Charged particle acceleration in plasmas is a phenomenon that is rich in basic physics and also has great practical importance. In space plasmas the acceleration is often a result of a violent event, with the energy coming from magnetic fields, e.g. solar flares, or from strong electric fields produced in atmospheric discharges. In the laboratory plasmas, acceleration can be the result of injection of high intensity electromagnetic radiation into the plasma, as in laser-driven acceleration schemes, or the electric field induced in rapidly cooling plasmas, as in tokamak disruptions. In this talk we will describe two examples of electron beams in laboratory plasmas: runaway electrons in magnetic fusion devices and electron jets produced as a result of magnetic reconnection in laser-produced plasmas. We will discuss the characteristics and consequences of these processes, as well as their relevance for astrophysical scenarios.