SciLifeLab Training Platform gives first results from 2021 training survey

The global life science community is becoming more data-driven. SciLifeLab is establishing a national SciLifeLab Training Platform to coordinate, promote and deliver state-of-the-art education and training in advanced life science and data science topics. To assess needs and requirements for future training, The SciLifeLab Training Platform Training Survey was distributed during the early fall to the wider life science community across Sweden. Jessica Lindvall, associate professor in bioinformatics and training coordinator at NBIS is assigned to present a vision of future SciLifeLab training and building of a SciLifeLab training, here gives a glimpse of the first results.

The world-wide life science community is currently shifting towards a more data-driven research approach as life science is becoming increasingly data-dependent. Therefore, training and education will require shifting from delivery of traditional bio-, and medical informatics training towards data-driven life science training.  

SciLifeLab is establishing the national SciLifeLab Training Platform to coordinate, promote and deliver state-of-the-art education and training in advanced life science and data science topics. The training will be aligned with SciLifeLab affiliated research and activities. The assignment to present a vision of future SciLifeLab training and building of a SciLifeLab training community, was given to Jessica Lindvall in the Spring 2021. Jessica Lindvall has assembled representatives from NBIS, Operations Office and SciLifeLab Data Centre to assist her work.

It will be important for us to deliver cross- and multi-disciplinary training efforts, these will require synergies and collaborations both across Sweden, and with international partners. The SciLifeLab Training team have already started these efforts for future collaborations with discussions across SciLifeLab Infrastructure and Research, Universities across Sweden, national and international research schools and international renowned training actors such as ELIXIR and EOSC”, says Jessica Lindvall, associate professor in bioinformatics at NBIS and the coordinator for this new effort.

Jessica Lindvall and her team has carried out a number of activities in order to assess the training needs of the life science, in particular SciLifeLab, community and identify gaps in current training. For example, the team has made target group assessments, focus group interviews, presentations within and outside SciLifeLab and a training survey, as well as meetings with member of the research community, infrastructure, and with potential national (eg., WASP) and international collaborators. In September and October 2021, a Training survey was widely distributed across the Swedish life science community. The aim of the survey, focused data science, data life cycle and data-driven topics, was to assess needs and identify potential gaps in the current training promoted and delivered by the SciLifeLab community.

Briefly, two thirds (68,1%) of the 279 respondents were affiliated to SciLifeLab. While most respondents were employed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University, and Stockholm University, almost all Swedish universities were represented. The responses were primarily working in research; researchers (21.5%), PhD-students (17.2%), SciLifeLab group leaders (16.1%), post-docs (14%), staff scientists (16.1%), and research engineer (14.3%).

Top 3 requested topics

(N=279, Note that more than one answer was allowed.)

Data Science topicsPercentage (%)
Data visualizations60.9%
Machine Learning56.3%
Data Life Science topicsPercentage (%)
Single cell biology38,0%
Complimentary Science topicsPercentage (%)
Data Management, data sharing and FAIR52,3%
Scientific project management50,9%
Scientific presentation and communication36,9%

With regards to complimentary sciences, over all the respondents self-assessed their skills as high, but more than half of the respondents wished for further training opportunities in data management, data sharing and FAIR principles, as well as scientific project management. Additionally, the free-text survey responses provided a large number of suggestions for future course topic but also best practices for course curriculums and suggestions on how to build and promote the future SciLifeLab Training Platform.

The survey results cannot be interpreted as the views of the SciLifeLab community as a whole, due to lower number of replies, and potential biases towards the topic. But it gives us a snap-shot of the views of almost 200 members of the SciLifeLab community and will be one part of the basis for the report to be delivered to SciLifeLab Management in January of 2022…” says Jessica Lindvall and continues “we are also happy that a large number of the respondents expressed interest to be involved in the new SciLifeLab Training Community, and hope more will join us in this exciting work to build the SciLifeLab Training Platform”.


Last updated: 2021-12-02

Content Responsible: David Gotthold(