BSc Biotechnology with Industrial/Professional Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Life Sciences Enterprise Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL31080
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Life Sciences Enterprise Project is a collaboration between the School of Biological Sciences and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre. Working in a team of 5-7 you will invent a Biotech company, develop its business plan and pitch for investments or a partner in a ‘Dragons’ den’ style event.


Provide students with an authentic and professionalising experience where they will:
•    Examine the processes involved in recognising the potential of university-based research in the Life Sciences to solve commercially valuable problems in the marketplace
•    Gain a deeper understanding of one research area of the Life Sciences
•    Gain awareness of the current industrial landscape in the area of the project worldwide.
•    Develop the competencies needed to recognise, develop and exploit a business opportunity
•    Use a framework to map out and develop a strategic plan to implement and transfer to market an innovative product/service. 
•    Research, produce and present a business case for exploiting a scientific idea within a commercial setting at several stages and in different forms:  business proposal, strategic business analysis, business plan and business pitch.
•    Develop a broad range of transferable skills required to effectively carry out, as a team working online or F2F, a real life project with many deliverables using a Problem Based Learning approach: e.g. team working, project management, digital literacy, research, analysis, creative problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, negotiation, networking, communication [oral and written].
•    Analyse and reflect on the processes of team working, managing a project and other skills development to support self-development and team development. 
•    Articulate and evidence skills development to support employability.

Learning outcomes

• Generate, evaluate and shape ideas • Critically evaluate information in order to improve decision making, formulate objectives, determine strategies and plan actions • Identify the resources needed to establish and sustain a successful venture • Assess the commercial potential of a business opportunity • Evaluate the issues that can impact on the successful commercialisation of a business idea • Demonstrate an understanding of how basic science can be commercialised • Communicate the value of a business opportunity Construct an effective business plan • Use technology to source information, work collaboratively, create and curate content, and for project management. • Research, analyse, evaluate and utilise information from a variety of sources • Develop, structure and communicate ideas effectively • Develop and utilise creative problem-solving skills • Plan and prioritise workload to work effectively alone or in a team • Reflect on individual and team performance as a basis for personal and team development, project management, and for future employment. • Effective team project management using weekly detailed action plans and minutes communicated to team and staff. • Use reflection to anticipate and solve problems in team, if problem is too big: be proactive in seeking support from staff in a timely fashion. • Develop useful networks


Projects are worth 40 credits. In semester 5, students work individually towards their business proposal poster and attend a series of compulsory classes to support its development (32 hours of training: 14 hrs of business workshops, 14 hrs of soft skills workshops, 4 hrs of tutorial with supervisor). Students will present the bioscience behind their business idea to their supervisor and receive feedback on their draft poster. Students will submit the poster to be marked and attend a Q&A session in Week 1 of semester 6. In semester 6, Week 1 is dedicated to projects starting with the poster presentation. Students then choose one project to work on as a team for semester 6. There are 6 hrs of business workshops to support the semester 2 assessments, and weekly meetings (2 a week: with and without the supervisor) to develop their business analysis report (consultancy client presentation), business plan and business pitch. Through the year, students also complete a reflective portfolio (5 entries) focusing on their individual and team development. At the end, they evidence what they have learnt from the course in a reflective piece or a job application.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
To develop their product/service into a commercial venture, students will have to constantly solve problems, critically evaluate the information gathered, and make team decisions.
Group/team working
Students will be divided into teams of 5-7 and work together over one semester towards regular deadlines. They will establish their own action plan to manage the project.
Students will have the opportunity to come up with innovative solutions to real world problems. They will use creatively to solve problems and in their communications.
Students will have the opportunity to chair meetings in turn in semester 1 and a team leader will be elected in semester 2.
Project management
A project manager will be elected in semester 2. Teams will use software tools of choice and are required to follow basic processes: action plan, task allocation, meetings with agenda & minutes, sharing and co- creation of documents, monitoring performance and quality of work weekly.
Oral communication
There are three formal presentations: business proposal (poster), consultancy client presentation and business pitch (team presentations). Informal presentation of research and progress are due weekly within team and for supervisors.
Science: All students must research the scientific background behind their given topic and decide on a potential commercial application (semester 1). Once the service/product is decided, one or two students will undertake the product development section which requires very applied and technical research. Business/regulatory: All students will carry out a preliminary feasibility study for their commercial application (semester 1). Once a concept is chosen, students will need to establish the regulatory paths, business model, value proposition, competition, market, operations…
Written communication
Business proposal poster and business plan.
Due to the nature of the course, students have ample opportunities to develop many transferable skills (business awareness, organisation skills, resourcefulness etc.) and this development is supported via reflective logs.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Project output (not diss/n) 50%

Individual work (50%):

FORMATIVE: business idea presentation + poster draft
Poster on business proposal + QA= 20% (end of Semester 1 and QA start of semester 2)
Reflective portfolio = 10% (ongoing)
Project performance mark = 10% (ongoing)

Teamwork (50%):

FORMATIVE: Business concept, consultancy proposal. 
Consultancy client presentation = 20% (week 7)
Business plan = 30% (end of Semester 2)
Business pitch = 10% (end of Semester 2)


Feedback methods

Feedback is provided through supervisor interaction throughout and during all assessments.

Recommended reading

  • Shreefal S. Mehta (2008) Commercializing Successful Biomedical Technologies: Basic Principles for the Development of Drugs, Diagnostics and Devices. Cambridge University Press
  • Yali Friedman (2004) Building Biotechnology: Starting, Managing, And Understanding Biotechnology Companies. Thinkbiotech

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 55
Independent study hours
Independent study 345

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Henery Unit coordinator
Maggy Fostier Unit coordinator

Additional notes

•    120 hrs for semester 5 and week 1 of semester 2 (dedicated to project work)
o    34 hrs in classes
o    4 hrs with supervisors
o    80 hrs preparation for classes, poster, ongoing reflective portfolio

•    280 hrs for semester 6 – teamwork for weeks 1-11 (11 weeks) in semester 6
o    6 hrs in classes and 11 hrs with supervisors (1hr a week/person)
o    ~20 hrs /week/per person to work on all semester 6 milestones and assignments


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