Training FAQs

Some of the most frequently asked questions about our training courses

When will the next iteration of a training course be?

We try and keep our website as up to date as possible so you should find acurate information on our training page. If you don't see a date next to your chosen course then you can register your interest in it here and we will get back to you via email as soon as a date is set. We usually run three or four iterations of each of our popular courses every year so if you just missed out don't worry: a new itteration of the course will be running within a few months. Also, please do keep up with us on Twitter where we often advertise our courses first!


I've signed up for a course but I haven't heard back from you, what should I do?

We run our training sign-ups with an automated reply service which should send you a response to your sign-up almost instantly. This email, from, often gets put in the junk folder so check there first. If you still haven't got a confirmatory email then get in touch with us at, it's possible some thing has gone wrong. 


What is covered in a course? 

A rough schedule for each course is included on each course page, detailing what topics/subjects are covered. Generally if it's not listed there the it won't be covered in the course. If you have a specific application that interests you we can try and talk to you about this in any available down-time during the course but this is subject to time constraints.  


Is my experience suitable for this course?

For all of our courses we assume a rudementary understanding of biology and genetics but many of our courses are suitable for beginner bioinformaticians so you won't need any experience in coding at all. A few of our courses do require a level of experience using either Linux or R, but this will be stated on the course page. If you are in any way unsure whether your experience meets the requirements for these courses please see the following links, if these introductions make sense, and you are comfortable with this stuff then you are ready to go with courses that require these skills. If the following all looks like jargon and you don't understand the principles of the language then consider joining one of our introductory courses before going onto bigger things.

Check you have some Linux skills: do you know how to use all these commands? 

Check you have some R skills: you should be familiar with these functions.

If you have some experience with R but have never used Rstudio before then check out our handy intro video!


How can I pay for the course?

There are a number of ways in which you can pay for our courses after you have signed up via the link on the course page. Details will be sent to you in the automated confirmation email but in short:

  • If you are based at The University of Edinburgh or the Roslin Institute and wish to pay from a grant, please provide your POETA codes in as much detail as possible as well as the PI's name. 
  • If you wish to pay by invoice, please respond with your company name, address, and purchase order number. Purchase Orders should be raised to "The University of Edinburgh." If your institution is outwith the UK but within the EU, please include the VAT Reg Number. If you require a copy invoice by email, please state so explicitly.
  • If you wish to pay from a personal bank account or using your credit or debit card, please use the provided ePay link for the course.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot accept cash payments.

Are there any bursaries/grants available for your courses?

We don't offer any bursaries for attendance at our courses as standard. We occasionally do get funing for staff/students working under specific funding bodies but we will let you know of these on sign-up if avaialble. There are a few external organisations that offer training grants for courses such as ours, for example, the Genetics Society which offers training bursaries for members. We have done our best to make our courses accessible through tiered pricing and we work on a cost-recovery model. 


Can I get a certificate for attendance?

Yes! Just ask your instructor and we can send you a pdf or hard-copy certificate if required.


What computer software do I need to download before the course?

Most of our courses are run on our own Edinburgh Genomics flavored virtual machines running on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. These machines come with all the necessary data and tools preinstalled all you have to do is connect.

To do this all you need is a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) viewer (or VNC ‘client’) that will connect your home machine to this cloud based virtual machine (VM). We recommend TigerVNC as its easy to use and works well. Download the latest version here: 

Depending on what operating system you use you will need a different version of the “vncviewer-1.12.0” file: Windows users will need a .exe version, Mac users will need the .dmg version (and then drag the TigerVNC icon into your applications list), whilst Linux users can download the .tar.gz or .jar versions.

You can also use any other VNC viewer you please: MobaXterm, Remmina, RealVNC etc. but Tiger VNC will give you the best experience.

Our Intro to Python course uses a slightly different system, the details of which will be sent to you prior to the course via email.