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Unit information: SWBio DTP: Science in Society, Business and Industry in 2021/22

Unit name SWBio DTP: Science in Society, Business and Industry
Unit code BIOCM0013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ross Anderson
Open unit status Not open



SWBio DTP: Statistics and Bioinformatics, SWBio DTP: Data Science and Machine Learning for the Biosciences, SWBio DTP: Rotation Project 1, followed by SWBio DTP: Rotation Project 2

School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Whether one is a researcher working in an academic or an industrial environment, one is answerable to various stakeholders for the conduct of research, responsible use of research funding and the outcomes from research. The overall aim of this unit is to explore these various interest groups and their expectations of a professional researcher.

Academic research is usually funded directly or indirectly from tax revenues, charities or by industry and is regulated by policies set by various government agencies. We will explore the process of writing research grants, what science delivers for society, and what the expectations are on researchers to meet these goals.

Using a UK and Europe-based perspective we will explore the current funding framework, policies and legislative structures surrounding research and how such policies are devised. In addition, we will explore additional topics such as the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in research. It will include how publicly funded science is communicated to various interest groups, and how success is measured in research.

With respect to industry and business, we will explore the ways in which academic and industry-based research might differ, gaining an understanding of commercialising intellectual property and how research outputs can be protected and commercialised.

On completion of this unit, the student will have developed a thorough understanding of the societal context in which they are working, an appreciation of the relevant ethical and legislative frameworks that dictate how they can operate, an understanding of how their research is managed and constrained by various interest groups. The student will also be familiar with how academic and industry-based research interact and how such research is exploited for financial or societal gain.

Intended Learning Outcomes

To be able to:

  • Describe the expectations of a professional researcher, in terms of the legal and ethical frameworks that control research
  • Understand the process involved in securing funding for research
  • Understand the expectations of what scientific research delivers both to society and industry
  • Identify the likely outcomes and impacts of their research. The student will understand how these are best communicated and have an appreciation of how these might be exploited for societal or commercial benefit.

Teaching Information

This unit will have an intensive two weeks of teaching, comprising lectures, workshops and seminars, including some small-group activities. This will be followed by recommended- and self-directed study, to prepare the student for the various assessment activities.

Assessment Information

There are three items for summative assessment, and together these span the breadth of the subject areas included within the unit: There will be three assessments: (1) to demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in securing funding for research by writing a grant application in a BBSRC format relating to the PhD subject area (40%) and participating in a mock grant panel (pass/fail; must pass); (2) to demonstrate an understanding of the likely impacts of research by writing an Impact Delivery Plan (30%), and (3) to demonstrate an understanding of the expectations of researchers and scientific research by writing a Policy Document (30%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOCM0013).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.