Find out the common answers to frequently asked questions regarding the COG-Train programme

1. What is COG-Train?

COG-Train is an educational initiative developed jointly by the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium and Wellcome Connecting Science (WCS). COG-Train will leverage the genomics sequencing and data management expertise within COG-UK and amongst international partners to deliver a training programme that enhances SARS-CoV-2 sequencing and surveillance around the globe. For more information about the COG-Train programme, please click here.

2. What resources will COG-Train create?

COG-Train will create a series of open-access courses covering multiple aspects of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing and analysis, based on Wellcome Connecting Science’s successful use of the FutureLearn platform. Courses will cover topics such as sequence analysis and bioinformatics, data linkage, and integration with public health and policy bodies.

The programme will also include virtual courses that feature one week of live training delivered via online platforms. These courses are going to include train-the-trainer components that will be done in collaboration with our partners in the Wellcome Africa and Asia programmes (AAPs).

The courses will teach trainees the technical aspects of sequencing and bioinformatics, and grant them the knowledge to run their own courses. The distributed classroom model will be used to increase the reach and impact of learning materials, with training delivered simultaneously in many classrooms across multiple countries.

The first of our online courses “The Power of Genomics to Understand the COVID-19 Pandemic” became available on the FutureLearn platform on 7th February, 2022. Our second online course “From Swab to Server: Testing, Sequencing, and Sharing During a Pandemic” and our third online course “Making sense of genomic data: COVID-19 web-based bioinformatics” are currently available on FutureLearn. Our other online course will be released throughout the year, and both our virtual and distributed classrooms are planned for release later in 2022. If you would like to be notified when resources become available, please subscribe to our newsletter.

3. Who are COG-Train’s resources for?

The COG-Train open-access courses are primarily focused on providing knowledge to enhance SARS-CoV-2 sequencing capacity, analysis, and data management and to provide actionable data to inform public health policy.

COG-Train’s first online course aims to be understandable and accessible to a non-specialist audience, though later courses will be aimed at attendees with some prior knowledge of molecular biology, bioinformatics, and or epidemiology. Both our distributed and virtual classrooms will require prior molecular biology and or bioinformatics knowledge, as well as basic laboratory and / or informatics skills.

4. Are COG-Train resources free?

COG-Train resources are available free of charge, at no cost to the attendees or their affiliated institution or university.

5. Are there any pre-requisites required for the training?

The online courses have no pre-requisites and are FREE and OPEN to all learners worldwide
Virtual courses are aimed at individuals already working with genomic data and/or with experience in bioinformatic techniques and will assume some basic knowledge. Priority for places will be given to those who are (or aim to be) setting up genomic surveillance programs.
Distributed classrooms are aimed at individuals who would like to analyse some data, possibly their own on a small scale but who are not confident using the command line or lack local high-performance computing infrastructure.

6. What equipment is required?

Any device with internet capabilities will be sufficient to access the online courses.
Distributed classrooms will require a computer or access to one at one of our regional hosts.
Virtual classrooms will require a computer, and a reliable internet connection.

7.  What is the level of each training component?

Online courses are aimed at the relative newcomers to viral bioinformatics. We will cover the theory behind different steps of analysing SARS-CoV-2 data. Students can then progress through a workflow themselves in their own time

Distributed classrooms, as our intermediate course, will guide students in a more direct way through an existing pipeline. This won’t involve pipeline creation however students will leave with the ability to analyse data at small scale.

Virtual classrooms will cover the skills required to build and run a viral pathogen sequencing bioinformatic pipeline and is our most advanced course.

8. How do I register my interest in the courses?

You can register your interest in any of our COG-Train resources by emailing the COG-Train team (COG-Train@medschl.cam.ac.uk). Please specify in your email which resources you are interested in, your global location, and provide some brief details about your current SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance needs.

9. Can COG-Train offer genomic surveillance support?

At this time, COG-Train is not able to offer one-to-one training or single-country assistance with genomic surveillance. If you require genomics surveillance support, we would like to direct you instead to the New Variant Assessment Programme (NVAP), which was set up by the UK government to assist other countries in their response to COVID-19.  We hope that this programme will be able to support your sequencing needs.