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Becoming a Bioscientist: Grand Challenges - BIO00026C

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Tim Doheny-Adams
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Becoming a Bioscientist: Grand Challenges is the second of four sequential modules that allow students to develop the necessary skills to be a successful, competent graduate level bioscientist. The module will allow students to practice the collection of data in experiments that they have some control over designing and will allow the teaching and development of data analysis skills, professional skills (e.g. report writing and problem solving ) and personal development (e.g. team work) that are part of the wider remit of the year 1 skills training programme

The module is taught through practicals, workshops, tutorials, lectures and independent- study that are integrated together.

The module is assessed by a report and R script based on practicals that students design and execute in the second part of the semester; a presentation based on the Grand Challenge that students explore in the context of Tutorials; completion of York Strengths and a basic test of laboratory competency.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module follows on from the Becoming a Bioscientist module in Semester 1 and provides students a chance to consolidate and further develop the key skills needed to become a successful bioscientist. Specifically it will allow students to

1. Practice and develop both core and subject specific laboratory techniques that are needed in within their bioscience specialisation
2. Develop more advanced data collection, analysis and interpretation skills including the use of appropriate statistical analysis techniques.
3. Consider some of the “Grand Challenges” in the world today and how these can be addressed using different aspects of bioscience.
4. Consolidate and practice the professional skills associated with being a bioscientist including the presentation of scientific information (including report writing, reviewing literature and giving presentations), ethical and safety considerations.
5. Consider their own personal development as an individual by reflecting on their strengths, how to apply these skills and strengths in different settings and how to articulate them to others.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Extend practical competence to further core laboratory techniques and apply these in combination to unfamiliar experimental scenarios.

Think creatively to address a Grand Challenge by designing investigations with testable hypotheses and rigorous controls.

Describe the ethical principles that are used to govern biological research and how researchers deal with ethical issues

Appropriately select classical univariate statistical tests and some non-parametric equivalents to a given scenario and recognise when these are not suitable

Use R to perform these analyses, reproducibly, on data in a variety of formats and present the results graphically"

Communicate research in scientific reports and via oral presentation.

Describe and reflect on your strengths.

Work with others to conduct and communicate scientific research.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 30
Report and R script based on practicals
N/A 70

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 30
Report and R script based on practicals
N/A 70

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.