Bioinformatics provides the key to the interpretation and exploration of massive amounts of data stemming from various genome projects. It requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort to cope with the needs of the present and future genome based research. Training young researchers in this field makes it necessary to present a broad spectrum of topics. This spectrum covers sequence and structure data analysis and includes such diverse areas as expression analysis, proteomics, comparative and functional genomics, metaboic and functional networks, algorithmics and complexity, knowledge presentation and data mining. A European effort to develop training programmes in the fled of genetics requires a strong support for bioinformatics and the availability of training structures where both students and Faculty members will exchange ideas and strategies to be integrated into an interdiscipinary background. While at present bioinformaticians represent an indispensable human resource for biomedical research, whose training has to be strongly promoted in Europe, at the same time biologists, biochemists and physicians must learn to apply bioinformatics as a problem solving tool.
In order to help filling this gap, the EGF proposes a training course specifically aimed at bioinformatics. The traditional format of the scientific and training activities developed over the years in Sestri Levante consists of plenary lectures which are given during the morning and concurrent workshops during the afternoon. These are interactive group discussions between 10-15 students and one-two Faculty members on a speciaised topic of research. There are two rounds of 6-7 concurrent workshops every afternoon and faculty are asked to give, in addition to one lecture in a plenary session, one or more afternoon workshops repeated at least three times during the course. This way ot working creates a lot of interaction between speakers and young researchers, which represents the most important feature of Sestri Levante.