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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Intelligent Agriculture (PGBI11066)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaPostgraduate Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionAgriculture is a fundamentally important part of modern biotechnology, and will increase in importance during the next 50-100 years. The planet's population is predicted to peak at over 9 billion in the second half of this century. To provide food and dignified living conditions, agricultural productivity will have to increase 50% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. This task is extremely urgent and challenging, as it will have to coincide with a transition to more sustainable and less energy-intensive agricultural practices and be achieved with less agricultural land due to climate change and urbanisation.

This course will focus on plants and explore the fundamental constraints and opportunities for sustainable food and bioenergy production, as well as the use of plants to supply high-value products for human welfare.

Teaching objectives
- In lectures, to provide a framework for understanding contemporary constraints and opportunities for modern use of plants for food and non-food products;
- In paper analysis and small group work, develop skills in critical analysis and provide confidence in working with complex concepts in biology and society;
- In oral presentations, promote skills in succinct oral communication of science;
- In essays, promote scientific writing skills and to encourage the use of library, archival, electronic and other reference sources.

Course objectives
- To provide a knowledge base of the fundamental biotic and abiotic factors contributing to increasing or diminishing plant productivity;
- To provide a knowledge base of the fundamental societal factors that impact the development opportunities for intelligent agriculture;
- To provide a knowledge base of the fundamental environmental constraints that will condition increases in plant productivity;
- To provide a knowledge base for rational decisions in the relative balance of plant use for food and non-food purposes;
- To provide a knowledge base for the analysis of the balance of energy and resource inputs and outputs in the use of plants for non-food purposes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Plant Biotechnology (PLSC10023)
Other requirements Students must not have taken Plant Biotechnology (PLSC10023) during their fourth year honours at the University of Edinburgh.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  No Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 18, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Intelligent Agriculture2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of constraints on, and opportunities for improved agricultural practice and food production;
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of conventional and GM plant breeding;
- Produce and critique rational strategies for achieving sustainable, high yield agriculture;
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of agro-biotech fuel and synthetic feed-stock production;
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of natural production of high value and pharmaceutical plant products.

Cognitive skills
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Devise logical strategies to identify relevant scientific literature, historical or recent;
- Refine and focus their literature searches;
- Demonstrate the ability to extract relevant information and to present this information in a structured and comprehensive manner to an audience of non-specialist biologists;
- Demonstrate the ability to discuss and defend their views and conclusions;
- Demonstrate the ability to lead a discussion group on a scientific topic, showing understanding, skills of good scientific judgement, and the ability to involve others in the discussion in a balanced way;
- Demonstrate that they have the ability to research a topic for different modes of communication (e.g. presentation and essay) and that that they can construct a concise, coherent and cogent argument, presented in a well written format, and supported by scientific evidence.

Subject specific skills
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Show in depth knowledge of the plant biotechnology field;
- Produce a logical, considered and integrated strategy for a solution to specific plant biotechnological problems, for food or non-food crops
Assessment Information
In-course proposal development and course essay. As part of this course, tutorial support (3-4 one hour sessions) on how to structure and write scientific essays will be given, including in-class writing exercises tailored to this course.

Also an examination in the main December diet.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsBIOTECH Intel Agri
Course organiserDr Peter Doerner
Tel: (0131 6)50 7080
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8643
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