Meet-U: Educating through research immersion

PLoS Comput Biol. 2018 Mar 15;14(3):e1005992. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005992. eCollection 2018 Mar.


We present a new educational initiative called Meet-U that aims to train students for collaborative work in computational biology and to bridge the gap between education and research. Meet-U mimics the setup of collaborative research projects and takes advantage of the most popular tools for collaborative work and of cloud computing. Students are grouped in teams of 4-5 people and have to realize a project from A to Z that answers a challenging question in biology. Meet-U promotes "coopetition," as the students collaborate within and across the teams and are also in competition with each other to develop the best final product. Meet-U fosters interactions between different actors of education and research through the organization of a meeting day, open to everyone, where the students present their work to a jury of researchers and jury members give research seminars. This very unique combination of education and research is strongly motivating for the students and provides a formidable opportunity for a scientific community to unite and increase its visibility. We report on our experience with Meet-U in two French universities with master's students in bioinformatics and modeling, with protein-protein docking as the subject of the course. Meet-U is easy to implement and can be straightforwardly transferred to other fields and/or universities. All the information and data are available at

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / education*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Research / education*
  • Research Design
  • Students
  • Universities

Grants and funding

Meet-U is supported by the Masters of Computer Science and of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Sorbonne Université / UPMC (Bioinformatics and Modeling specialty, and, and by the Master of Analysis, Modeling and Engineering of Biological and Medical Information at Université Paris-Saclay ( It is sponsored by the Groupement de Recherche BioInformatique Moléculaire (, the Société Française de BioInformatique (, the Ecole Doctorale Structure et Dynamique des Systèmes Vivants (, the Institut de Biologie Paris Seine ( AC is funded by Institut Universitaire de France ( All the calculations were performed using the academic cloud of the French Institute of Bioinformatics ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.