Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Current Trends in Life Science Innovation I (PGSP11330)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryIn the realm of information and communication technology (ICT), Moore's law describes the doubling of the number of transistors that can be placed on a standard integrated microchip. The law is really an inductive generalisation, but the context of science and technology innovation, the linearity of this projection is remarkable but is a consistent. Moore stated it in the 1970s on the basis of the preceding two decades, and it has held true for the last four decades.

Moore's law does not exist in biotechnology innovation, mostly because successive waves of biotechnology innovation do not displace previous versions with the same finality, as do innovations in the ICT world. Instead, the process of life science innovation tends to be more incremental and cumulative. Were there a Moore's law in bioscience and biotechnology, it would state that a doubling of depth and breadth in life science innovation is carried forward through successive generations of technology. That is, rather than a law of technological displacement, it is a law of cumulative complexity.

Students of the bioeconomy quickly realise that bioscience and biotechnology innovation has a quickly moving cutting edge, but it is suffused with past science and technology research, as well as attempts to develop and deliver products and services to the marketplace. As greater resources are put into the bioeconomy, it will only become more complex. A current understanding of the trends, trajectories, legacies and pitfalls associated with front running technology is crucial to understanding the evolution of the bioeconomy.

The specific aim of this course is to consolidate and impart insights about current trends in life science innovation. The chief objective of the course is to bring students up to date with current trends, to indicate how different branches of the life sciences relate to one another, and to discuss patterns of convergence and divergence in technological innovation.

The scope of the course is set in two related ways. The first is to identify the trends and trajectories that are current or expected that now shape the bioeconomy and are expected to shape it in the future. The second is to frame current trends in terms of the legacies and pitfalls associated various bioscience and biotechnology trajectories to convey an understanding of how trends are followed and watched, and how the empirical base for science and technology foresight are developed.

This course requires no prior knowledge of the area
Course description Week 2 (Sept 25) Synthetic biology and systems biology

To be Confirmed

Week 4 (Oct 9) Bioinformatics as the underpinning of bioscience

To be Confirmed

Week 6 (Oct 23) Genomics, genetics and big biology

To be Confirmed

Week 8 (Nov 6) Nanobiotechnology and the emergence of convergence

To be Confirmed

Week 10 (Nov 20) Industrial applications of biotechnology

To be Confirmed
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have comprehensive knowledge of the current trends in life science innovation, including, but not limited to: synthetic biology, systems biology, bioinformatics, genetics and genomics, nanobiotechnology, and industrial applications of biotechnology (eg. OLEDs - organic light emitting displays).
  2. Be able to deploy their knowledge in practical contexts to differentiate bioscience and biotechnology with long scientific pedigrees from those that are clearly at the leading, possibly even speculative, edge.
  3. Have the critical analysis skills to differentiate between bioscience and biotechnology for which there is a growing evidentiary base, versus those areas that are stagnant or waning, as a means to develop science and technology foresighting skills.
Reading List
The required readings are directly tied to each week's key objectives and learning outcomes. It is essential that they are read closely and all students will be expected to contribute to discussions around these readings. Additional readings are listed, where appropriate, to provide a broader overview of the topic and will be useful for further reflection and for the assessed coursework. All required readings will be made available on the course Learn or through the journal holdings of the University library. If there are any problems accessing the readings, please contact the course convenor.

The readings for this course are primarily at the discretion of the contributing guest lecturers, in consultation with the course convenor and the Programme Director. They are, however, expected to meet the twin criteria set out above - they must be current, and they must be generally representative of the special fields of bioscience research and biotechnology development. Representative journals could include the specialist journals within the Nature family, Science, Trends in Biotechnology, Annual Reviews of Genomics and Human Genetics, The Lancet, Quarterly Review of Biology, to name a few.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alessandro Rosiello
Tel: (0131 6)50 8246
Course secretaryMr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information