BIOTECH-GO project: Where Professional Education Meets Smart Jobs
Blended Learning in Bioinformatics - The SMEs Instrument for Biotech Innovations-“BIOTECH-GO” is an ambitious multilateral European project that supports continuous training of vocational education and training (VET) facilitators – teachers, trainers, tutors and institutional managers. The BIOTECH-GO launches an innovative system for VET professionals to improve their workplace basic skills by providing training in bioinformatics - the main scientific field. The BIOTECH-GO initiative will help job seekers, employers, regulators and policy makers to participate in the shift of the EU labor market towards smarter and greener jobs for sustainable European economy. The increasing application of IT technologies in biotechnology sector requires competent specialists to apply bioinformatics methods and software tools in processing biological data. Access to the results of bioinformatics, or teaching users to understand bioinformatics, is a general problem, since there are few university-level bioinformatics curricula worldwide.
Each small biotech company relies on bioinformatics for its research, and effective bioinformatics tools are often key part of business strategy. The main targets of the BIOTECH-GO are VET professionals who need knowledge and experience in dealing bioinformatics issues. Their qualification is upgraded through flexible, transferable learning system offered in Learning Pathways and shaped into a new competence-based training system. This has imposed better understanding and application of the bioinformatics in biotech industry. Yet, many SMEs have only a single member of staff responsible for this important aspect of their business. On this basis the training of staff in order to update and upgrade their skills within the continuous or life-long learning approach is a key issue. This is addressed by BIOTECH-GO project, which introduces blended learning in bioinformatics and gives opportunities for SMEs and other industry organizations to derive business benefit from the existing and developing infrastructure. BIOTECH-GO blended learning platform is structured as a knowledge-based matrix matching the innovative qualification description in that field. It is a core element of a learning material concerning bioinformatics designed on the principles of ECVET and EQF technical specifications. This enables the introduction of ECVET based learning material to Europe through this digital platform in order to increase the skills of the trainees. This scheme will improve the professional performance of people working in this sector and will encourage implementation of relevant quality standards in biotech area. The use of innovative ICT-based learning material developed by the BIOTECH-GO consortium will contribute to updating and upgrading the skills and competences of project target groups (VET teachers, trainers, tutors and biotech SMEs personnel). Knowledge, skills and competence update of VET specialists working in the project subject area will further:
- contribute to the advancement of biology research in Biotech SMEs through bioinformatics tools application;
- provide advanced bioinformatics training to SMEs personnel at all levels, from technicians to independent investigators;
- help for dissemination of cutting-edge technologies to industry;
- coordinate biological data provision across Europe.
Applying the “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)” concept, the BIOTECH-GO will facilitate the competence based blended learning and will improve prospects for entrepreneurship.