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MSc Renewable Energy and Clean Technology with Extended Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Techniques for Research and Industry

Unit code EEEN60357
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Available as a free choice unit? No


Brief Description of the Unit:

This unit will provide training to postgraduate students on research methods, product or service development and market research. The unit will include lectures, team work, private study, individual project reports and a final team presentation.

Week 1 – Lectures and Online Activities (20 hours inclusive of private study)

The following material will be delivered:

  1. Project Planning (1-2 hour lecture): Setting out clear aims & objectives, motivation, experimental methods, data gathering & analysis; sources of error; Gantt charts.
  2. Information Sources (1 hour online activity): Identifying sources of information for literature reviews, assessments of state of the art, Primary and secondary sources, Referencing.
  3. Case Studies (2 hour lecture): Case studies of projects taken from concept to production including hardware and software based systems used in electrical power systems, power conversion, energy generation, energy distribution, planning new resources, and conserving energy.
  4. Intellectual Property (1 hour lecture): The ways in which knowledge can be protected and the benefits of differing approaches to protection.
  5. Business Planning (1 hour lecture): Development of a business plan; cost/benefit analysis; risk analysis.
  6. Health and Safety In The Workplace (1 hour lecture + 1 hour online activity): Hazards & risks; how to carry out a risk assessment;  COSHH; review of specific issues relating to electrical safety.
  7. Academic Malpractice & Professional Ethics (1 hour lecture + 1 hour online activity): Standards of conduct expected of a Professional Engineer; specific requirements of the University of Manchester.
  8. Report Writing (1 hour online activity): Structure of reports, papers and presentations.

Team work (50 hours)

Students will work in groups of three to four and will review the state of the art in a specific technology area (such as energy storage, HVDC, fault current limiters, load modelling, solar thermal systems, hydro-power, wind farm design and bio-fuel / bio-energy). Where possible, this review will be carried out in an area that is relevant to the final dissertation project and will, in all cases, have relevance to the taught units of the EPSE, PEMD and REaCT MSc. The students’ review will include:

  • A description of the importance of the technology in the wider system within which it is used
  • A technical and commercial review of the current products / services available in the marketplace
  • An analysis of the current research that is likely to deliver benefit to the technology area
  • The development of a plan to transfer the outputs of identified research into a commercial offer

Following completion of this review, the students will produce a 20 minute presentation covering the key points described above. All team members will be expected to participate.

Individual reporting (80 hours)

Each student will be required to submit a 5-page report written as a ‘Technology Brief’ being produced for a Senior Company Executive. This will detail the ideas and plans formulated in the team work meetings. For maximum marks, the technology brief must be presented in a logical manner with the use of appropriate referencing. It should be written in lucid grammatical English. The report will be marked by a single academic. 


The programme unit aims to:

  1. Provide an introduction to methods used in research and development including project definition, reviewing of relevant literature, business plan development and intellectual property.
  2. Develop an increased awareness of Health and Safety and engineering ethics.
  3. Develop skills in reviewing diverse sources of information relating to a specific technology area and analysing how specific research will lead to advances in that technology.
  4. Enhance student skills allowing movement beyond fundamental analysis towards independent working


Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the manner in which research gives benefit in engineering, product development and commercialisation.

Intellectual skills: Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a specific technology area and the current leading edge research that is likely to lead to future technology change.

Practical skills: Understand the challenges and requirements associated with commercialisation, licencing and business development.

Transferable skills and personal qualities: Perform literature searching; scientific report writing; use of graphing and presentation packages; project planning; team work; use of the Blackboard system discussion forum.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 70%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 140

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Foster Unit coordinator
BRUCE GRIEVE Unit coordinator

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