MIBTP recognises the need for skills training, cohort development and professional internships. Therefore, all students will start their degree with a programme of hands-on training from experts in both theoretical and experimental approaches to bioscience.
In Year 1:
- Quantitative skills modules in Term 1. These include the online SysMIC module 1, programming and statistics training. The SysMIC online module is supported locally by staff in Warwick Systems Biology Centre.
- A series of bespoke Masterclasses. This is a set of hands-on workshops over 1, 2 or 3 days in selected advanced research skills and technologies.
- Relevant mini-project experience in distinct training environments. Two mini-projects will be chosen in different disciplines and partner universities. In each you will work full-time as part of the research group for 3 months. Mini-projects often influence a student’s view of their chosen PhD. You may use the mini-projects to learn skills for your PhD research, or to explore a new area of interest.
- A Professional Internship. The internship will be taken outside of the lab in destinations such as policy making, media, IP management, teaching and industry.
Assessment will be varied - seminars, group presentations, posters, laboratory reports, essays, writing and refereeing grants/papers. There is an emphasis on the ability to communicate across disciplines. Feedback is encouraged for each module to ensure that the training meets student expectations and delivers the skills intended. The Management Team will consider all feedback promptly in order to continually 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 be supported for external courses, summer schools, etc as appropriate. Attendance at the MIBTP cohort workshops will be mandatory.
Personal Development Plans (Development Needs Analysis)
All MIBTP students will use online or local provision to review their own skills and draw up personal plans for skill development. This will cover both specific skills (project-based) and generic professional career skills. The plans will be reviewed with an MIBTP Director annually.
In order to continue to learn relevant skills and context, in years 2-4 students might benefit from attending modules from relevant M-level provision. All three partners run MSc courses; 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.
MIBTP has a group of professional Advisors from relevant, linked industries who sit on the Management Board. These Advisors will be asked to act as MIBTP career mentors and be available for career path guidance.
A major annual event is the University of Leicester careers fair, an annual career-focussed training event at which industrial representatives will be invited to mix with MIBTP students and talk about their career paths and working experiences.
All students will attend the annual MIBTP 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 MIBTP cohort activities and these activities will substitute for other local training as long as the appropriate record is kept.
As identified in the Personal Development Plans (Development Needs Analysis), 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 students to set up conferences in their own areas helping develop networking and project management skills.
Meeting Training Needs:
After the initial training year students will manage 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. Attendance at seminars and other discussion forums will be encouraged so that network interactions with a larger group of researchers will provide students with 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.