Systems biology approach requires mathematicians, physical scientists, and engineers to develop a thorough understanding of biology. Complementary issues arise when considering the training of biomedical scientists. Life science undergraduates, including medical students, have to receive some training in statistics, occasional exposure to bioinformatics and minimal introduction to mathematical modeling. Simply adding a superficial biological knowledge to the background of numerical scientist and superficial numerical knowledge to biological or medical scientist will not be sufficient to provide them with the skills required to engage fully in systems biology research. They need both strong expertise and the environment necessary to think about fundamental biological problems from theoretical and experimental approach. From this analysis, the BioHealth Computing partners have chosen to trained Systems biologist at the postgraduate level (Msc and PhD), considering that future researchers should initially be trained in a ‘parent’ discipline. To graduate, Doctorale candidates need to fulfill the completion of at least 60 ECTS including: 3 ECTS for attendance to an Integration Period during the ‘BioHC Summer School”, 9 ECTS for attendance to the ‘BioHC Spring School’ and 48 ECTS for Doctoral Courses.
- Summer School-Integration Period (3 credits)
Each PhD student will follow the first year of the programme an integration period organized by the consortium in late August/early september. All the PhD candidates enrolled in the BioHealth doctoral programme come together for a one week meeting. During this meeting, a series of activities are organized: (i) introductive lecture and definition of the objectives of the PhD programme; (ii) Dedicated training courses: Courses will be given by local and invited experts on important current subjects related to the BioHealth computing topics. The meeting will also allow the BioHC Scientific Committee to get a view on the status of each ongoing PhD. Candidates will be accredited 3 ECTS as part of the scientific courses.
- Annual Spring School (3 credits x 3 years= 9 credits)
Partner University, will organize an annual ‘BioHC Spring School’ in late March. The Doctoral candidate will attend each year this ‘Spring School’ with their supervisors (3 times). During this meeting, a series of issues are proposed: (i) networking opportunities; (ii) dedicated training courses: Courses will be given by local and invited experts on important current subjects related to the BioHealth computing topics; and (iii) presentations of ongoing PhD work. This meeting will allow both population of Doctoral candidates and Supervisors to mix and exchange scientific point of view and personal experiences. The meeting will also allow the BioHC Scientific Committee to get a view on the status of each ongoing PhD. Candidates will be accredited 3 ECTS/Spring School as part of the scientific courses.
- Doctoral courses (48 credits)
Courses and seminars are provided by universities or by industrial partners. Each module corresponds to 1 to 2 training weeks (or equivalent time) that allows monitoring the Doctoral candidate training progress. The courses, which Doctoral candidate is supposed to attend, will be selected on an individual basis, taking into account the background of the candidate and the requirements for developing the specific research work. Equivalent courses can be accepted by the Supervisory Committee on a case-by-case basis (e.g. when taken elsewhere).Yearly a training course catalogue is provided to all PhD candidates of the EMJD BioHC. This catalogue will offer three types of courses: ‘Introductory’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Cross-cutting’ Courses.
- ‘Introductory Courses’ offered, in 2012-13, are: Biomedical analysis; Animal experimentation for toxicology and ecotoxicology; Intermediary metabolism and its regulation; Essentials in molecular and applied pharmacology; Infectious diseases; Medical Image Processing; Medical engineering; Mathematical modeling.
- ‘Advanced Courses’ offered, in 2012-13, are: Advance courses in proteomics; Complexity in Post-Genomic Biology; Advance courses in imaging techniques; Methods in cancer research; Evolution and inference of gene regulation; Computational approaches for transcription and alternative splicing analysis; Next Generation Sequencing and Algorithms; Process evaluation; Advanced statistical analysis techniques (6 ECTS) Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and its Application in Diagnostics and Clinical Research; Formulation of protein biopharmaceutical and drug delivery; Tissue engineering; Advanced Biotechnology; Analytical tools characterizing protein-ligand interactions; Structural bioinformatics and molecular modeling; Use of fluorescence spectroscopy in the study of drugs, proteins and membrane; Bio-electronic Engineering; Numerical optimization; Logical modelling of biological regulatory networks; Computational Systems Biology.
- ‘Cross-cutting courses’ offered, in 2012-13, are: Scientific exposition and Writing a research proposal (how to write an abstract, a paper, a grant application); Design and Management of Bioinformatics Projects (E- learning); Basic ethics of health care research; Ethics in Science (introduction in methods and tools to identify, understand and address ethically significant problems that arise during scientific work); Legal and social aspects of knowledge and technology transfer (overview about the legal and social aspects that have to be considered to improve this transfer); The BioHC Graduate School will offer additional: (i) ‘Soft skill’ courses that Doctoral candidates can attend voluntarily: e.g. on Research project management; Risk management & contingency planning; Time management; Team working; Entrepreneurship; Adaptative behavior (creativity, sociability); and (ii) Intercultural skills: Courses and seminars related to international and intercultural competences: development of training on intercultural communication, international project management, or dealing with international customers.