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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

Postgraduate Course: Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology (STIS11004)

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
SummaryThis course provides the space and time to examine some of the philosophical, social and political issues surrounding the new and growing disciplines of systems and synthetic biology.
Course description Funding bodies are increasingly demanding that scientists consider the potential impact of their research, field media enquiries, take part in public engagement activities, work through patenting and regulatory issues connected to their research, and participate in interdisciplinary teams. This course will provide time and space to examine some of the philosophical, social and political issues surrounding the new and growing disciplines of systems and synthetic biology.

Students on the course should gain a broad understanding of key theories and methods in science and technology studies (STS) as applied to their own research interests in systems and synthetic biology, and should develop the skills and confidence to contribute productively to broader discussions of their research.
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
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Weekly reading responses(weeks 2-8), 30%
Final essay, 70%
Feedback Verbal feedback on the weekly reading responses every week, which an integral part of the class discussion.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the broad social and political context surrounding developments in the life sciences, and of the diversity of issues and approaches
  2. Identify and characterise the key methods, approaches and theories from science and technology studies (STS) as they apply to the study of systems and synthetic biology
  3. Critically evaluate the main social dimensions of systems and synthetic biology, and the contributions to academic and public debates on these issues
  4. Develop their skills in finding and using the resources available (theories, methods, techniques, sources of information, etc.) for pursuing these issu
  5. Apply these understandings and skills, and deploy these approaches, concepts and techniques in written assignments, discussions and presentations
Reading List
- Calvert, J and Frow, E (2013) ' Social dimensions of microbial synthetic biology' in Harwood, C and Wipat, A (eds) Methods in Microbiology, Vol. 40: Microbial Synthetic Biology Burlington: Academic Press, pp. 69-86.
- Frow, E.K. (2017) From experiments of concern to groups of concern: constructing and containing citizens in synthetic biology. Science, Technology & Human Values 45 (6): 1038-1064.
- O'Malley, M, Powell, A, Davies, J and Calvert, J (2008) Knowledge-making distinctions in synthetic biology. BioEssays 30 (1): 57-65
- Vermeulen, N. & Bain, M. (2014). Little Cell, Big Science. Issues in Science and Technology, Summer: 38-46
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Critical and analytical thinking - assessing and evaluating arguments
- Independent learning - increasing capacity for autonomous learning and development
- Communication and presentation of information - in diverse formats, with different objectives and to different audiences
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jane Calvert
Tel: (0131 6)50 2843
Course secretaryMrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456
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