Institute of Genetics and Cancer
Institute of Genetics and Cancer

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UKRI & MRC Innovation Scholarships initiative awarded for Data Driven Life Science Skills Development project

UK Research and Innovation and the Medical Research Council’s £10 million Innovation Scholarships initiatives have gone to secondments and training programmes in health and bioscience, including a Cross-College project led by Alison Meynert: March 2021

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£5 million has gone to eight new training programmes to address the increasing demand for managing and applying complex large-scale data in the health and bioscience sectors.

The data training programme funding will enable researchers at different starting levels and career stages to develop their skills and gain the confidence to manage and analyse their data. This will increase UK capacity in data management and analysis within the health and bio sciences and help to address emerging areas of importance.

Through this programme, funding has been awarded to a cross-College project at the University of Edinburgh - Data Driven Life Science Skills Development: Equipping Society For The Future (Ed-DaSH).

The project will be led by Alison Meynert and will build capacity in data analysis, developing the skills and experience of researchers at various career stages. The project team spans the Colleges of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and Science and Engineering and includes co-investigators Catalina Vallejos (MRC Human Genetics Unit), Alex Twyford (School of Biological Sciences and Edinburgh Genomics) and Edward Wallace (School of Biological Sciences). They are joined by Neil Chue Hong, Director of the Software Sustainability Institute and Giacomo Peru (EPCC).

The funded programmes will upskill over 1,500 trainees across academia, industry and healthcare in diverse research areas through a combination of workshops and e-learning programmes.

Course units include data management, analysis, modelling, coding, and cloud computing with relevance to their research or profession, with a focus on fostering FAIR data principles.

The remaining £5 million of the Innovation Scholars funding has helped employers in the biomedical sector recruit secondees. The 38 successful candidates covered research projects ranging from novel antibiotics to biological therapies for hearing loss. The secondments are part of a pilot scheme designed to help employers in the biomedical sector recruit secondees from any discipline in academia, the NHS or other sectors.

Health and bioscience researchers at all levels need the confidence and ability to analyse their own data. As IGMM Bioinformatics Analysis Core Manager, I’m excited to be leading the Ed-DaSH programme alongside colleagues across the University of Edinburgh to develop and deliver training materials for statistics, data management, and computational workflows. The Carpentries methodology lets us build our workshops in a stable system with a built in twin legacy of open source material and the ability to train new instructors.

Alison MeynertBioinformatics Analysis Core Manager, IGMM

This new funding underlines UKRI’s commitment to investing in people and talent. Not only will it provide training opportunities for researchers looking to gain experience of, and share their ideas with a different sector, it will enable researchers at different starting levels and career stages to develop their skills and gain the confidence to manage and analyse their data. This will increase UK capacity in data management and analysis within the health and bio sciences and help to address emerging areas of importance.

Rory DuncanUK Research and Innovation Director of Talent and Skills Rory Duncan

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