"Broadband" bioinformatics skills transfer with the Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP): educational model for upliftment and sustainable development
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AbstractA shortage of practical skills and relevant expertise is possibly the primary obstacle to social upliftment and sustainable development in Africa. The "omics" fields, especially genomics, are increasingly dependent on the effective interpretation of large and complex sets of data. Despite abundant natural resources and population sizes comparable with many first-world countries from which talent could be drawn, countries in Africa still lag far behind the rest of the world in terms of specialized skills development. Moreover, there are serious concerns about disparities between countries within the continent. The multidisciplinary nature of the bioinformatics field, coupled with rare and depleting expertise, is a critical problem for the advancement of bioinformatics in Africa. We propose a formalized matchmaking system, which is aimed at reversing this trend, by introducing the Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP). Instead of individual researchers travelling to other labs to learn, researchers with desirable skills are invited to join African research groups for six weeks to six months. Visiting researchers or trainers will pass on their expertise to multiple people simultaneously in their local environments, thus increasing the efficiency of knowledge transference. In return, visiting researchers have the opportunity to develop professional contacts, gain industry work experience, work with novel datasets, and strengthen and support their ongoing research. The KTP develops a network with a centralized hub through which groups and individuals are put into contact with one another and exchanges are facilitated by connecting both parties with potential funding sources. This is part of the PLOS Computational Biology Education collection.
Chimusa, E. R., Mbiyavanga, M., Masilela, V., & Kumuthini, J. (2015). "Broadband" bioinformatics skills transfer with the Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP): educational model for upliftment and sustainable development. PLoS computational biology, 11(11), e1004512-e1004512. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004512