Posted by: Victoria Wright | April 13, 2011

Seminar: March 28th Finlay MacDougall “Training in the research community: the NCRI Informatics experience”

Finlay MacDougall works at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) and is part of the NCRI Informatics Initiative (INI). Officially, Finlay is the ‘Training Programme Manager’ but Finlay was quick to point out that his job focusses more on the technical side at present.

The core of the NCRI INI’s work is to enable researchers to share data and tools seamlessly for the benefit of scientific advancement and ultimately patients. This entails not only encouraging a willingness to publish and share such data, but also the promotion of its existence and the technical aspects required to make it easy to integrate the data with other resources.

Finlay spoke about some of the key strategies the NCRI INI use to deliver training to the widely dispersed and diverse
research community.

Finlay covered, using examples from current and past experiences, include:

  • the process of assessing the training requirements of such a community
  • developing a strategy for reaching and engaging the target audience
  • implementing a methodology to:
    • identify learning objectives
    • develop resources
    • implement training in various settings (online, face-to-face etc.)
    • evaluate training outcomes

Finlay discussed approaches to gaining useful feedback from learners after completing a course, read the documentation for examples of useful questions to include in course evaluation forms. I particularly liked the idea of encouraging the learners to complete an action plan, based on what has been learned, to allow the learners to apply the new skills when the learner returns to work. Read more about training and learning evaluation, feedback forms, action plans and follow-up.

The NCRI INI are developing a web-based tool, the NCRI Oncology Information Exchange (NCRI ONIX),  that provides a single location through which researchers can access information describing the data, resources and standards being generated in all fields of cancer research.

Finlay expressed how pleased and inspired he was to meet like-minded people at the EBI, indeed, an entire campus focussed on making scientific data and tools publicly available. Finlay expressed his team would be more than happy to promote the EBI and encouraged staff members to contact the NCRI INI for potential collaborations.

To find out more read Finlay’s Finlay MacDougall presentation and presentation notes or contact Stuart Bell at the NCRI INI.



  1. […] EDUCA BERLIN is also recommended by one of our seminar speakers, Finlay MacDougall. The call for papers is now closed but there is the potential to exhibit there […]

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