Our strengths

At the request of the work field

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Bioinformatics is a recent and emerging discipline in which computer science techniques are applied within a biological (lab) environment. Partly due to the emergence of various high-throughput experimental methods and the need for automated analysis of biological data, bioinformatics has become indispensable in many laboratories. Therefore, the Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics training programme was created at the request of the work field. 

In addition to education, the programme is strongly committed to applied research and service. As a result, the Bioinformatics Knowledge Center (BiKC) was recently founded. Thanks to the close cooperation with the bioinformatics work field, the programme stays up-to-date with the latest developments within the field of bioinformatics.

Unique training programme

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The Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics is a unique training programme in Belgium. Howest is currently the only University of Applied Sciences offering a Bachelor of Bioinformatics in Belgium. Therefore, the programme is organized as a one-year Advanced Bachelor programme (or two-years via distance learning). In this training, you develop the competences to store and analyze molecular biological data and to automate your analysis. The goal is to provide you with an overview of the available tools and techniques, rather than the development of new algorithms. 

During the training you will acquire a hands-on and problem-solving mindset that allows you to immediately tackle new bioinformatics problems in the work field. Our students find the practical orientation to be the biggest plus of the training programme.

The closing assessment of the Bioinformatics programme is a full-time traineeship, which concludes with a presentation and defense in front of a jury. Because the programme is organized as an Advanced Bachelor, the traineeship is performed without the need to write a bachelor's thesis.

Strong learning environment

The lessons are a combination of theoretical input with practical exercises (on the computer). During the lessons there is a lot of interaction between the lecturers and the students and the students are encouraged to actively participate and ask questions.

The course units are always an alternation of bioinformatics, informatics and programming courses. No prior experience with programming is required for this Bioinformatics programme. The programming course units always start from the very beginning, so that everyone can follow. In order to prepare yourself even better for the first programming course unit, you will receive a link to a self-study course after registration. 

During the last few years, we have focused on the development of a strong learning environment supported by well-selected digital tools. In both the daytime and the @home programme, all lectures are recorded by default and offered as a study aid to the students. The digital tools are used both during the lectures, the evaluations and during the traineeship. They also make it possible to follow the training entirely from a distance (only for the @home training programme via distance learning).

Go international

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Located in the hearth of Europe, Belgium (because of it’s small size) is sometimes depicted as the capital of the European Union. In part due to this central location, but mainly due to a strong vision of Howest, we attach great importance to internationalisation.

Within the educational programme a mobility window is included so you can – if you desire – perform an international work placement. A short impression of research groups where previous traineeships abroad have taken place:

  • Medical bioinformatics laboratory, Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Genome based health & bioinformatics, Leiden University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
  • The Laboratory of Post-Transcriptional control and bioinformatics, University College Cork, Ireland 
  • Computational comparative genomics group, EMBL-EBI Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Evolutionary genomics group, Hospital del mar Medical research institute Barcelona, Spain
  • Genomics Research Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Doing work placements abroad is an absolute added value on both the personal and the professional level, in any event it will be an unforgettable experience!