COG-UK welcomes its new ‘COG-Train’ global COVID-19 genomics training programme team, as the project begins its education development phase. COG-Train will facilitate the development of dedicated learning resources for the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing knowledge across the globe.
The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium represents a wealth of expertise in SARS-CoV-2 sequencing and analysis, with UK scientists leading the way in genomic surveillance as part of the global pandemic response. COG-UK consortium members have already supported several countries’ public health efforts through international collaborations and resource sharing; however, new, jointly awarded funding between COG-UK and Wellcome Connecting Science (WCS) now promises to facilitate the development of dedicated learning resources for the global dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing knowledge as part of a new educational initiative, known as COG-Train.
“The emergence of variants of concern remains a global threat, and the need for an increased SARS-CoV-2 sequencing capacity remains urgent worldwide. The global dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing knowledge, though projects such as COG-Train, will play an essential part in detecting the presence of known and newly emerging variants of concern. By leveraging the genomic expertise of COG-UK and the pedagogical skills of Wellcome Connecting Science, COG-Train will help to support scientific growth and independence in low- and middle- income nations”
Professor Sharon Peacock (Executive Director and Chair of COG-UK)
COG-Train was established following its initial funding award in June 2021, and last month, COG-UK welcomed its first full-time COG-Train staff as the project began its education development phase. The new COG-Train team brings together a wealth of expertise from a variety of project management, communication, and scientific backgrounds, with WCS expected to soon contribute further expertise in the form of two Education Developers and a dedicated Project Administrator. To learn more about the COG-Train team as it expands, please click here.
“It’s important to us that we keep world-leading science at the forefront of our work. My role as Science Lead is to ensure that the highest quality data and research inform the development of our COG-Train resources. It’s essential that all aspects of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing and analysis are covered in an end-to-end approach which spans all areas of COVID-19 genomics.”
Dr Leigh Jackson (COG-Train Science Lead)
Through COG-Train, COG-UK and WCS will develop a comprehensive series of online, open-access courses covering multiple aspects of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing including analysis, data linkage, and integration with public health and policy bodies. Peter Thomas-McEwen heads up the programme delivery and educational course development, organising deliverables and coordinating internal team resources. “It’s an exciting time to have joined COG-Train as the project kicks off.” Says Peter. “Over the coming months, we will be initiating the global rollout of online SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing and public health training courses. We will achieve this by partnering with world leading scientific experts in the UK and abroad, ensuring that our approaches synergise with the efforts of others around the world in our shared battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The COG-Train funding award will also enable the development of train-the-trainer and remote classroom resources in partnership with Wellcome Africa and Asia Programmes (AAPs), supporting further knowledge sharing by developing the pedagogical skills of individual attendees. “Working directly with AAPs will enable COG-Train to better understand the needs of its users and the knowledge gaps we need to fill in order to address these needs adequately in a short time, and via a remote classroom training model” says Anna Markov, COG-Train Project Manager.
The WCS Course and Conferences team holds a wealth of experience in the development and delivery of remote and online training. Their extensive track record of course delivery has reached over 60,000 online learners within the genomics field in the last year alone. Dr Treasa Creavin acts as a Scientific Programme Manager for WCS, and Education Development lead for COG-Train. “Wellcome Connecting Science is delighted to be partnering with COG-UK to support SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance training in low- and middle- income nations” says Treasa. “Our Education Developers have a lot of expertise in delivering genomics training online. We have been running a capacity-building training programme over many years, which has included train-the-trainer modules. More recently we have piloted a scaled-up model, using remote or distributed classrooms across Africa to deliver genomics and bioinformatics training to researchers.
If you would like to receive more news and updates about COG-Train, please contact COG-Train@medschl.cam.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.
About COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK)
The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, represents a major threat to health. The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium has been created to deliver large-scale and rapid whole-genome virus sequencing to local NHS centres and the UK government.
Led by Professor Sharon Peacock of the University of Cambridge, COG-UK is made up of an innovative partnership of NHS organisations, the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and academic partners providing sequencing and analysis capacity. A full list of collaborators can be found here. Professor Peacock is also on a part-time secondment to PHE as Director of Science, where she focuses on the development of pathogen sequencing through COG-UK.
COG-UK was established in April 2020 supported by £20 million funding from the COVID-19 rapid-research-response “fighting fund” from Her Majesty’s Treasury (established by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance), and administered by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. The consortium was also backed by the Department of Health and Social Care’s Testing Innovation Fund on 16 November 2020 to facilitate the genome sequencing capacity needed to meet the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the UK over the winter period.
About Wellcome Connecting Science
Wellcome Connecting Science’s mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society.
We connect researchers, health professionals and the wider public, creating opportunities and spaces to explore genomic science and its impact on people. Connecting Science inspires new thinking, sparks conversation, supports learning and measures attitudes, drawing on the ground-breaking research taking place on the Wellcome Genome Campus.
Our Courses and Conferences team funds, develops and delivers training and conferences that span basic research, cutting-edge biomedicine, and the application of genomics in healthcare. We work with globally-renowned scientists and healthcare professionals, and run events online, on the Campus, and in regional training hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America, that aim to educate, inspire, and transform careers.
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases.