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Unit information: Biomedical Research, Employability and Enterprise Skills in 2020/21

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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 Life Sciences Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit provides important core competencies for students in the Faculty of Life 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:

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. The ability to communicate scientific concepts to a lay audience
  9. The ability to write technical documents such as research grant applications
  10. An understanding of how scientific ideas are funded as both research projects and commercial exploitations
  11. Collaborative teamwork and peer assessment skills
  12. Oral presentation skills


  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. Understand the role of a job interview and perform competently as an interviewee
  4. Peer review and assessment skills

Teaching details

  • Teaching will be delivered through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online activities, including short recorded lectures, workshops, feedback sessions and quizzes.
  • Some small-group teaching activities (e.g. feedback sessions) may take place face-to-face, where possible.
  • For some activities, students will be divided into teams of 6-8 students. Peer collaboration and feedback 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

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

  • An end-of-unit assessment consisting of:
  • Preparation of a research grant proposal using a defined proforma (20%)
  • Continuous assessment of statistics, involving a series of short online quizzes (5%) and including formative assessments for learning
    • Timed assessment (a scientific abstract writing) (35%)
    • Summer exam online (statistics MCQs) (25%)

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

  • Assessment of CV and job application covering letter (10%)
  • Assessment of performance in a mock job interview (5%)

Reading and References

Resources for statistics:

  1. Online Statistics Education: An interactive multimedia course of study. David Lane, Rice University. [accessed 30th August 2019]
  2. Intuitive Biostatistics: A non-mathematical guide to statistical thinking, Harvey Motulsky, Oxford University Press.
  3. Medical Statistics at a Glance, Edited by Aviva Petrie & Caroline Sabin and published by Blackwell.

Resources for research and enterprise:

  1. Essential guide to reading biomedical papers: recognising and interpreting best practice, Edited by Phil Langton. Wiley-Blackwell.
  2. Experimental design for the life sciences, Graeme D. Ruxton and Nick Colegrave, Oxford University Press.

Resources for employability:

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