we work with universities, including the University of Cambridge, to provide training, some of which is accredited by the participating university.
Quality assurance of teaching staff
We select trainers – from within and beyond EMBL-EBI – who are experts in the subjects on which they train. We provide a training and mentoring programme for new trainers and offer regular ‘train the trainer’ courses for our collaborators.
Regular review of the QA/QC process and demonstration that the training is further developed in light of this review
We review feedback from our trainees after each course and take steps to improve future iterations of each course in light of this feedback. We also gather and review annual impact metrics. We have an External Training Advisory Group and the team’s performance is reviewed every four years by independent reviewers as part of the EMBL review process.
Defined and transparent admission criteria
Many of our courses have a selection process to ensure that we deliver our training to those who will benefit the most from it. Places at our workshops and scientific engagement events are more typically offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
A predefined set of teaching objectives, leading to defined learning outcomes
We publish learning objectives for each of our courses; we also seek input on our trainees’ objectives for attending a course, and review whether these objectives have been met at the end of the course.
The facilities, infrastructure, leadership and competences available for the support of student learning
Training is a core part of EMBL-EBI’s mission, and is supported by a dedicated training team with expertise in the molecular life sciences, teaching, events organisation and systems administration. Our on-site courses are delivered in a purpose-built IT training facility in the EMBL-EBI’s south building. When we deliver training off-site, we check to ensure that our hosts have appropriate training infrastructure. Train online is developed jointly with EMBL-EBI’s Web Development Team, providing a robust and user-friendly interface that is available 24/7.
Assessment of the students’ achievement in accordance with the agreed learning outcomes of the training offered
We seek input on our trainees’ objectives for attending a course, and review whether these objectives have been met at the end of the course. In Train online we provide use cases and exercises that encourage trainees to reflect on and practice what they have learned, to assimilate new knowledge into their working lives.
A system for collecting, assessing and addressing feedback from learners, teachers, technical/administrative staff and programme/course/module managers
We ask every course delegate to complete a feedback form on completion of our courses, and we are developing a review process to assess the longer-term impact of our training. After each course, we collate and analyse feedback, using constructive criticism to improve future iterations of the course.
Availability of appropriate and regularly reviewed reference material (e.g. published articles, links, book chapters, scripts, etc.)
We provide training materials to our trainees and make these openly available on each course website afterwards. Train online also provides an invaluable source of reference material.