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Key information

Qualification type

Postgraduate Certificate

Subject areas


Course type


Course Summary

The Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration has been developed by the University of Cambridge and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). The programme has been designed to educate new biocurators with the requisite skills to work in this field and to provide established biocurators with a recognised qualification that reflects their diverse life-science and computational skills.

Who is the course designed for?

The Postgraduate certificate is designed for scientists who need or want to learn more about curating and managing biological data. Biocuration involves the synthesis and organisation of biological information from multiple sources to enable research and interpretation of biological knowledge. It is a diverse and stimulating career alternative for those who wish to leave the bench and pursue a data science career.

Biocurators (also known as data wranglers, research data lead and knowledge engineer) work in a variety of settings, including research institutes, academic institutions as well as commercial and private industry. The skills required for this type of role are multidisciplinary and crossover with those required in data stewardship, data science and biological research more generally.

We expect many applicants will be post-doctoral researchers from a life sciences background, however, we also welcome applications from graduates and postgraduates fresh from higher education.

Aims of the programme

The programme will:

  • provide professionally relevant teaching and learning of the knowledge and skills which underpin, and are at the forefront, of the role of a biocurator.
  • develop, create and upskill biocurators with the necessary expertise, and originality of application, to pursue and expand their roles in the rapidly evolving environment of biocuration.
  • equip biocurators to exercise initiative, personal responsibility and make complex decisions for successful careers in all branches of biocuration, including those in academic, research institute, industrial and health settings.
  • promote a comprehensive understanding of, and expertise in, the use of computational techniques as applied to biocuration.
  • encourage a commitment to intellectual challenge and the need to engage and interact with user communities.
  • provide work relevant learning and practical expertise in the context of a critical awareness of current problems and challenges to ensure development of best-practice in biocuration.
  • ensure a systematic understanding of knowledge to facilitate the development of critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills relevant to the career of a biocurator.
  • instil the values of Open Science, open access and FAIR principles.

Teaching and learning

The course will be delivered in a blended manner through a mixture of face to face and online delivery. Interactive lectures, webinars, practical demonstrations and workshops, problem based learning and small group working will be delivered and facilitated by experts in the field of biocuration.


Modules are assessed in a content and skill relevant manner. This may take the form of for example: subject tailored summative written assignments of 2500-3500 words; practical computational tasks such as the development of a piece of code for undertaking a specified database related task; pieces of reflective writing and critical analysis.

Students receive continual formative feedback throughout the course using a variety of strategies and techniques including evidence of regular reflection.

Different course options

Study mode

Part time


1 year

Start date



Principles of Biocuration
Computational skills for Biocuration
Open Science, data management and user engagement

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students are normally expected to a hold a 2:1 degree or higher from a UK university or an equivalent from an overseas university in a life sciences subject.