Workshop 2013 Bioinformatics in the Chalet


Following the great success of the first edition in 2011, we will organise in 2013 the Bioinformatics in the Chalet. This workshop, based on a concept developed by Steve Stearns and John Maynard Smith, and shamelessly copied from the doctoral program in Ecology and Evolution, takes place in a beautiful small Alpine village (Chandolin). The beautiful and remote setting was chosen to allow you to focus while being able to enjoy the landscape and get to know your peers. 

The main goal of this event is to develop the following skills:
  • expressing your scientific ideas through discussions in groups
  • thinking critically and expressing yourself clearly
  • turning a general idea into a research project
  • writing the research proposal and defending it

You, the students, will be in charge. Each of you will be assigned to a pair. You, as a pair, will decide what are the important questions that you want to address, you will choose one, and attempt to develop a research proposal that will address it. The faculty will visit the groups during the discussions to answer your potential questions, provide coaching and give you feedback on your projects, but they will generally take the back seat. Additionally, the faculty will give informal talks about their research, and be available for informal discussion with individual students. At the end, you will present your projects to the other participants; we will have a last social event, and go home.

Invited faculty in 2013

Mihal Linial (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Marc Robinson-Rechavi (SIB and UniL, CH)
Frédérique Lisacek (SIB, CH)


The workshop will take place in a 1897-build mountain Grand Hotel located at the altitude of 2000 m in the Alpine village of Chandolin. It can be easily reached by public transport (2:20h from Lausanne, 3:20h from Geneva airport, 2:40h from Bern, 4h from Zürich airport or Basel). Room and board will be provided.

Target audience

PhD students of the SIB or PhD students doing a thesis in bioinformatics or biology, advanced master students or postdocs. Prerequisites: Background or interest in bioinformatics.

Provisional schedule

  • Sunday: arrival at noon; diner; Speed presentations: students have 5’ to tell who they are and their PhD topic; A research talk with bar open.
  • Monday: Morning: Students work alone to setup a project, faculty visit the students on rotational basis. Lunch: pic-nic. Afternoon: students present and receive feedback. At the end of the day, students are paired. A research talk in the evening with bar open.
  • Tuesday: Discussions in pairs, faculty visit the pairs on rotational basis. A research talk in the evening with bar open.
  • Wednesday: Discussions in pairs, proposal writing. The first version of the proposal due before dinner. A research talk with bar open.
  • Thursday: Feedback by the faculty. Free half-day for hiking/ socializing. Pairs continue working on the proposals, the second version delivered in the evening. Evening: a grill party.
  • Friday: Morning: pairs get feedback about their proposals and prepare presentations. Each pair presents their project to the other groups; this is run by the students, the faculty sit back. Lunch. Departure.

Accommodation expenses

Students will be hosted in the Grand Hotel Chandolin. The following registration fees include course participation, social activities, all meals and lodging in double-rooms during the 5-days workshop.

Fees for registration until 20 June:
SIB PhD Training Network members: CHF 200.-
Other PhD, advanced MSc or postdocs: CHF 550.- 

Fees for registration after 20 June:
SIB PhD Training Network members: CHF 300.-
Other PhD, advanced MSc or postdocs: CHF 650.-


Travel details

PhD students from the SIB PhD Training Network will be reimbursed of 2nd class SBB tickets. Look for the timetables at SBB railway website (final stop Chandolin poste).


Only 16 lucky students will be accepted (first in, first served basis). Successful applicants will be notified by 20 June 2013 and will then be asked to confirm their place on the course by paying the course fee. Details of how to proceed with the bank transfer of the registration fees will be provided on your acceptance confirmation email. 

Organization and Contact

Patricia Palagi
SIB | Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics
[email protected]