The Biotechnology MSc within the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) provides you with key skills, specialist knowledge and essential training for a career in industrial or academic bioscience. Increasingly, biotechnology companies are recruiting Master’s students with specialised skills to perform jobs previously the reserve of Doctorate level scientists. At the end of the course you will be able to meet the challenges of biotechnology, demonstrate critical thinking and solve problems, exploit opportunities, and know how ideas can be turned into viable businesses or a successful grant application.
Why study Biotechnology at IBERS?
You want specialist experience and knowledge in biotechnology research and commercial application to give you a competitive edge in the job market and underpin your successful career. IBERS has the credentials to deliver these goals.
With 360 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students IBERS is the largest Institute within Aberystwyth University. Our excellence in teaching was recognised by outstanding scores in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (2016), with three courses recording 100% student satisfaction and a further 10 scoring above the national average. The latest employability data shows that 92% of IBERS graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University. The most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) displayed that 78% of our research as world-leading or internationally excellent, 97% of our research is internationally recognised, and 76% judged as world-leading in terms of research impact.
IBERS is internationally-recognised for research excellence and works to provide solutions to global challenges such as food security, sustainable bioenergy, and the impacts of climate change. IBERS hosts 2 National bioscience facilities: The National Plant Phenomics Centre –a state of the art automated plant growth facility that allows the high throughput evaluation of growth and morphology in defined environments, and the BEACON Centre of Excellence for Biorefining - a £20 million partnership between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities set up to help Welsh businesses develop new ways of converting biomass feedstocks and waste streams into products for the pharmaceutical, chemicals, fuel and cosmetic industries.
IBERS has a track record of working with academic and industrial partners to develop and translate innovative bioscience research into solutions that help mitigate the impacts of climate change, animal and plant disease, and deliver renewable energy and food and water security.
Course structure and content
In the first 2 semesters the course focuses on 2 key areas of biotechnology: industrial fermentation (manufacturing processes, feedstock pretreatment, fermentation, and the biorefining of low cost feedstocks to high value products) and plant biotechnology (synthetic biology, gene editing, precision genome modification, transformation technologies, up and down gene regulation and silencing, and gene stacking). In addition you will receive practical training in state of the art molecular and analytical bioscience techniques and technologies, and learn of marine, food and health biotechnology, and how the sustainable use of bio-resources and bioscience can help meet the needs of the growing human population. All course modules are delivered by academics and professional practitioners at the forefront of activity in the field.
In the final semester you will work on your own research project with your dissertation supervisor. This could be a project of your own design and will focus on an aspect of biotechnology that you found particularly interesting; it may even be something that you want to develop as a business idea in the future. During your dissertation project you will use the knowledge and the skills that you gained during the first 2 semesters. Your dissertation project will give you an opportunity to become an expert in your topic and to develop research skills that will prepare you for your future career in biotechnology. Your tutor will mentor you in hypothesis driven experimental design, train you in analytical techniques e.g. gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, vibrational spectroscopy, fermentation, product isolation, biomass processing, analysis of complex experimental data, and the formation of robust conclusions. You will also be guided in writing your dissertation.
- Bioconversion and Biorefining - Frontiers in Biosciences - Research Methods in the Biosciences - Current Topics in Biotechnology - Crop Biotechnology - Biotechnology for Business - Dissertation
There is great demand nationally and internationally for skilled graduates in Biotechnology, indeed the UK Biotechnology and Biological research Council (BBSRC) have made ‘Bioenergy and Biotechnology’ a strategic priority for science funding. The sector is expanding rapidly and provides excellent employment opportunities for biotechnology graduates. A recent report for the British research councils estimated that in the financial year 2013/14, British industrial biotechnology and bioenergy activities involved around 225 companies and generated £2.9billion of sales. The biotechnology industry makes a significant contribution to the United Kingdom’s net exports, equivalent to £1.5 billion and offsetting 4% of the country’s total trade deficit. In this year alone, biotechnology attracted £922 million in investment (4.6% of investment in the UK by the private sector). In the same year the biotechnology industry employed approximately 8,800 jobs in the UK in jobs ranging from scientists, technicians and analytical staff, and an extimated 11,000 additional jobs in UK suppliers and support industries - see http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/capital-economics-biotech-britain-july-2015/. These figures are typical of international trends and students graduating from the Biotechnology MSc at IBERS will be very well placed to follow a career in the Biotechnology sector.