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The Outreach team is the main contact point for Ensembl users. They answer questions sent via email, make sure that problems spotted by users are fixed by liaising with the other Ensembl teams, and give workshops, demos and presentations on the use of Ensembl worldwide. An example of a typical browser workshop is given below.

In addition the Outreach team regularly organises workshops on the use of the Ensembl Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These workshops normally are 2 or 3 days. If you are interested in hosting a workshop or want more information, please contact Xosé Fernández.

photo collage of workshops

For academic institutions our courses are free of charge. However we request that travel, accommodation and subsistence costs of the instructor(s) are reimbursed by the host.

Working with Developers

Whilst our browser and API workshops are ideal for researchers who make occasional use of our data, we can also provide help for users who wish to set up their own Ensembl installation, customise an Ensembl-based site and develop their own display pages.

A developer workshop is held approximately once a year, and of course there is our developers' mailing list where you can post questions to the whole Ensembl team.

For a more immersive experience, the "Geek for a Week" scheme allows developers and researchers to work alongside Ensembl team members for a short intensive collaborative project.

Browser workshop

Our standard 1-day browser workshop offers participants the possibility of gaining lots of hands-on experience in the use of the Ensembl genome browser, but also provides them with the necessary background information. The workshop is primarily targeted at wetlab researchers.


The workshop consists of a series of modules, listed below. Most modules consist of a presentation, followed by the opportunity to do exercises. Participants are encouraged to bring problems/questions about their research and we will try to tackle these during the workshop using Ensembl. The exact mix of modules can be varied, depending on the preferences of the participants.

  • Introduction to Ensembl: origin, goals and organization of the Ensembl project
  • Worked example: guided tour of the most important pages of the Ensembl website
  • Data mining with BioMart: retrieving datasets using the data mining tool BioMart
  • Genebuild: how are Ensembl gene and transcripts predictions made?
  • Comparative genomics and proteomics: orthologues, protein families, whole genome alignments and syntenic regions
  • Variations: SNPs, haplotypes, linkage disquilibrium
  • Other: functional genomics, DAS

A typical one-day workshop will consist of the first four of these modules, plus one other module of your choice; alternatively we can run a two-day workshop covering a wider range of topics.

The only prerequisite for the browser workshop is general knowledge of molecular biology / genomics and a familiarity with web browsers.


  • Computer room with a PC (or Mac) for each participant - 30 is the maximum number of participants
  • Each computer should have a (reasonably fast) internet connection and an internet browser installed (preferably FireFox, although Internet Explorer will also work)
  • A computer for the instructor, connected to a projector, with an internet connection and MS PowerPoint installed


We don't usually make and give out certificates of attendance to participants; however if the host wishes to do this, this is fine by us and we will be happy to sign them!