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Royal Society of Biology, 1 Naoroji Street, London WC1X 0GB

*** This course contributes to the Royal Society of Biology's Industry Skills Certificate

An introduction to Programming for Biologists Using Python.


There's no escaping it - computing is becoming an essential part of the scientist toolkit. From coping with the data deluge by automated analysis or simulating a mathematical model of your system, coding is an essential skill for the modern biologist.

This hands-on, one-day course will introduce you to Python, a popular and powerful computer language. You will learn the basics of working with Python through the increasingly popular Jupyter framework.

But Don't Panic - this course is designed for those with no existing coding experience.

Who is the course for?

PhD students and researchers at any career stage in biology and related areas of science and medicine.

Although no previous coding experience is required, attendees will be working on their own laptops and will be expected to install some programmes before the course. Any laptop or operating system is suitable.

What does the course cover?

The Basics of Programming with Python and Jupyter
In the first half of the course we'll take you from zero to hero at a gentle pace. Introducing Python and Jupyter from the very basics through to writing simple functions. This will involve short tutorials alternated with practical and relevant exercises - all done through live coding.

In this part of the course we will cover variables, data types lists, loops and conditionals. Don't worry it will all become clear because we'll also cover built-in and on-line help.

Plotting and Statistics in Python
In the afternoon, we'll showcase some practical applications of Python. By introducing important modules (NumPy, SciPy, Pandas and Seaborn) we will cover how to read in datasets and carry out simple plotting and statistics on this data. This part of the course will be less hands-on but you will be provided with all the resources needed to practice after the course.

Finally, we'll talk about how to use other people's code, write your own code and make them readable for other programmers (and your future self!). There will even be some time set aside for you to practice Python with your own or some provided example data.

A Note of Prerequisites
Attendees should be comfortable installing applications on their own laptops, details of which will be provided closer to the time. Any laptop or operating system is suitable.

Attendees will also be asked to read some background materials before attending the course to ensure that all attendees have common knowledge. This will be a small amount and will be explained with pointers to additional resources.

Who is the course trainer?

Chas Nelson is a Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow working in quantitative microscopy. He has taught computer science topics to a wide variety of groups and comes prepared with an undergraduate degree in Biology (and Physics) and a PhD in Computer Science, specifically bioimage analysis. Chas uses Python and Jupyter daily and has an interest in building courses that enable students to go on and continue learning after the course.

Chas will be supported by Mikolaj Kundergorski, a PhD student at the University of Glasgow using mathematics and computer vision to understand salmon behaviour. Mikolaj has experience in teaching programming at University level and as an IT consultant for the World Health Organisation.

Between them, Chas and Mikolaj will be able to fully support your learning throughout the day and provide you with the tools to continue developing your skills after the course.

Certification and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

A certificate of attendance will be provided after the event.
We evaluate all of our training events, to make sure that we maintain a high quality of training.

This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 21 CPD points.

Professional Registers

This course supports registers competencies and has been identified as supporting competency development for: Registered Scientist (RSci).
Competency area:
  • Interpersonal Skills


Members - £65 + VAT
Members of Member Organisations, SCAS members - £80 + VAT
Non-members - £130 + VAT

Non-members who have completed a membership application and made payment can also benefit from the discounted member rate.


For further information about the course please contact our Training and Development Officer at or on 020 3925 3453.


Unfortunately, the Royal Society of Biology is unable to offer refunds on training courses that have been attended. We do, of course, welcome and encourage any feedback from a course and will continue to improve the service we offer.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation with over 10 working days' notice = 100% refund, less 25% admin fee
Cancellation with 5-10 working days' notice = 50% refund, less 25% admin fee
Cancellation with less than 5 working days' notice = 0% refund

The Royal Society of Biology reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a training event up to 10 working days before the event is due to take place. A full refund will be issued.

If the Royal Society of Biology is required to cancel or reschedule a training event with under 10 working days' notice due to unforeseen circumstances, a full refund will be issued and 50% of attendee prepaid travel will be compensated.

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