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About the Summit

Solving Global Challenges in Bioinformatics Education

Founded in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019 and held annually since, the summit has united an international community of bioinformatics educators. This summit addresses global challenges in bioinformatics education to improve professional development and support the next generation of bioinformaticians and data-literate life science professionals. GBES has consistently produced outcomes that support its educational mission, functioning as a working meeting that brings together experts to implement solutions. The summit is committed to inclusion and development of open-access and open-source resources to ensure the benefits of bioinformatics education are co-created and available to all.  

Rocket Launch

Bioinformatics Education: The Booster Rocket of the Bioeconomy

Bioinformatics—the computational study of biological data—is essential to life science research. In the 1970s, before there was “Data Science”, the term bioinformatics was coined, anticipating then what is clear now—life science is data science. Bioinformatics is how we transform data into insight. The more effectively we use increasingly massive data sets, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to solve problems and drive innovation, the faster we can advance life science, including health, medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. ​


Biology has never been more data-rich. In 2024 a high school student can generate more biological data (e.g., DNA sequence) in a single day than was produced globally from 1970 to 2000. Preparing this next generation and keeping current researchers up to date depends on our willingness to invest in education. Bioinformatics education is the “booster rocket” that accelerates discovery.​


Despite bioinformatics' critical role, many countries—including the U.S. host of GBES 2024—lack a comprehensive national strategy for bioinformatics education.  


As a result, only a fraction of the potential bioinformatics workforce is mobilized to address pressing challenges.  


All activities at the summit engage participants in strategizing to join efforts and build sustainable communities of practice. Work that starts at the summit continues year-round to implement ideas and solutions. These efforts foster a diverse and well-prepared workforce of bioinformaticians and data-literate life scientists.

2024 Summit Features

  • Keynotes—Thought leaders and policymakers will share informative and inspiring themes that impact the future of bioinformatics education.

  • Working Sessions—Short talks followed by interactive small working groups will engage participants around this year’s core themes. These include developing coordinated communities of practice, enriching the undergraduate bioinformatics curriculum, professionalizing short-format training, and expanding bioinformatics capacity in lower- and middle-income countries and other low-resource contexts. Post-summit working groups continue efforts to bring ideas into implementation. 

  • Workshops—Community members will develop workshops featuring skills and tools for bioinformatics educators and educational programs. These will improve teaching and training and provide reusable lesson content on popular themes.

  • Funder, Industry, and Policymakers Forum—Invited representatives from international funding agencies, employers, policymakers, and bioinformatics education experts will discuss the opportunities and challenges in creating a diverse and well-prepared workforce.

2024 Organizing Committee

Past Summits

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