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Unit information: Science and Society in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Science and Society
Unit code BIOCM0016
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Dillingham
Open unit status Not open

Advanced Cell Biology BIOC30601 The Dynamic Proteome BIOC30604 Cellular Information BIOC30602 Advanced Options in Biochemistry BIOC30600, Research and Communication Skills BIOC30001, Research Training BIOC30002


All Year 4 units within the MSci

School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Lead Contact: Dr Paul Curnow

This unit will provide students with an understanding of how science in general, and biochemistry in particular, affects the society we live in. The funding and regulatory framework within which research in the UK and abroad takes place will be explored and the importance of effective communication with a range of stakeholders including experts and the general public will be discussed. The ethical conduct of scientists and the sustainability of research will also be examined.

Students will:

  • Appreciate the impact of biochemistry on society in the UK and abroad
  • Gain an understanding of how biochemical research is supported by public and private funding
  • Understand the relevance of biochemistry to UK industry, and the importance of impact and science policy.
  • Debate topical ethical and sustainability issues in biochemistry.
  • Gain skills that will enable them to communicate science to a broad variety of audiences

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Research a topic using the primary scientific literature
  • Review and critique the scientific data and literature and appraise competing theories
  • Achieve an in-depth knowledge and understanding of their research topic and an ability to keep abreast with recent developments in the field.
  • Work independently on their research project and manage their time
  • Analyse and interpret biochemical data
  • Solve unseen problems
  • Write a scientific report for an expert audience

Teaching details

Literature comprehension workshops

Synchronous student-led discussion sessions

Asynchronous lectures

Assessment Details

For learning (formative)

  • Student-led debates and discussions covering ethical issues and/or the contribution biochemists or research methods have made to society

Of learning

  • Four written pieces of work covering (i) Public Engagement, (ii) Policy (iii), Research Impact, and (iv) a Technical Summary

Reading and References

Reviews and articles from the primary scientific Literature