Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the purpose of the PRBB Intervals Programme?

The purpose of the PRBB Intervals Programme is to offer PRBB based staff a range of educational and training opportunities in areas that complement their disciplinary expertise. Development of these complementary and transferable skills can help our staff create more rounded professional profiles and become more competitive in today’s rapidly changing environments.

Who can attend PRBB Intervals Programme courses?

Any member of staff of any of the PRBB Institutions is eligible to participate in the programme free of charge. However some of our courses have restricted registration depending on career experience, specific skill levels and other considerations. These criteria are specified in each course description but if you are in doubt as to your eligibility please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that since all courses are free to participants, we do ask that when people register that they commit to give at least 72 hours notice of cancellation to give us time to find a replacement. If you do not respect this cancellation period, you may not be permitted to participate in any further courses. We regret that due to funding conditions we are unable to accept non-PRBB residents to PRBB Intervals courses.

Who are the trainers on PRBB Intervals Programme courses?

All of our trainers are carefully selected from amongst the best in their field, usually on the basis of personal recommendations from senior PRBB staff, who have either participated in their training courses or who have themselves received personal testimonials as to the quality of the trainers. We aim to maintain a broad representation of trainers from international, national and local arenas as well as from amongst PRBB senior staff. In 2013, 16 of our 27 trainers were members of staff from PRBB Institutions.

How many people participate in each course?

The focus of PRBB Intervals courses is on participative and interactive learning so we keep the numbers in our workshops low – usually 15 participants or fewer.

What language are your courses held in?

The vast majority of PRBB Intervals courses are held in English, since this is now the commonly accepted language of science communication internationally. Nevertheless we also offer a small number of courses in Spanish, in particular those which are of more general interest.

How is the PRBB Intervals Programme funded?

The PRBB Intervals programme is funded entirely by the Consorci PRBB from public money. All programme courses and workshops are free of charge to professionals working in any of the PRBB institutions irrespective of their institutional affiliation. We do not accept sponsorship from any private or industry sources.

Who runs the PRBB Intervals Programme?

Elinor Thompson, has a degree in Medicine from the University of Bristol and completed specialist training in public health in London. Elinor worked as a public health consultant for many years in the UK National Health Service before moving to Barcelona in 2000 to embark on a new career in science graduate education. Elinor set up the PRBB Intervals programme in 2007 together with the Director of the PRBB and she continues to lead the strategic direction and quality improvement of the programme. She also runs workshops on presentation skills for scientists both at the PRBB and other research institutes across Europe. Elinor is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians, London and an Invited Professor in the Department of Health and Life Sciences, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

Eroteida Jiménez, has a degree in Biology from University of Barcelona and a PhD in Marine Sciences from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. She has been coordinating the activities of the PRBB Intervals programme since 2010 and has recently assumed joint responsibility for Science in Action, a course in good scientific practice for Masters and Doctoral students in Biomedicine at Pompeu Fabra University. Ero is interested in science management, communication and research integrity and is an Associated Professor in the Department of Health and Life Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona.

Why is the PRBB interdisciplinary transferable skills programme called PRBB Intervals?

An interval [interval (Cat), intervalo (Sp), intervalle (Fr), intervall (Ger)], has many shades of meaning depending on the context, but all derive from the Latin term intervallum meaning the space between the ramparts (vallum). In ancient Roman cities the space between the inner ramparts of the city wall and the front facades of nearby buildings was referred to as the intervallum. This space allowed the troops to move around easily and to access the rampart itself, as well as offering an additional space in which missiles hurled from outside would fall without hitting the buildings of the city itself.

The term “interval” is used in music, mathematics and even exercise training to refer to the idea of the importance of space, of rest, of distance or of time, between or within one event and another.

This notion of space reflects the essence of our continuing professional education programme. Our aim is to create space for reflection and discussion of ideas, concepts and meanings that lie on the borderlands between:

  • the natural sciences, arts and humanities
  • the rigour required by the scientific method and the flexibility needed for working with other people
  • the objectivity of science research and the subjectivity of our perceptions and experience

Feedback on the PRBB Intervals Programme

All participants on our courses are asked to complete a course Reaction Sheet to give us feedback on the course contents, trainers and other relevant aspects of the organisation. These sheets are summarised and we work closely with our trainers to modify and develop future editions to accommodate participants’ suggestions. We always welcome more general feedback on the programme as well as suggestions and ideas for courses and events.

You can contact us here.