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    Opportunity: Training Coordinator for Research Science @ ELIXIR-UK, MRC FGU, University of Oxford, UK
    Submitted by Dr Vivienne Collins; posted on Friday, March 21, 2014


    Overview of project:
    ELIXIR ( is a pan-European organisation, the purpose of which is to construct and operate a sustainable infrastructure for biological information in Europe in order to support life science research and its translation to medicine and the environment, the bio-industries and society.

    Due to new technologies such as next-generation DNA sequencing, data produced in biological experiments is doubling every few months, and this rate is increasing. In addition, new types of data are constantly emerging that need to be integrated meaningfully. The collection, curation, storage, archiving, integration and deployment of biomolecular data is an immense challenge that cannot be handled by a single organisation or by one country alone, but requires international coordination.

    ELIXIR-UK is the UK-based prospective node of ELIXIR ( whose focus is on training. As such, it is taking the lead in training research and computer scientists across Europe in experimental design, algorithmic thinking, statistics, databases, biological phenomena, software development, data management and biocuration. Its mission is to fill the current skills gap in biological data interpretation, addressing critical training needs in (a) the analysis and the interpretation of genome-scale data of many types, including next generation sequencing (NGS) data; and (b) techniques and practices for data management, integration, compute and software, tools, services and standards. Training will be delivered in partnership with UK centres, industry and other ELIXIR nodes. The ethos of ELIXIR-UK is not simply to offer training in how to use today's tools and resources, but to educate scientists and technologists to understand the infrastructural concepts that will necessarily and inevitably underpin research programmes of tomorrow.

    Overview of the role:
    The Training Coordinator for Research Science will take the lead on training predominantly UK-based research scientists in biological data interpretation, thereby enabling them to take advantage of the ever-increasing volume of data that is emanating from new technologies.

    Working closely with the Training Coordinator for Infrastructure Technology, s/he will provide a consultancy service for UK-based institutions and individuals interested in providing training on ELIXIR activities, and will facilitate the sharing of experience among institutions involved in training.


    • Being a key member of the focal hub for the ELIZIR-UK network across Europe, taking the lead on the training for predominately UK-based research scientists
    • Taking the lead in developing and implementing the ELIZIR-UK long-term strategic plan with regarding to UK based training
    • Continually evaluating strategies for training delivery and training needs and providing feedback to the Training e-support Service Managers
    • Leading on the formulation of ELIXIR-UK's evaluation strategy and being responsible for ensuring training follow-up and gauging training outcomes
    • Identifying training needs (for both academia and industry) and identifying appropriate training approaches in order to address these training needs and deficits
    • Responsible for building and leading an active network and actively engaging with industrial partners
    • Responsible for building and leading an active network and actively engaging with academic partners and trainers.
    • Contributing to the initial content and design of the pilot e-support platform
    • Facilitating, coordinating and occasionally delivering training activities (courses, workshops, boot camps, etc.) in multiple venues across the UK and on multiple subjects.
    • Being the focal point for UK-based `training the trainers' activities
    • Facilitating the development and distribution of self-paced, online tutorials and video lectures coordinated with the other organizations
    • Organising trainer mentoring, ensuring peer-to-peer best practice in training and maintaining an active and peer-supportive community
    • Ensuring that the skills of those who are being trained can be used to train others
    • Scoping future training needs and strategies for ELIXIR-UK and ELIXIR across Europe
    • Identifying future EU funding opportunities under the upcoming EU Horizon 2020 funding programme. This will include supporting and preparing high quality applications
    • Communicating the work of ELIZIR-UK to European partners through a variety of medium including face-to-face, written and web-based and actively engaging with industrial partners.


    • PhD in a biological subject area
    • Knowledge and understanding of large-scale data interpretation in biology
    • Experience of delivering scientific training activities, including online training activities
    • Experience of working on international, multi-partner projects
    • Excellent interpersonal skills with demonstrable ability to build relationships with individuals at senior levels in industry and academia
    • Able and willing to work collaboratively, often in a leadership role, as a member of a small team
    • Proven excellent communication skills---both written and oral
    • Excellent IT skills
    • Self-motivated and able to take an independent approach to problem solving
    • Excellent time management skills with the ability to both set and adhere to deadlines
    • ELIXIR is a pan-European organization so there is a need for a willingness to travel frequently to ELIXIR member countries and within the UK


    • Experience of developing evaluation strategies for large projects
    • Experience of engaging and working with industrial partners


    Full time; fixed term for 36 months


    The MRC Functional Genomics Unit (FGU) at the University of Oxford is a strategic alliance between the MRC and the University of Oxford. The FGU is embedded within the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and, from 1 July 2013 became a fully integrated University Unit.

    The FGU is a world-renowned centre for comparative genomics and research into neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders. Its research combines the power of computational analyses and the latest experimental technologies in model organisms to reveal the roles of genes and genomes in health and disease. The Unit then pursues the translation of these discoveries into improved healthcare products and patient treatments via partnerships with clinicians as well as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology Industries. The Unit contains the CGAT Computational Genomics Analysis and Training Centre ( which trains scientists at post-doctoral level in the analysis of next-generation sequencing data. Post-doctoral trainees in the CGAT group benefit from in-house training, but also the biological insights of collaborators. Working on a variety of projects, trainees accumulate expertise in genome sequencing-related fields, as well as high profile publications.

    The FGU offers excellent computational and laboratory facilities in the recently-opened Henry Wellcome Building of Gene Function. Additional information about the Unit can be found at


    Salary in the range GBP 37,756 - GBP 42,476


    Applications should be made on line. To apply, please visit the University jobs website:[...]12514


    12.00 midday on Friday 25 April 2014

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