Addressing Biological Informatics Workforce Needs

by Shelley James

It is widely recognized that all science is now data science, with advances in instrumentation, sensors, and digitization producing massive quantities of information that needs to be accessible in order to enable integration with existing environmental, ecological, systematic, -omic, or other knowledge. Preparing the next generation of the scientific workforce to excel in the era of "big and open data" is a challenge for universities, professional societies and funding agencies.

Addressing Biological Informatics Workforce Needs, sponsored by AIBS and co-sponsored by iDigBio, the Biodiversity Collections Network and other professional societies, organizations and funding agencies, was a one day workshop (December 8, 2015) attended by more than 25 Council representatives of AIBS member societies.  Speakers presented on knowledge and data skills gaps across scientific domains, successful training initiatives such as those offered by DataOne, iPlant Collaborative, and Data Carpentry, professional societies such as the Ecological Society of America, and research facilities such as NCEAS. Potential funding sources for undergraduate student training and scientific professionals  was presented by representative from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.  Participants strategized methods for enhancing community bioinformatics skills needs, career incentives, workforce training at both the undergraduate and professional levels, input on how professional societies might advocate and drive training efforts for efficient and effective data science across domains.  An outcomes report is to be produced in the coming months.

Notes from the meeting, including further links to resources, can be found at: