National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Box 4 Training
Meeting the scientific, medical and social/ethical challenges now facing genomics will require scientists, clinicians and scholars with the skills to understand biological systems and to use that information effectively for the benefit of humankind. Adequate training capacity will be required to address the following needs:
Computational skills. As biomedical research is becoming increasingly data intensive, computational capability is increasingly becoming a critical skill.
Interdisciplinary skills. Although a good start has been made, expanded interactions will be required between the sciences (biology, computer science, physics, mathematics, statistics, chemistry and engineering), between the basic and the clinical sciences, and between the life sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Such interactions will be needed at the individual level (scientists, clinicians and scholars will need to be able to bring relevant issues, concerns and capabilities from different disciplines to bear on their specific research efforts), at a collaborative level (researchers will need to be able to participate effectively in interdisciplinary research collaborations that bring biology together with many other disciplines) and at the disciplinary level (new disciplines will need to emerge at the interfaces between the traditional disciplines).
Different perspectives. Individuals from minority or disadvantaged populations are significantly under-represented as both researchers and participants in genomics research. This regrettable circumstance deprives the field of the best and brightest from all backgrounds, narrows the field of questions asked, can lessen sensitivity to cultural concerns in implementing research protocols, and compromises the overall effectiveness of the research. Genomics can learn from successful efforts in training individuals from under-represented populations in other areas of science and health (see, for example, the Guidelines for Responding to the NHGRI Action Plan).