The program will begin with an intensive taught course on the skills required for researchers, including scientific writing and presentation, critical reading of the literature, experimental design, ethical considerations and data analysis. This will be followed by a short introduction to laboratory work and safety, immediately after which students will be able to start on their research courses.
Later in the first year, students will receive additional training in other important skills for the modern researcher, including the management of projects, and of intellectual property.
At the end of these course, students should therefore have a strong general proficiency in the various skills required for a career in research.
During their first year of study, students will perform two eight-week long laboratory apprenticeships under different supervisors. During each of these, students will work as part of a research team, and gain first-hand experience of experimental techniques, relevant to their supervisor’s area of research. At the end of the year, they will then select one of these laboratories to return to for their second year research project. With the help of their supervisor, they will then select a research topic and present their proposal as a poster in a research environment.
The majority of the student’s second year will then be taken up with their research project. This will represent an intensive, genuine study of an original research problem, of high enough quality to be published. Students will then present their findings as part of a research symposium, before writing up and defending their final thesis.
By the time of their graduation, students will therefore have extensive experience at performing research work in two separate fields, and be ideally positioned to begin doctoral studies in the life sciences.
In addition to practical experience in laboratories, students will also gain learn about modern topics in biotechnology by taking four elective courses in their first year. Many of which will tie in directly with research topics available for students’ final projects. Additionally, during their laboratory courses, students and supervisors will meet regularly for journal club sessions, in which students will practise their critical analysis and presentation skills, as well as broadening their understanding of these topics.