Large Erasmus+ Grant for Development of Biomedical Education
​The NordBioMedNet network met in Turku on 21–22 August. The most important topic in the meeting was the new Erasmus+ project. Rector Kalervo Väänänen (front, in the middle) and Dean Pentti Huovinen(left, in the back) of the Faculty of Medicine were also present to congratulate the network for the funding.

​The first topics that the online learning platform will offer are ethics of biomedicine, digital pathology, computational biomedicine, and machine learning which involves e.g. bioinformatics and image processing. 

– The goal is to design the online learning modules so that they can be used as supplementary studies in the biomedical degree programmes or as courses that are carried out online completely, says the coordinator of the network, University Teacher Eeva Rainio.

In addition, the funding is used for organising intensive courses on computational biomedicine, and planning and realising learning analyses on online learning and its special characteristics.

Biomedical Education Meets Modern Challenges

Professor Markku Koulu, the leader of the Drug Discovery and Development Master's degree programme that is part of the NordBioMedNet, and the Head of Biomedical Department, Professor Sari Mäkelä provide a background for the funding:

– Our objective is to meet the current challenges in biomedical education. Every day, new research methods, such as genome sequencing, different kinds of efficient screening methods and super resolution microscopes, produce massive amounts of data for researchers. Today, all biomedical scientists must master the basics of bioinformatics, data processing and the possibilities and methods of analysing large amounts of data. In addition, the flood of information creates new ethical questions related to privacy and ownership of genetic information.

The members of the network have noticed that biomedical education is struggling to keep up with the fast-paced changes and new requirements in the field. OER offers a solution that benefits all the partner universities and utilises each university's strengths in research to its fullest. For example, the University of Turku produces course materials on web microscopy, image analysis and ethics in biomedicine. 

On the other hand, the recent developments in biomedical research that pose challenges to the education have made it possible to transfer learning online. Earlier, a large proportion of the courses required that the students are present in the teaching labs or participate in intensive courses on microscopy. Data processing, image analysis and the training related to them can easily be conducted online as no special laboratory equipment is required.

Students are also greatly involved in the realisation of the project and, for example, they organise events where biomedicine is popularised to the public. 

In addition, the target audience of the courses is not limited just to the partner universities, as the materials will benefit others who are interested in computational biomedicine as well as students and researchers who need it in their work.

NordBioMedNet is a biomedical network between the universities of Bergen, Southern Denmark, Eastern Finland and Turku and Karolinska Instituten. The purpose of the network is to develop the biomedical degree programmes of the partner universities and make them even stronger and more competitive by utilising each university's research strengths in the joint education.

In addition to building the Open Educational Resource, the network supports mobility and organises intensive courses. The University of Turku coordinates the Nordplus funding of the NordBioMedNet and the new Erasmus+ funding is coordinated by the University of Bergen. The University's Master's Degree Programme in Drug Discovery and Development is part of the NordBioMedNet network.

Text: Eeva Rainio
Main photo: Maritta Löytömäki
Roll-up photo: Hanna Oksanen
Translation: Mari Ratia

Published date 9/1/2017 11:35 AM ,  Modified date 9/1/2017 11:37 AM

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