The Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC) programme has a long history of creating and organising innovative learning events for a global audience. As the impact of genomic research grows, there is also an increasing need for training and education that enables the translation of this knowledge into healthcare across the world. The team addresses this need by funding, developing and delivering training and conferences that span from practical laboratory skills, to the application of genomics to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Dr Rebecca Twells draws on her own scientific background to lead a team of conference and course developers, event organisers, and administrators, to produce opportunities that educate, inspire and transform careers. The core of their programme are Scientific Conferences and Advanced Courses, held on the Wellcome Genome Campus, and Overseas Courses which are tailored to biomedical communities in low and middle-income countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. ACSC organises around 50 events each year, bringing thousands of visitors to the Wellcome Genome Campus.
The team seek to identify new and emerging areas of research, often bringing together scientists in different fields. Current hot topics are also catered for, with recent conferences centred on the microbiome, big data and stratified medicine. Scientific Conferences are attended by delegates with both scientific and healthcare backgrounds from across the globe.
As their name suggests, Advanced Courses focus on increasing knowledge and practical experience of cutting-edge biomedical topics. Whether informatics and computer-based, or in the laboratory, these courses are aimed at early-career stage researchers to enhance their skills. Recent courses have covered immunophenotyping and the biology and ecology of cancer, alongside healthcare-orientated courses around genomic practice for genetic counsellors and clinical microbiology.
The team are aware of the challenges that those in some nations face in terms of training and resources, and are committed to improving the skills base around genomics. Overseas Courses have been held in many locations, including Vietnam, Kenya, and Uruguay, with each centre drawing collaborators and attendees from across the region. They are based on topics that are likely to have genuine regional utility and impact, such as malarial genetics or the surveillance of bacterial pathogens. Overseas Courses are designed to be as accessible as possible, and each is fully funded and free to attend.
The position of ACSC within Connecting Science means it is uniquely placed to deliver learning across borders and disciplines. But perhaps the last word should go to one ACSC’s biggest supporters over the years:
Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences, bringing researchers together from all over the world, provide a wonderful framework for the sharing and advancement of science. Skills are passed on, knowledge gaps are bridged and new avenues of discovery are opened up.