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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL5396M Research Project

80 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Dr Alasdair Pickles

Taught: 1 Apr to 30 Apr (13mth) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

A first degree (BSc hons) in a Biological Sciences subject, Bioprocessing or Biochemical Engineering: class 2(i) or above.
Completion of all of the taught modules (100 credits) associated with the MSc Biopharmaceutical Development programme.


BIOL5123MDrug Discovery and Development Pathways
BIOL5320MPractical Skills for a Regulatory Environment

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module is designed to provide students with experience of practical research and work through the completion of a 12 month work placement. The placement will involve a substantial research project (80 credits) completed in industry (path 1) or an industrial-focused research project hosted within academic laboratories with the University of Leeds (Path 2). During this placement, students will become an employee of the organisation (path 1) or will receive a stipend (path 2) and will be subject to their working practices and conditions. Through the project, students will gain in-depth practical experience of at least one technical function of the drug development process (pre-competitive research, discovery, manufacturing, pre-clinical testing, clinical safety and efficacy). In addition, the placement will provide substantial opportunities to enhance a range of transferable skills including developing professional relationships with others, teamwork, and communication skills.


The objectives are to:
- Provide in-depth practical training and research experience in an area of biological drug discovery or development;
- Provide experience of applying student learning within a professional work environment;
- Provide the opportunity to develop a broad portfolio of transferable skills that improves student competitiveness in the biopharmaceutical employment sector.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should be able to:
- Design, plan and execute an independent, in-depth research project in an area of biological drug development;
- Apply cutting-edge knowledge and practical techniques of the biological drug development process in an industrial setting;
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the legal regulatory framework and its implementation in biological drug development;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the commercial and cultural environment in which they have worked;
- Demonstrate a range of scientific and transferable skills including those associated with teamwork, problem-solving, project management and communication;
- Demonstrate an awareness of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for a career in biologics development.


An integral part of the programme is a period of practical research (80 credits) through which students gain in-depth practical experience of at least one technical function of the drug development process (discovery, manufacturing, pre-clinical testing, clinical safety and efficacy). To acquire this, we offer two routes through the programme, a placement in industry (path 1) or a placement hosted within the university research laboratories developed and co-supervised with industry (path 2). We anticipate path 2 being taken up by only a small number of students. The placements will all include a research project component that equates to 80 credits worth of work.

Our process for allocation of projects will be as follows: we will make available a list of placement providers and associated projects at the start of the academic year. Students will apply for their projects of interest competitively (in competition with others in their peer-group). The selection process will involve application/interview by the employer organisation, supported by module manager. Students will receive a salary or stipend during their placement module.

Supervision arrangements: all students will be allocated an industry and academic supervisor. For students on placements outside of the university, the primary supervisor will be the industry supervisor and vice versa for students undertaking placements within the university. There will be regular meetings with the primary project supervisor, normally on a weekly basis, with the student maintaining a pro forma record of the outcome of meetings.

The projects will commence in April, six-months after the start of the programme and will be completed by the following April. Assessment of projects will be finalised by the end of May, enabling students to graduate in July.

Assessment will be through an initial research plan and a final dissertation and an oral presentation on their research work. Students will also be expected to maintain a portfolio reflecting on their skills development during the placement year.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Induction Session18.008.00
Supervision Meetings500.5025.00
Private study hours166.00
Total Contact hours634.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)800.00

Private study

12 month placement will be full-time work i.e. 37 hours, 5 days a week. Of the full year, 80 credits (800 hours) will be devoted to the research project. This includes the design, planning and execution of the work, data analysis and write-up as well as any associated supervisory meetings. The placement will also include work-experience and therefore other day to day tasks associated with “being in work” will make up the remaining placement time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Project supervision meetings. Meetings with the primary supervisor will take place normally weekly. Meetings with the secondary supervisor will take place quarterly.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationDissertation of no more than 15,000 words80.00
Research ProposalResearch proposal and literature review10.00
Oral PresentationVerbal presentation10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Reflective log = P/F

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 27/07/2022


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