QFAB trained more than 250 researchers in 2017

QFAB Bioinformatics trained more than 250 Australian researchers last year across almost 30 workshops.

More than half of the total workshop participants came from QCIF member universities, namely UQ, Griffith, QUT, JCU, CQU, USQ and USC.

Workshop topics ranged from programming in Python, to data integration, exploration and visualisation, and statistical analysis with R and SPSS, to data management using REDCap.

REDCap, a data management tool for clinical research data, was introduced as a new workshop topic last year, as were statistical workshops on survey design, and longitudinal and mixed-model analysis in R. 

The workshops targeted users wishing to increase their data analysis skills, from using graphical interfaces with Galaxy, to scripting and using command line interfaces.

In Queensland, QFAB delivered three biostatistics “boot camp” sessions over four days each. QFAB Head of Informatics Dr Xin-Yi Chua said these workshops were intensive, but each day involved a separate topic, building upon the previous day’s work. Attendees could choose any number of workshops to attend.

“Having the boot camps over consecutive days provides an opportunity for attendees outside the Brisbane metropolitan area — such as Townsville and interstate — to attend these focused workshops to build up their skills in one session,” said Dr Chua.

Four Galaxy workshops were held last year in conjunction with UQ’s Research Computing Centre as part of the Genomics Virtual Lab’s training program.

QFAB also delivered two workshops in Sydney, organised by BioPlatforms Australia, and helped deliver the nationwide, video-connected EMBL-ABR ‘Genome Annotation using Apollo’ workshops. 

QFAB is an active participant of the EMBL-ABR network which contributes nationally to the development and delivery of training in data, tools and platforms to enable Australia’s life science researchers to undertake research in the age of big data.

Attendee feedback from QFAB-led workshops was overwhelmingly positive with most echoing this anonymous researcher’s view: “Very helpful workshops that were presented very well in easy-to-understand language.”

One participant even said: “Best computer-based training I've attended.”

Workshops are continually improved based on participant feedback, and attendees are welcome to contact QFAB for follow-up advice.

QFAB will run a similar number and range of workshops this year, most likely starting in April. Those interested in attending can visit the QFAB website and fill out the expressions of interest form.