MIBTP recognises the need for skills training, cohort development and professional internships. Therefore, cohort training will be based in purpose-devised learning and social space and students will all start their degree with a period of hands-on training from experts in both dry and wet experimentation.
In year 1:
- Foundation skills* modules in Term 1
- A series of bespoke Masterclasses
A set of hands-on workshops over 2 or 3 days in advanced, but widespread research skills and technologies.
- Relevant miniproject experience in distinct training environments.
Two mini-projects will be chosen in different disciplines and venues working alongside full-time researchers. Mini-projects often influence a student’s view of their chosen PhD.
- A Professional Internship will be followed by your choice of PhD research project.
The professional internship will be taken outside of the lab in destinations such as policy making, media, teaching and industry.
*Foundation skills: Most entrants will take Quantitative Biology, Large dataset handling, Introduction to modelling. Those from more physical or quantitative sciences may substitute some elements with training in Biosciences. All will take Introduction to risk assessment, Project management.
Assessment will be varied so that jargon does not disadvantage a student and ability to communicate across areas can be tested - seminars, group presentations, posters, laboratory reports, essays, writing and refereeing grants/papers. Each module will be monitored to ensure that they meet student expectations and deliver the skills intended and the Management Team will be acutely responsive to student feedback to improve the student experience.
Research Skills Training During the PhD Project:
All students will continue to receive research skills training during their projects as directed by their individual needs. Student travel will continue to be supported for external courses, summer schools, conferences and laboratory visits etc as appropriate. Attendance at the DTP workshops, usually run along Priority Themes with world-leading speakers, will be compulsory.
In order to continue to learn relevant skills and context, students will take the equivalent of at least one module per year (yrs 2-4) from a relevant MSc e.g. Food Security; Agronomy; Bioprocessing, Biotechnology and Business Management (BBBM), Bioinformatics, Systems Biology, as well as intensive laboratory-based MScs in Molecular Genetics, Infection & Immunity
Industry Club Mentoring:
MIBTP will form a Club from representatives of businesses associated with our research, PIPS and the Midlands region to provide mentors and career path guidance. A major event will be the UOL careers fair (below)
From 2012 partners will have access to the successful UoL PG Careers Symposium, an annual career-focussed training event at which industrial representatives will be invited to mix with DTP students and talk about their career paths and working experiences.
All students will attend the annual DTP conference, presenting their own research, helping with organisation and contributing to discussion forums (recent topics include research ethics, writing and reviewing research grants, managing budgets, patent/IP management, ‘principles’ of public life, careers).
Transferable Skills training:Each partner already follows the vitae-advisory programme of transferable skills training. To add value for students MIBTP will adopt the model that accredits each element of training, combining over 3 years to win the student a Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills for Scientists (or equivalent). This combines compulsory elements with options to allow students to personalise their training.
As noted, some transferable skills will be included as part of cohort activities in Yr1. In addition, at least one module will be compulsory each PhD year. It is expected that all students will attend the Teamwork module, but in subsequent years options may be taken.
Students will personalise their training by selecting skills modules from any of the Centres for Student Development and Enterprise (e.g. go.warwick.ac.uk/pgskills). Many courses are science-specific but others are general and provide opportunities for students to work with colleagues from across Academia. Options for Summer Schools include UoB’s Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School and Policy, Impact Summer School and UoW’s Envisioning and Enabling Innovation. MIBTP will also encourage PGRs to set up conferences in their own areas helping develop networking and project management skills.
Meeting Training Needs:
Introductory training in research skills is taken by all students as part of the programme but they subsequently personalise their training depending on their own research interests and needs. Much of this training will be provided on a one-to-one basis by supervisors and other members of the research group, while attendance at seminars and other discussion forums encourages interactions with a larger group of researchers and provides students with access to a much broader choice of research experience. Students are also encouraged (and supported financially) to attend external courses, summer schools, conferences and laboratory visits as appropriate.