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Unit information: Professional Development for the Life Sciences in 2014/15

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Unit name Professional Development for the Life Sciences
Unit code BIOLM0015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Rands
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Students will develop the key transferable skills needed by professionals in life sciences, including many highlighted in the Research Development Statement endorsed by HEFCE and RCUK ( Topics for seminars, lectures and workshops will include:

  1. information retrieval and management;
  2. academic literacy and scientific writing;
  3. self-management including time-management, integrity and critical self-reflection;
  4. working effectively with people and developing working relationships;
  5. how science is funded;
  6. peer review;
  7. research ethics;
  8. presenting posters,
  9. writing grant proposals and understanding the assessment of research grants.

The unit will be evaluated partly online by peers (using Blackboard);

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of different approaches to undertaking research.
  2. Access and collect information from a range of different sources.
  3. Recognise the differences in the quality and reliability of information coming from different sources.
  4. Display an understanding of the personal qualities needed to be an effective scientist such as enthusiasm, perseverance, integrity, etc.
  5. Demonstrate an appreciation of how to manage time to achieve suitable prioritization of commitments, including achieving a suitable work-life balance.
  6. Display a critical understanding of the professional conduct expected in science in relation to aspects such as health and safety, ethics and integrity in recording and presenting findings, and appropriate practice.
  7. Display a critical understanding of how science is managed and funded, including the role of peer review in this process.
  8. Demonstrate an appreciation of the balance between publication of science and the commercial exploitation of findings or their application to policy, with the understanding that sometimes there may be conflict between these.
  9. Demonstrate professional skills in presenting scientific ideas in a range of different media to a professional scientific audience.
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of how to achieve their career goals, and of entrepreneurship in Biology.

Teaching Information

Seminars, workshops, lectures, practicals, e-learning via Blackboard.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: provided by peers via Blackboard. Summative (including some provided by peers; numbers refer to assessment of learning outcomes listed above):

  • Poster: 20% (learning outcomes 2, 9)
  • Oral presentation of the poster: 10% (4, 9)
  • Research grant application: 30% (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9)
  • Evaluation of grant applications: 10% (4, 5, 6, 7, 9)
  • Writing a scientific CV: 20% (6, 9, 10)
  • Performance in a scientific job interview: 10% (1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Reading and References