Bioinformatics Consulting Thoughts
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11.3 years ago
Will 4.5k

I happened to see a post on lifehacker about the five best places to "Set Up Shop" online. Has anyone set up a side "freelance bioinformatics" job. I was wondering if anyone here had experience running a pay-by-the-analysis bioinformatics freelancing job.

I have a PhD, quite a few publications in the field, a solid analysis tool-chain and experience using and integrating both public and private data. Any thoughts on deciding prices, ways to advertise services, etc.

For those with freelance bioinformatics experience I would love to know the general price that you charge for various services. Or are all of your prices negotiated at contract time, if so could you give an example of a project and what price you settled on. I know that each project is unique and requires varying levels of skill, time and background knowledge so there's a lot of room for interpretation.

Thanks for any thoughts,

Will

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I was attending a seminar of a reputed company providing sequencing services. They sid that it costs around 150-200 $/hour for bioinformatics consulting. I found this interesting company: http://genomodel.com

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As a recent data point, I'm directing a Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Core at Harvard Medical School / Joslin Diabetes Center (https://joslin.ilab.agilent.com/service_center/show_external/5459/bioinformatics_and_biostatistics_core) and our team of experienced PhD's are effectively freelancers, because we work with industry or academia in the USA or internationally. We handle all omics data types (bulk/sc RNA/DNA seq, metabolomics, lipidomics, proteomics, etc.) and our rate is $135/hour, although this is low for the Boston area according to the data I've gathered. Hope this helps.

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11.3 years ago

I think Paweł Szczęsny had this kind of experience: see his blogs at http://freelancingscience.com/2008/04/05/freelancing-science-today-and-tomorrow/ and http://www.pawelszczesny.org

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very interesting, thanks for the link.

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11.3 years ago

Well, I'm not a freelancer, but we do run a pay-per-analysis service here in Newcastle.

Positives:

  1. There are plenty of projects which need a relatively small amount of expert Bioinformatics input (i.e. not enough to employ a full-time bioinformatician).
  2. Relatively easy to get set up. Unlike, say, sequencing-as-a-service, there's no vast equipment costs.
  3. A working week can be very varied.

Negatives:

  1. Without institutional backing, you'd have to pick up a lot of work quickly to make ends meet.
  2. You end up having to be a bit of a 'jack of all trades'.
  3. It is hard to pursue your own research agenda.

I think, similar to freelance web-designers etc, you need to beware of project-creep and fight hard to make sure your contribution is recognised appropriately.

(As an aside, here's a blog post with similar musings)

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Thanks for the input. I actually have a faculty appointment, I was just looking for a way to pick up small projects and publications on the side. Our university doesn't have a pay-per-analysis service and I was looking to capitalize on that.

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@Simon. If you don't mind me asking, can you give a ballpark estimate of how much you charge for various analysis projects? Even just the order of magnitude would be helpful.

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11.3 years ago

Interesting discussion. I am not a freelancer, but I worked as a freelancing bioinformatics consultant for few companies during the weekends. Currently, I am spending few hours of my weekends with folks of a startup company working on semantic web technology. I also worked with academic / training institutes that provides training in Bioinformatics. Another freelancing work I did was mentoring undergrad / masters' thesis projects by collaborating with my friends working at the Universities. Some time I volunteer with out any monetary benefits. I really enjoyed such interactions and it is a great learning experience.

Are you planning to develop bioinformatics tools as a SaaS model or to be a consultant ? If you are looking at SaaS model, I would recommend you to take a look at some of the domain specific products like GeneGO/MetaCore, IPA or ARIADNE pathway studio to begin with. Most of my consultancy invitations are received via contacts from friends or friends of friends. Couple of them I got via interactions I had at BarCamps and DevCamps. I have seen couple of bioinformatics freelance work at usual places like freelancer.com.

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8.8 years ago
paris.fifth ▴ 10

We are looking for a long-term cooperation with a skilled freelance bioinformatician for our research project. We have a lot of data to analyse and we need someone to do the analysis regularly and be in touch with us every day with new results. This is a part-time distance work so your geographical location is immaterial. Here is the rough job description:

"You need advanced bioinformatic skills including programming in python, R and command line operations. You would ideally be familiar with motif inference programs like NestedMICA and motif analysis web applications like STAMP. Part of the project will be also expression analysis. You may need to use GSEA too but it's not a problem if you don't know these applications. The most important thing is that you learn them fast. Some background in cell biology/ genome science is an advantage. Your job will be to do some analysis for a scientific project concerned with genome methylation. You will be told exactly what to do and even what applications/commands to use (if you need that kind of guidance). You just need to be able to learn and apply new techniques fast. Communicative English is a prerequisite."

If intereted please email me at paris.fifth@gmail.com

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This should be a new post(job), not a comment.

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