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Unit information: Biomedical Research, Employability and Enterprise Skills in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Biomedical Research, Employability and Enterprise Skills
Unit code MVSF20001
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Robson
Open unit status Not open

Level 4/C Faculty of Biomedical Sciences units



School/department Biomedical Sciences Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Biomedical Sciences


This unit provides important core competencies for students in the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, to equip them with the skills they will need to succeed in the final year and to enhance their employability after graduation. The unit has three main aims:

  • to enhance research skills through the development of data handling and interpretation abilities, and to provide students with an appreciation of how science is conducted ethically and sustainably,
  • to enable students to gain an understanding of the commercialisation of biomedical science,
  • to provide students with the opportunity to develop their employability and job application skills.

The aims of this unit will be achieved through both independent and collaborative work and will foster written and oral communication skills to both scientific and lay audiences. The capacity for self and peer assessment will be developed during the unit.

Intended learning outcomes

The intended learning outcomes for the two elements are:

  1. Research and Enterprise
    1. The ability to write for scientific publication
    2. An understanding of experimental design
    3. The ability to critically analyse scientific papers
    4. Data analysis and interpretation skills
    5. A basic knowledge of statistical methods appropriate to biomedical sciences
    6. The retrieval and evaluation of scientific information sources
    7. A basic understanding of bioscience and biomedical ethics
    8. An appreciation that assessment of risk is a key part of experimental design
    9. The ability to communicate scientific concepts to a lay audience
    10. The ability to write technical documents such as research grant applications
    11. An understanding of how scientific ideas are funded as both research projects and commercial exploitations
    12. Collaborative teamwork and peer assessment skills
    13. Oral presentation skills
  2. Employability
    1. Ability to write a curriculum vitae and covering letter that is appropriate to the job being applied for
    2. Work as part of a team to critically evaluate the applications and provide balanced formative feedback for each applicant
    3. Ability to perform competently as an interviewer and interviewee
    4. Peer review and assessment skills

Teaching details

  • Students will be given a relatively small number of introductory lectures to guide their skills development.
  • Didactic statistics lectures will be accompanied by workshops and extensive online practice exercises.
  • Library and plagiarism training will be delivered through workshops.
  • Peer collaboration, feedback and assessment will be key to achieving the intended learning objectives.
  • Staff feedback will direct skills development.

Some activities will take place in discipline specific strands to highlight the subject specific relevance of the material being taught.

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through a combination of peer and staff assessed tasks.

Peer assessment is an integral part of the unit as it encourages reflective and self-assessment skills. All peer marked tasks will use structured marking proformas which will include simple marking guidelines and sections on "Three things to commend" and "Three things to improve" which will provide feedback to students. Peer assessors will also choose their top two ranked pieces of work within the Employability cell. Peer assessment will be monitored closely by staff and if any student is concerned about their peer mark it will be considered by the Unit Director.

Group work is used extensively throughout the unit and students will be divided into discipline specific teams of 6-8 students for many of the assessment tasks.

A summary of the unit assessment is provided below:

Research and Enterprise element (worth 85% of the unit overall):

  • A scientific writing exercise including writing an abstract (10%)
  • A summative, end of unit exam consisting of multiple choice questions and extended matching questions to test knowledge and understanding of experimental design, ethics and application of statistical methods (25%), plus an abstract writing exercise (25%)
  • Statistics exercises (5%) and including formative assessments for learning
  • Preparation of a research grant proposal using a defined proforma (20%)

Employability element (worth 15% of the unit overall):

  • Assessment of cv and job application covering letter (10%)
  • Peer assessment of performance at interview (5%)

Reading and References

Experimental design for the life sciences, Graeme D. Ruxton and Nick Colegrave, Oxford University Press

Medical Statistics at a Glance, Edited by Aviva Petrie & Caroline Sabin and published by Blackwell

Intuitive Biostatistics: A nonmathematical guide to statistical thinking, Harvey Motulsky, Oxford University Press

Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics, Andy Field, Sage Publications Ltd, London

Skills for Success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook, Stella Cottrell, Palgrave

New Business Road Test, J Mullins, FT Prentice Hall