Module code: BMSM027

Module Overview

This module provides in-depth training in laboratory investigation and the associated skills that are at the heart of Level 7 studies: the aim of the program is to allow students to “develop critical and analytical skills such that they can identify problems, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, acquire and interpret data and draw conclusions.” These are implicit in the successful completion of a research project.

Students are involved in the projects from their inception and may also continue with their Level 6 dissertation project provided that there is scope to create new hypotheses and avoid overlap with previous work – work to be assessed in this module must be completely distinct from any work assessed as part of Level 6 modules.

During the extended research project students perform much of the work independently (although under academic supervision for guidance and support). The project will normally be laboratory based – alternatives include data analysis projects; bioinformatics, and in silico projects. They must contain a substantial proportion of original work and generate original data sets. Surveys, repetition of other work, or evaluation of test kits or other established procedures are not, in themselves, sufficient, although they may form the starting point for an acceptable project.

The Advanced Research Project is designed to build upon undergraduate experience and to further develop research skills that enhance student employability within the Biomedical Sciences. Students will develop independent experimental design and critical data analysis skills and learn to present their results in both written and verbal formats.

Students will acquire data analysis skills that will enhance their digital capabilities. They will gain experience of modern statistical analysis software and up-to-date digital bioinformatics tools. Projects could also include the development and application of coding such as R and Python for data analysis.

Projects provided by academic research-active staff will reflect current state-of-the-art research being performed within the School, which is aligned with current global and cultural challenges in providing sustained lifelong health.

Overall, the module is designed to provide our Biomedical Science MSci graduates with the scientific and research resourcefulness and resilience that will equip them with the necessary skills and experience for successful careers in Biomedical Science.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

ARCHER Simon (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Personal Tutorial Hours: 41

Independent Learning Hours: 210

Laboratory Hours: 348

Practical/Performance Hours: 1

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

The following timings are not prescriptive, but based on average time spent on the project over two 11 week semesters.

Laboratory / practical work (~16h per week):

Independent study (~9 – 10h per week):

Personal supervision tutorials / training (~2h per week):

This time accounts for the regular meetings between the supervisor or their designate, in addition to time taken for training; health and safety briefings; lab meetings; mock viva etc.

Viva voce (1h): This is a component of the final assessment

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework A scientific paper 60
Coursework A grant proposal 30
Oral exam or presentation Viva Voce 10

Alternative Assessment

None – N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their practical, writing and critical analysis skills and their ability to defend their research through a viva voce examination. This enables students to demonstrate written skills and also their ability to critically analyse the literature as well as their own data, and their ability to place it in context. The Viva Voce examination can explore critical analysis and knowledge of the subject area in both the wider context and in more detail.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• A scientific paper (60%)

• A grant proposal (30%)

• Viva voce (10%)

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students are given regular feedback through research supervision meetings with their academic supervisor. As the deadline for submission approaches, students also receive feedback on their dissertation – indeed it is a requirement of the module that supervisors have seen at least one full draft of the dissertation.

Module aims

  • Provide students with an opportunity to gain experience of planning and executing an in-depth and original scientific project
  • Develop a student's ability to identify either a scientific problem or a testable hypothesis and to explore that question applying appropriate scientific methodology
  • Provide students with the skills required to critically analyse their own data throughout the project and play an active role in the direction of the research
  • Develop scientific writing by creating a manuscript suitable for publication in a scientific journal
  • Present the long-term aim of the research topic through the creation of a grant proposal
  • Develop verbal communication and critical analysis skills through defence of the project through viva assessment

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Formulate and evaluate appropriate experiments to test a hypothesis PT
002 Demonstrate good research practice in their scientific approach T
003 Apply appropriate mathematical and statistical methods to analyse research findings CT
004 Critically analyse and discuss findings both in the light of previous work and in the broader context K
005 Be able to write a well-constructed scientific report in the form of a scientific research paper CKPT
006 Be able to defend the scientific work orally CPT
007 Demonstrate an understanding of factors that need to be considered when seeking research funding, through drafting a scientific grant proposal CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to support each student’s individual requirements, which will depend on the student and the nature of the project. Students are supported and guided in their own endeavours through regular research supervision meetings with their academic supervisor, and additional advanced laboratory training if appropriate.

The research project is appropriate to Biomedical Science disciplines and students are assigned one or more academic supervisors from the School of Biosciences and Medicine who are the most appropriate for that project based on their experience and expertise.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Independent practical experimentation.

• Independent study to access, interpret and assess the relevant scientific literature.

• Regular research supervisory meetings/tutorials (recommended to be at least once per fortnight).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMSM027

Other information

This module prepares students for enhanced prospects of employability within the Biomedical Sciences. Through the Advanced Research Project module, students develop a range of skills and experience which combine to enhance their independent learning and research capabilities. Specifically, students will develop skills and knowledge in the following areas:

Employability: The wide range of research projects offered to students will enable them to gain hands-on experience of current state-of-the-art research techniques and technology, in addition to developing data analysis skills and the ability to work independently but also as part of a team. These acquired authentic skills make the graduating students highly attractive for future employers within the Biomedical Science field.

Digital Capabilities: All research projects that are offered will contain a significant element of digital data analysis and statistical analysis using latest available software. In addition, may projects will enable students to develop programming skills (e.g., R, Python) as part of their analysis plans. Some projects will also use modern Bioinformatics analysis software (e.g., for analysing omics data). Acquiring these programming and analysis skills is supported by drop-in sessions that are provided by the School Bioinformatics Officer.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The research projects provided for this module reflect current research being undertaken within the School. Much of this current research is focused upon target areas that address global challenges and within diverse cultural settings. For example, we provide projects that address the health problems associated with sleep disruption, which is a global problem with a high health cost burden. Sleep disturbance affects different areas of cultural society differently. Shift work is associated with mistimed and disrupted sleep and affects around 20% of the working population. Some sleep problems are more associated with the elderly or people with mental health problems. This is just one example but there are many other areas of active research within the School with similar global and cultural alignment (e.g., infectious disease, vaccine development). In a similar way, the research projects that are offered also align to themes of Sustainability. Much of our current research aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – e.g., goal 3, ‘ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’. Specifically, research within the School ‘aims to optimise human and animal health for the benefit of society, in the face of global challenges such as ageing populations, disease burden, food security and climate change’.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: All the research projects are fully resourced, supported and supervised. Students will have meetings with their supervisors at least every two weeks and more often weekly. In addition to this level of provided support, students will be encouraged to develop their own independent approach to experimental design and the development of data analysis plans. The assessment for the module is to prepare a research paper based on their project results, to write a grant application for a programme of work to develop the research further based upon the project findings, and to present and explain their research findings in a viva voce exam. These three elements of assessment are designed to develop skills that will be required in a career in the Biomedical Sciences; skills and abilities to prepare scientific reports, prepare applications or cases for support for new areas of research, and to present and defend research findings in an authentic way.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.