BelBi Panel Discusses Future Skills in Bioinformatics

The Fifth Belgrade Bioinformatics Conference 2024 (BelBi2024) was held from June 17-20 at the Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade, organized by the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering (IMGGE). This year again, C4IR Serbia partnered in organizing the event, contributing a panel titled “Building Skills for the Future: Masters 4.0 in Bioinformatics.”

The panel, moderated by our Project Analyst Nemanja Bogavac, explored the critical needs of the research and private sectors in Serbia. It emphasized the importance of developing future skills through advanced education in bioinformatics, adopting international best practices, and evaluating their applicability within the Serbian educational system.

Jelena Ružičić, Portfolio Manager for Digital Innovations at UNDP Serbia, opened the session with an overview of the current global and local expertise in bioinformatics. She provided insights into the knowledge and level of expertise needed for future skills, with a particular focus on bioinformatics at both the global and Serbian levels.

The panel featured three speakers, each offering unique perspectives on bioinformatics education from both the research and private sectors. Prof. Janko Samardžić, Special Advisor to the Minister of Education and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, provided an in-depth analysis of Serbia’s bioinformatics landscape. He discussed the need for comprehensive educational programs to equip future professionals and outlined the government’s vision and support for advancing bioinformatics education through initiatives like the Master’s 4.0 Program.

Dr. Nevena Veljković, founder and CEO of Genial, offered a private sector viewpoint, highlighting the current expertise level within Serbian companies and the need for more bioinformatics experts. She advocated for stronger collaboration between academia and industry to structure future bioinformatics master’s programs, ensuring they meet market demands and foster innovation. By comparison, Prof. Nataša Pržulj, a Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies and a Professor at University College London, provided a comparative analysis of the bioinformatics landscape in Europe, particularly in Spain and England.

Session concluded by detailing the ongoing Public Call for Master 4.0 in the field of Bioinformatics. Prof. Samardžić outlined the program’s dynamics, budget allocation, the number of anticipated awards, and the next steps, reinforcing the Serbian government’s commitment to fostering a bioinformatics education infrastructure.

The Belgrade Bioinformatics Conference is an annual and highly important event in the field of bioinformatics in Serbia, gathering researchers and leading experts from Europe and around the world. This was the fifth conference, focusing on the application of bioinformatics systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in molecular biology, biomedicine, biotechnology, bioengineering, and pharmacology. Find more information about the conference: HERE.

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