HITS scientists Jonathan Fuller and Xiaofeng Yu have been involved in co-founding the Heidelberg Unseminars in Bioinformatics (HUB) along with colleagues from HITS and other research institutes and companies in Heidelberg (EMBL, DKFZ, Uni Heidelberg, Cellzome and more). HUB eschews some of the typical formats used to spread scientific ideas such as conferences and seminars, instead allowing participants to get involved directly by suggesting topics, presenting ideas and providing the opportunity for discussion and networking. in an article published recently in PLOS Computational Biology, HUB members presented ‘Ten Simple Rules for Organizing an Unconference‘.
But Unconferences (or their shorter form, unseminars) aren’t just for bioinformaticians! Perhaps you might like to try some of the ideas yourself, or come and see what HUB is up to: www.hub-hub.de.
Several HUB members noticing how important professional networks are for them, went on to organize a workshop ‘The “How To Guide” for Establishing a Successful Bioinformatics Network’ at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology conference. During this conference participants from high-profile international organizations shared their insights into how professional networks are essential at the largest scales (e.g. ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for biological information, BMBF Virtual Liver Network, H3ABioNet a Pan African bioinformatics network) and smallest scales (HUB, VanBUG Vancouver Bioinformatics User Group). Many participants contributed to summarizing their ideas in the article ‘A Quick Guide for Building a Successful Bioinformatics Community‘ in PLOS computational biology. These two recently published articles lead on from a previous HUB article, with contributions from HITS by Jonathan Fuller (MCM) and Alexandros Stamatakis group leader of the SCO group, ‘Biggest Challenges in Bioinformatics’, EMBO Reports 2013).
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.