Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Table of Content

More FAQs will be added to this page as questions arise.


What is the Galaxy?

Galaxy is an open-source, open science platform for data integration and analysis that is deployed in hundreds of organizations around the world.

Galaxy was originally developed to support genomic data integration and analysis, and that is still the most common domain it is used in. However, the platform itself is domain agnostic and can be used in any research domain that uses shared data formats and is compute and data-intensive. Galaxy is now used in related domains such as proteomics, computational chemistry and molecular modeling, as well as in domains such as climate modelling and natural language processing that are far from life science.

Why did Galaxy create the Galaxy Mentor Network (GMN)?

Galaxy is a global community of researchers, trainers, students, bioinformaticians, software developers, and infrastructure providers, all using the Galaxy platform to perform and support data-intensive research. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of Galaxy deployments around the world, and tens of thousands of researchers and students use Galaxy every year. Hundreds of community members contribute to the project every year, through support, training, presentations, events, code, tools, testing, and documentation.

Galaxy is a sprawling ecosystem and a dispersed community. It is easy for newcomers to get overwhelmed by the many Galaxy resources and community communication channels. The Galaxy Mentor Network is established to connect newcomers with experienced community members to help prevent newcomers from getting lost.

The Galaxy Mentor Network program

What should I know about the GMN programme?

Designed for any Galaxy members (both new and existing), this two months mentoring programme will equip participants (Gmentees and Gmentors) with a broad set of practical skills to boost knowledge and thrive in the Galaxy community.

Gmentees can be any Galaxy member. During the course of the program, Gmentees are required to complete their individual or team projects and share them with their Gmentor.

Gmentees must be willing to accept constructive feedback from their Gmentors related to their projects and goals and commit themselves to continuous growth and improvement in project skills and knowledge in order to develop new skills and expertise and to be proficient and grow with Galaxy.

Gmentors are seasoned Galaxy community members who can commit to regular meetings for 2 months (recommended: at least 30 mins meetings every 2 weeks). Gmentors help to ensure their Gmentee has a successful transition into the Galaxy community.

They serve as a resource and repository of information, connect with people and the community, assist in purposeful networking, and provide thought and guidance throughout the completion of the project.

Network Managers are the programme coordinators. They help with pairing Gmentors with Gmentees, sending mail to both Gmentors and Gmentees to inform them about their acceptance into the program, monitoring the progress of the mentorship, collecting feedback, and ensuring Gmentor and Gmentee complete the program. They are also the mediator when either Gmentor or Gmentee has any challenges during the process.

This Galaxy Gmentor Network Programme helps participants (network managers, Gmentors, Gmentees) to:

  • share their expertise and develop skills and knowledge vital to create, lead, and contribute to Galaxy projects.
  • connect with members across different projects, communities, backgrounds, and identities.
  • empower each other to become effective Galaxy community members.

How to join the program?

As part of the process:

  • Gmentees join this program with goals that they want to achieve during this program. With support from their mentors, they complete these successfully.
  • Gmentors join the program by indicating their availability and willingness to mentor someone.
  • Network Managers accept to be part of the program by replying to the invite message.

Can you tell me more about the Gmentors-Gmentees-Pairing (MMP) Process?

Once a Gmentee submitted an application, it will be reviewed by the network manager and then shared with the pool of possible Gmentors. The Gmentors select their own Gmentees together with the network manager. The areas of mentorship are not limited to: Contributing to the community, Running data analysis, Instructing students, and Carrying out projects. This opportunity will help them over a period of two months to develop new skills and expertise and to be proficient and grow with the ecosystem.

There are 2 general rules:

  • Discussions and everything you will share with your Gmentor will remain between you (except in case of Code of Conduct violation)
  • Gmentor & Gmentee schedule a minimum of a monthly virtual meeting.

Each Gmentor/Gmentee is provided with a toolkit (slide deck, short video, and note-taking document) at the beginning of the programme. The programme is at hand to help throughout the process.

What happens at the end of the two months of mentoring? Can I continue my mentorship relationship?

Of course! Beyond the two months, Gmentor/Gmentee relationships continue based on the mutual interest of both parties. Officially, the program winds down after two months, but some of the best mentoring relationships continue well past the end of any formal, organizationally sanctioned timeframe.

What happens if I need to leave the programme before it is concluded?

It is not recommended to leave the programme before it is concluded, as it is a unique opportunity and experience that will add value to you from the beginning to the end. Its flexible nature allows you to accommodate other responsibilities while participating in the programme. If, however, you have to leave the programme, please notify us immediately so that someone else can be matched with your mentoring partner.


What are the criteria to join the program as a Gmentee?

To apply for the GMN programme, you should be a Galaxy newcomer, a member who wants to move from one part of the Galaxy community to another or someone that needs support for a specific project. We also require you have a goal you intend to work on or at least an area that you have an interest in. However, if you don’t have a goal, your mentor and you will decide on a goal at the beginning of the mentoring program.

For our programme we expect our candidates to manifest motivation, commitment and critical thinking skills.

How can I become a Gmentee?

You are expected to fill the application telling us what you would like to achieve through the mentoring process. A quick review will be done by the network manager before sending it to the pool of Gmentors. Then the selection will be made by Gmentors based on your needed/required skills and experience.

Meanwhile, if no Gmentors selected you because they didn’t seem to be the best person for you, the network manager will encourage you to seek help by asking questions in the Help Forum and Matrix channels. You will be notified immediately you're matched with a Gmentor.

As a Gmentee how much time do I need to dedicate?

We provide a flexible mentoring programme, where you and your Gmentor can directly arrange how often you will be in touch. So, it is really up to you and your Gmentor, your availability of time and energy to make the most out of this experience. A minimum of 30 minutes every 2 weeks is required, we recommend that our participants dedicate a total of 2 to 3 hours to their communication on a monthly basis.

How do I meet my Gmentor?

If your application is successful, we will be in touch with you. We will allocate and introduce you to your Gmentor and it is up to you and your Gmentor to agree upon the frequency and preferred methods of communication throughout the programme.

What are my responsibilities as a Gmentee?

As a Gmentee, you are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet an experienced community member who will provide you with valuable expertise and insights. You will benefit from your Gmentor as a role model and an independent sounding board, you will receive guidance, advice, feedback, and support based on your unique needs and help to prevent you from getting lost from the Galaxy numerous resources. Your Gmentors will help you connect with the Galaxy community and its members and subgroups.

As a Gmentee, you are responsible for your own project and being an active participant in the mentoring programme. This includes making sure you keep in touch regularly with your Gmentor throughout the program. You are expected to act on advice and resources provided by your Gmentor.

As a Gmentee you are expected to be fully engaged in the mentoring programme, committed to the opportunity and respectful of the Gmentor’s dedication and external responsibilities, responding and communicating in a timely and appropriate fashion. If you have any challenges during the process you should get in touch with the network manager immediately.

Can I be Gmentored through the program more than once?

Well, you are welcome back again! But you should consider leaving space for other interested candidates. However, after you have completed the program as a Gmentee, we’d love to see you come back as a Gmentor, and share your experiences with another newcomer!

As a Gmentee what happens after I conclude the mentoring programme?

Upon successful completion of the mentoring, you will have gained valuable insights into your project, new perspectives and new skills. Moreover, you will most probably have gained a lifelong friend!

You will receive a programme completion certificate and you will become part of the broader GMN community which will be a network of support to you.

If my application is not successful can I apply for a second time?

As long as you still meet the eligibility criteria, you are welcome to apply again! Please note that due to the high volume of applications we will not provide any feedback on unsuccessful applications.


How can I become a Gmentor?

You are welcome to express your interest in becoming a Gmentor by submitting your application.

As a Gmentor, how much time do I need to dedicate?

As general guidelines, we recommend a minimum requirement of communicating with your Gmentee at least 30 minutes every 2 weeks. We expect you to dedicate at least 1 to 2 hours a month in communications with your Gmentee, in order to support the objectives you have set together. The whole programme lasts two months. It is highly recommended to also regularly communicate with each other (Gmentor and Gmentees) via chat (Gitter, Matrix, Slack) or email.

What are my roles and responsibilities as a Gmentor?

As a Gmentor, you will have the opportunity to help other individuals have a successful transition into Galaxy or a part of Galaxy. You will serve as a role model, and an independent sounding board, provide guidance, advice, feedback, and support to the Gmentees based on his or her unique needs. and help to prevent Gmentees from getting lost.

One of your most significant contributions as a Gmentor is to support the Gmentee with resources and guidance to complete the project and become an active member of the Galaxy community.

Although we understand and respect our Gmentors’ professional and personal commitments, we would expect Gmentors to be responsive, committed and engaged throughout their relationship with their Gmentees. We leave it to the Gmentors and Gmentees’ discretion to agree upon the frequency and preferred methods of communication throughout the programme.

What’s in it for me as a Gmentor?

We are committed to ensuring Gmentors benefit from this programme. Here are a few values we think you will receive as a Gmentor:

  • Develop leadership and communication skills;
  • Share valuable knowledge based on your own experience;
  • Improve your understanding of issues and barriers experienced by newcomers to the galaxy;
  • Help someone in your field put their skills and experience to work;
  • Get recognition and acknowledgement for your service to the community.

How do I meet my Gmentee?

The Network Manager will be in touch with you as soon as you choose a Gmentee. After this introductory communication, it is up to you to reach out to one another in order to arrange your first meeting and initiate the mentoring experience.

How can I Gmentor again?

If you could support another newcomer, it would be fantastic! Repeat Gmentors bring the added value of learning and experience from their previous mentorings. At the end of your mentoring programme, you will be contacted and asked if you are able to Gmentor again. Even if you are not able to do this straight away, you can let us know and we can get back in touch with you later by adding you to our mailing list.

What kind of support will I get with mentoring?

Before you start mentoring someone, you will be provided with a Gmentor orientation slide deck to learn more about your role and responsibilities as a Gmentor.

Both you and your Gmentee will have access to online resources to guide you through your program. These tools offer tips for Gmentors about how to best guide their Gmentees. They also contain information for Gmentees to help them in completing their project.

You and your Gmentee will also be supported by a network manager. The network managers will also organize community meetings for all Gmentors in the programme to discuss their difficulties, things to change, etc. Their role is to help you both throughout the entire mentoring programme and respond to your questions and concerns.

How will I know if I'm doing a good job?

Open communication is the key to any good mentoring. Throughout the mentoring programme, you should be speaking to your Gmentee about whether or not you are fulfilling the joint goals that you both set out at the beginning. Your network manager will also ask you to provide feedback on your progress and experience throughout the mentoring programme. If you are helping your Gmentee make progress on their project, then your mentoring is successful.