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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Biodesign (PGBI11112)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAs our environment becomes more technological and engineered, we seem to be yearning to bring nature back to our lives, wanting to live among living things or things that remind us of living organisms. Bio-based and bio-inspired (i.e. biomimetic) solutions are also sought after in numerous sectors of industry for their energy-efficiency and sustainability. Bio-based or bio-inspired design (hereafter called biodesign) is a blooming perspective to improve solutions for our living environment. Reflecting the need and tapping on Edinburgh's amazing expertise in the related research areas, we would like to create a new course for biology postgraduate students to exercise their accumulated knowledge and practical skills in biological sciences to create an everyday solution for society, through interdisciplinary collaboration with designers.

Guidance and feedback will be provided by a team of instructors and local experts from both sciences and art/design fields, and students' projects will be considered for the international biodesign competitions (e.g. Biodesign Challenge and Biodesign Competition) to test the real-world relevance beyond the University. MSc students can have maturity and potential to excel in idea synthesis and project development; however, practical and active-participatory courses offering such opportunities are currently not available to them, despite the skills to identify and develop new projects being critical for their future success. Such a course will bring unique edges to the Edinburgh Biology MSc programmes in attracting innovative students with strong drives and initiatives.

Course description The course consists of a weekly three-hour class to learn design and biological concepts to facilitate project development, in which each team will report their out-of-class activities of the previous week. A team of instructors from the Schools of Design and Biological Sciences will guide and support the students' project development. In addition, a series of biodesign experts are invited to provide students with inspiration and advice; they will bring along 3D objects to help students grasp their cutting-edge research.

The students will form small interdisciplinary groups of three to five members, mixing the students from the biology/natural science and design programmes. Each team will go through rounds of rigorous brainstorming to identify and formulate a scientifically supported solution for a specific social need/challenge. The solution should be a product, a prototype (realistic or speculative) which will be presented as the outcome, alongside a pitch and a short video to explain its concept and function. Through this course students will learn skillsets for interdisciplinary collaboration and multi-media communication with a lay audience.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least a 2:1 or its equivalent degree at UG level in one or more of: Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Other related sciecnes; OR a background in engineering, particularly bio-engineering, physics, mathematics or another relevant discipline will be considered on a case by case basis. OR have taken either Gene Expression and Microbial Regulation and/or Enzymology and Biological Production (MSc Semester courses)
Additional Costs Students may choose to spend extra costs associated with prototyping; however, it is not necessary (basic materials will be provided).

Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must be attending for the full year to take this Semester 2 course
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 15, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 3, Other Study Hours 68, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 0 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) 7 hours per week of independent learning
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative assessment:
Individual class participation (20% - active participation, including presentations throughout the semester)

Individual blog posts/project development notes (2 x 15% - 2 posts of 250 words with sketches for early half of the term)

Summative assessment:
Individual class participation (20% - active participation, including presentations throughout the semester)

Individual blog posts/project development notes (2 x 15% - 2 posts of 250 words with sketches for later half of the term)

Individual end of Semester essay (50%)

Note: feedback will also be given at each session during the tutorial sessions

Feedback During the weekly discussion sessions, the instructors will circulate around the different teams and talk to each team member. Students will be given ample feedback on how they are progressing during these sessions. In addition, written feedback will be given to each student on his/her progress report/blog.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a new product design project, identifying a key societal challenge and formulating a scientifically sound innovation through rigorous critical thinking and conceptualisation
  2. Exercise accumulated knowledge and skills from prior training in biological sciences and apply it to bio-inspired/based problem solving
  3. A thorough understanding of design concepts and their relevance to synthetic biology
  4. Critically analyse and synthesise broad knowledge from the scientific literature and general media, as well as new technologies and/or methods
  5. Collaborate with art/design students and cultivate skills for interdisciplinary communication, and improve career prospects by developing a range of transferable skills in addition to specialised knowledge
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Experience and skills to develop a new line of research/innovation project based on critical thinking and active problem-solving

2. Experience and skills to communicate and work with interdisciplinary collaborators and layman audience

3. Effective communication skills to describe a biology project and convey its significance in oral, video, and 3D format
Additional Class Delivery Information 12 hours of lectures
3 hours of supervised practical labs (2 labs of 1.5 hours)
15 hours of tutorials
Keywordsbiotechnology,bioengineering,synthetic biology,biodesign,biomimetic,design,biology
Course organiserDr Naomi Nakayama
Course secretaryMrs Jennifer Morris
Tel: (0131 6)50 5513
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