The laboratory-based project provides an opportunity to participate in the research being carried out by staff in the School. Many students are able to work in the research laboratories, alongside postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, and all students have access to the full array of research facilities in the School. The project currently takes place over 5 weeks of full time research, and students are given a piece of work that can lead to concrete results in this period. Many undergraduate projects have generated data that has subsequently been incorporated into scientific papers, with the student as a named author. The project is assessed through a report, written in the form of a mini-thesis, and a short presentation. This module gives the student a taste of scientific research, and exemplifies the School's commitment to providing research-led education.
(b) Biology Enterprise
Biology Enterprise (BE) is project-orientated module, based on research in a commercial context, with self-selecting groups of 5 or 6 students working together. The learning context for BE follows the real-life scenario of the formation of a biotechnology spin-out company from an academic biosciences research group. Within this context BE aims to introduce students to: key processes of business start-up, specifically in the context of a spin-out of an innovation generated as a result of biological research; key factors and considerations that influence the decision making process of the commercialisation of biotechnological innovation; the necessary skills, knowledge and resources required to take biological innovation from concept through to credible commercial propositions; the purpose of a Business Plan and, using a self-generated idea, how to prepare and present a Plan for a research-led biotechnology spin-out. A core component of BE is an in-depth desk study of a biological topic to collate, review, critically appraise and present the scientific research evidence that underpins the self-generated idea for the biotechnological product or process. The content of this module will provide an introduction to key business processes such as ideas generation; market research; protection of intellectual property; raising finance, in addition to developing individuals' team working, project planning, time management and transferrable skills
(c) Biology into Schools
For students who see their future in science education, or other communication-based activities such as journalism, the Science into Schools module may provide an attractive option. As for the other research project options, it is research-led, but in this case the research takes the form of a systematic inquiry into the teaching and learning process. Students are required to prepare materials for teaching science in secondary schools, and to interact with teachers and pupils. After an initial training period, students spend at least 4h per week for 10 weeks in a local school. They are expected to graduate from classroom observation, to assistance in teaching, to an opportunity to undertake whole class teaching. They will also devise a special Biological Sciences project for the school, which they implement and assess. The module is assessed through a journal of activities, reports, a presentation, and a report by the host teacher. This module is focussed towards developing communication skills, as well as team working and interpersonal skills. This module will only be available to a limited number of students, determined by participating schools.