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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Industrial Biotechnology and its Governance (PGSP11394)

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
SummaryThe overall aim of this interdisciplinary course is to instil in students a critical awareness and in-depth understanding of the principles, practice and key concepts relevant to industrial biotechnology, its areas of application and its governance. Students will mainly have a science and engineering background but the course requires no prior knowledge of the area.
The following objectives will contribute to this aim:
1. To demonstrate to students the range of potential areas of application of industrial biotechnology, and the technological and organisational challenges involved in taking a development from concept to a market.
2. To explain the concept of a business model and of a value chain and to show how these concepts can support management decision making in industrial biotechnology, across the range of different areas of application.
3. To enable students to understand how the practice and management of industrial biotechnology is influenced by government policies, risk regulation, and stakeholder-related issues and how research and innovation can be conducted responsibly in universities and companies.
Drawing on the University of Edinburgh Innogen Institute¿s leading research in these areas, and using illustrative case studies, students will be introduced to a range of empirical evidence and case study material through which to understand and examine systemic issues around the development of industrial biotechnology, particularly in the context of developments in synthetic biology. We will include guest lectures from experts in policy and industry communities, delivered face-to-face or using pre-recorded video material.
Course description WEEK TOPIC
1 Introduction to the bio-economy and the role of industrial biotechnology (IB):
the global bio-economy, origins of the concept and recent developments; scope and global and regional drivers of industrial biotechnology; trends in industry and products; case studies of current high visibility industrial biotechnology products; future outlook
2 New synthetic enabling science and technology: general introduction to the range of new core technologies, including synthetic biology, enzyme technologies, metabolic engineering, innovative manufacturing approaches; the impact of these techniques on industrial chemical and biotechnology production processes; manufacturing challenges still to be resolved and possible solutions; potential economic/financial impact for companies and regions. Supported by a series of short videos from senior managers in Scottish industrial biotechnology companies.
3 Innovation models for industrial biotechnology: impact of new biotechnology techniques on company innovation models and value chains; IP and open source issues as they affect IB; new open innovation and collaborative models; innovative financing and investment models; small and large company interactions; new market opportunities. Including a presentation from a venture capitalist.
4 Government policies and regulation and their impact on innovation in IB: regional innovation policies and their potential impact on IB development; product and process based regulation (Europe and the rest of the world); UN Convention on Biological Diversity and its associated Protocols (Cartagena and Nagoya); contained use and deliberate release regulation in the UK. Including a presentation by a regulatory expert.
5 Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI): taking account of stakeholder issues and concerns; stakeholder engagement and its role in responsible innovation; ethical issues relevant to IB; biosecurity issues and how to deal with them; potential impact of EU RRI policies on IB; whether, when and how to influence government policy.
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. 1. Extensive knowledge and critical awareness of current issues arising in the practice of industrial biotechnology and of the role of industrial biotechnology in the global bio-economy.
  2. 2. In-depth understanding of interactions between innovation and governance issues in industrial biotechnology and the ability to use these insights to develop creative responses to complex problems and issues.
  3. 3. Ability to critically evaluate numerical and graphical data related to the practice of industrial biotechnology.
  4. 4. Ability to Identify and deal effectively with the ethical and professional challenges related to responsible innovation in industrial biotechnology.
Reading List
Health and Safety Executive (2000) Guide to the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations. HSE Books,
Kolympiris, C., Kalaitzandonakes, N., & Miller, D. (2011). Spatial collocation and venture capital in the US biotechnology industry. Research Policy, 40(9), 1188-1199.
OECD (2011) Future prospects for industrial biotechnology. OECD Publishing.
Owen, R., Stilgoe, J., Macnaghten, P., Gorman, M., Fisher, E., and Guston, D. (2013). In eds. R. Owen and J. Bessant, Responsible Innovation. John wiley & Sons Ltd., 27-50.
Paddon, C.J. and Keasling, J.D. (2014) Semi-synthetic artemisinin: a model for the use of synthetic biology in pharmaceutical development. Nature Reviews Microbiologoy, May 2014, 355-67.
Tait, J. (2007) ¿Systemic Interactions in Life Science Innovation¿, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (3), pp. 257-277

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements This course will be delivered by a mix of face-to-face teaching and video link, making extensive use of video interviews with experts from industry and policy communities. The course will consist of five two-hour lectures along with background reading (guidance notes for the lecture, copies of slides, and directed reading), equating to 10 hours of contact time, and 90 hours (approx.) of self-directed learning (readings, assignment work etc) averaged across the course. The course is now likely to be delivered entirely at Edinburgh University, as the students on the programme will be taking a course in Practical Systems Biology at King¿s Buildings. We therefore expect to run this course at King¿s Buildings either before or after the Practical Systems Biology course. The course will therefore be available to all Edinburgh students.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Joyce Tait
Tel: (0131 6)50 9174
Course secretaryMr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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