Archive June 2012

2013 Public Communicators of Science and Technology Symposium Grant Jacobs Jun 14


Unconfirmed news (please note carefully that I have unable to confirm this independently):

Although there is no announcement on any of the relevant websites yet,* an article reports that the 2013 Public Communicators of Science and Technology Symposium is to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, in late February. The 2012 event was held in Florence, Italy, with previous conferences held throughout the world. (There is no 2013 event website set up.*)

The report indicates this is a join effort by Tourism New Zealand and the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand.

I’ll be waiting for this to be confirmed but if it does, and I’d like to this will, this is good to hear and (will justify a trip to my hometown!).


* I’m even wondering if someone has broken an embargo – ? There is nothing on the respective organisation websites, nor a pcst2013 website. To me this is another example where mainstream media offering links would help: they report ‘has been announced’ – OK, give me a link for conformation and details.

Science communication – they’re doing it in Maribor, Slovenia, too Grant Jacobs Jun 13

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(Or Action, then explanation?)

Maribor is named as European ‘City of Culture’ for 2012. Slovenia’s second largest city Maribor, home to roughly 100,000 people, is set on the Drava river and features the mix of older (including baroque) and modern buildings typical of this part of Europe. It’s also got an active cafe and bar scene, like most university towns.

As part of this celebration of Moribor, local towns have been hosting a series of events. Looking their brochure of events, Tuesday featured two science communication events from local the university.* Dr. Edvard Kobal was offering ‘something chemical’** at ‘The House of Science, Experimental Centre’, off
Glavni trg (Glavni Square). Later in the day was presentation of local research.


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Bioinformatics survey results Grant Jacobs Jun 07


Eagle Genomics have presented the results of an annual bioinformatics survey.

These types of surveys are invariably limited by understanding precisely who they represent, e.g. do they represent the whole of the target group well, or favour some sector of it. The results of the first question offer some hints of this. (Ideally we’d see a comparison with what balance is considered to represent the fullness of the bioinformatics workspace to put their survey in wider context.)

Their survey is dominated by those from the university sector. (I find the fairly large ‘non-profit’ sector interesting, though.)

Questions 6 and 7 assess respondents views on bioinformatics tools. I think it’s worth considering the results of these questions viewed by who is to use (and/or maintain) the tools –  staff who specialise in hands-on bioinformatics or ‘motivated’ users. (The survey will very likely favour the former.)

They express surprise at the number using ’antiquated’ array expression technology in question 3 – my instincts are that the response might, at least in part, reflect the availability of public data rather than new use of the technology itself.

I would like to have seen the results of question 8 (views on outsourcing) broken down by the sectors from question 1 (respondents’ workplaces), if this were meaningful.

Confirmation bias noted, it’s nice to see their interpretation of the results of question 2 that ’It is anticipated, based on these results, that future attention will be paid most closely to proteomics (25/108), systems biology and epigenetics (19/108 each), […]’ as this overlaps well with my own expertise and intended direction.

I wonder if their final words to their summary of question 2 will have tongues wagging: ’This suggests that despite the increase in availability and use of genomics sequencing facilities, genomics may stealing be decreasing as the most important field of research in future bioinformatics labs.’

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