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Strategies & Approach for Planning and Building Databases for Scientific Research

In this introductory course you will learn the principles of database systems and how application of these to developing an efficient Database Management System for scientific research can have a positive impact on the speed and efficient, accurate processing of your discoveries. We use a mixture of short lectures and audience participation exercises, as well as examples that are relevant to researchers, to deliver the course in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • identify common problems, their dangers and how to avoid them
  • introduce best practices to manage data efficiently and to plan, analyse, develop, implement and upgrade a database management system
  • be familiar with security, regulations, other legal concerns and appropriate counter measures
  • make informed decisions about the use and management of your research group's or departmental data

If you think you have a good basic understanding of building effective database systems for collaborative scientific research, but would like to advance your practical knowledge of the problem domain and ways to increase efficiency, then this course will also help you achieve that.

Course Content - Morning

  • Part 1) Data Management Questionnaire
    • Uncover and explore common database issues
    • Group Exercises

  • Part 2) Basic Database Concepts
    • Spreadsheets and databases - how do they differ?
    • Core concepts of a database
    • Why the use of database management systems is so important in scientific research
    • A high level review of available database systems

  • Part 3) Core Components of a Database
    • Structure
    • Tools

  • Part 4) Database Building Process - Introduction
    • A 5-step process to designing database structures
    • Group Exercises

Course Content - Afternoon

  • Part 5) Database Platform Review
    • Three database platforms are discussed (MS Access, FileMaker, Re-Base) along with their strengths and weaknesses and examples of suitable projects in which they will be used

  • Part 6) Building a Database - Practical Exercises
    • Setting up database systems, importing, querying and exporting data
    • The Re-Base database platform will be used in the exercises. However, the skills learned can be transferred to any database platform.
    • Note: To keep the cost of the course low we do not supply the computer equipment. Instead we ask you to please bring a laptop if you have one. The exercises will be conducted in small groups so if you do not have one then don't worry as we should be able to partner you with someone that does. Laptop requirements: Google Chrome web browser, and WIFI capability.

  • Part 7) Security and Regulations
    • What are the most serious threats to data?
    • Data security, storing personal identifiable information and data protection
    • A breakdown of the required features to comply with regulations

  • Part 8) Practical Examples - Guest Speakers
    • Two guests scientific researchers will demonstrate their database systems, discuss the challenges they faced and how they solved them

Optional Day Two - Advanced Database Design

The morning session of Day 2 will focus on general principles of database design using practical exercises to reinforce learning whereas in the afternoon there will be an opportunity to use your own spreadsheets to start building your own custom database. If you do not have your own data, we will provide some for you with which you can practise.

Who Should Attend?

Researchers who are planning to implement a database or need to maintain or upgrade an existing system but have only basic or little experience of databases. No knowledge of coding is required. Participants are typically academic researchers although the course has been useful for biotechnology companies and research physicians.

Your Course Leader

Richard S White BSc (Hons), MBCS
Re-Base Co-founder & Director

The course is presented by Richard White, a database professional who is the co-founder of Re-Base Ltd. Richard has a first class BSc (Hons) in Computer Science and is a Member of the British Computer Society. Richard has planned, developed and implemented systems for major scientific research institutions, such as University College London, both in the UK and internationally, and so understands the challenges facing researchers who need to design and implement databases for use in scientific research. He is also trained in public speaking and has run several database training courses.

Cost of Course

Day One Only
Special price of £199 £99 + VAT per person.
Includes materials, lunch and refreshments.

Day One & Day Two
Special price of £399 £198 + VAT per person.
Includes materials, lunch and refreshments.


Book Now

This is an interactive course with plenty of examples tailored to the situations of the individual participants. Be prepared to work hard and participate. You will leave ready to succeed.

This is an intensive program and seating is extremely limited!

Register Now

Courses 1



Re-Base Ltd
United Kingdom (GB/UK)


+44 (0)207 111 7768