BIOTECH 7007 - Biotechnology in Practice

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

Students will identify new product opportunities which are applicable to the University, in particular their School, with an emphasis on biomedical consumables. The students, as part of a group, will form a virtual company, and develop a product development plan, including a production schedule, projected costings as well as good laboratory practice (GLP), quality assurance (QA), & quality control (QC) procedures. The successful product development plan will be implemented as part of the course objectives. This course will enable students to develop skills relevant to the biotechnology industry by enhancing their understanding of the processes involved in the commercialisation of scientific research. The steps involved in taking a product from the research laboratory to the market will be illustrated by case studies, focusing on intellectual property rights and infringement (freedom to operate), regulatory requirements and market competition, as well as practical experience in developing a commercially acceptable product. Course participants include staff from a number of University departments, intellectual property lawyers, and contributors from industry and government bodies.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOTECH 7007
    Course Biotechnology in Practice
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 11 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge Relevant undergraduate degree in Biology or Biotechnology, which include subjects in Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology and/or Genetics. Previous laboratory experience in an undergraduate degree is desirable but not essential.
    Restrictions Available to Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology (Biomedical), Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology (Biomedical), Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical) students only
    Assessment Workshop question sheets, tutorial presentation and practical
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Antonio Focareta

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

    1.Understand and provide examples of commercial biotechnology related research and development.
    2. Understand the nature of intellectual property, the importance and limitations of patents, the patenting process, patent infringement (freedom to operate), and IP management.
    3. Understand the issues and processes involved in regulating genetically manipulated organisms and new pharmaceuticals.
    4. Understand the essential information, skills and stages involved in the commercialisation of biotechnology research, including the principles of good laboratory practice (GMP), quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA), and apply these skills to the in-house production of a product identified for development.
    5. Demonstrate an ability to collect, research and integrate information from different sources and present in both written and oral forms as a research and development plan, individually and r collaboratively as part of a team.
    6. Understand and critically evaluate published literature.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Workshops are a series of interactive presentations, whereby articles provided in advance to students are discussed (flip classroom), with an emphasis on critical concepts and specific terminologies.  The workshops will also include question sheets for assessment.

    The workshops will allow students to experience the decision making processes a biotechnology company makes when delivering a new product to market (legal, production and costs).

    Students are also required as part of their core course requirements to complete TECHCOMM 5016 Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which will complement the objectives of this subject.

    Tutorials will require students to present as a group (groups of 2 or 3 depending on class size) a business proposal for a specific product.  The tutorials rely on the workshop component material to enable the students to deliver a business plan, including the business model, revenue generation, competition, production costs, and freedom to operate.

    Each tutorial session will be followed by discussion on the merits and perceived disadvantages of each business plan.  The
    “best” proposal chosen by students and staff will progress on to further development as part of the practical component of this course.  A distribution model limited to the School of Biological Sciences will form part of the final business model used, i.e. the
    product will be available to research groups and teaching classes.

    Practicals will form part of the teaching component in the second half of the course.  This component relies on the selection
    process of a suitable product and the formulation of a comprehensive business plan.  The final two workshops will be scheduled for this time (second half of the semester), to allow for this planning process.

    The practical component is responsible for the small scale production of the “product”.  Laboratory skills, time management, GLP, QA and QC all form a major part of this teaching mode.  Students will learn the first hand the practicalities of laboratory based production of a commodity in the biotechnology sector, and reinforce the concepts covered in the workshops.  For example, the difference and importance of the process orientated QA measures and product orientated QC procedures (testing) will be highlighted, and the necessity of GLP to produce a reliable and consistent product. Record keeping procedures in line with major accreditation agencies (such as NATA) will also form a major part of the whole process.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies
    required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Workshops – A total of 8 workshops; each session 3 hours in length.

    Topics covered include: Quality management (QA, QC, GLP) Workshop 1, intellectual property (patents), and developing
    a business plan.  The final two workshops will focus on processes for selection of a product, bringing the product to market, laboratory small scale production, storage & viability, and distribution.  Case studies will be used to illustrate these concepts.

    Topics covered include; quality management (QA, QC, GLP), intellectual property (patents), and developing a business plan.  The final two workshops will focus on processes for selection of product, bringing the product to market, laboratory small scale production, storage & viability, and distribution.  Case studies will be used to illustrate these concepts.

    All workshops require prescribed reading prior to each session. The teaching activity comes from the interactive learning mode, whereby students will also be asked to participate in key decision making steps.  Every second workshop will include a set of questions specific to the topic discussed, to be answered in small groups, within the allocated session.  This will reinforce the critical concepts covered and assess their understanding.

    Tutorials – A total of 8 tutorials, each session 2 hours in length.

    Topics covered are directly related to the workshop content.  Each tutorial session will be comprised of students (as part of a small group of 3), presenting a predetermined topic, i.e. quality management, intellectual property, and small scale laboratory production vs large scale commercial production (6 tutorials).  Each student group will be given a starting reference for their topic.

    The students will contribute to the learning environment by presenting their specific topics as part of a group, followed by question time.  The staff member will act as a moderator, and ensure crucial areas have been presented and adequately addressed. Each tutorial session will conclude with a number of key decisions made on each topic, which relate to the final product choice.  Due to the complexity of the quality management and intellectual property topics, each will be covered as part of two tutorials.

    The final two tutorials will focus on a business plan/business model for the selected product, as determined by previous workshops and tutorials.

    Practicals - There are a total of 8 practicals, each session 6 hours in length.

    The first two practicals will focus on general laboratory skills and safety. This will also include the principles of quality control and quality assurance, with practical examples designed to demonstrate these principles.

    For example, the use of competent bacterial cells is a common procedure in research laboratories, and these are often bought commercially as frozen cells.  The quality assurance and quality control aspect of this type of product can be demonstrated by varying storage conditions of a series of competent cells and testing transformation efficiency.  Full documentation of processes (e.g. strain validation, growth conditions, media used, batch numbers) and testing procedures (e.g. transformation efficiency, contamination) in line with accreditation agency requirements (such as NATA), will also form part of the quality management protocols.

    The remaining 6 practical sessions will focus on preparation of the selected product for small scale manufacture in the laboratory.

    For example; if competent cells are used as the product.

    Practical sessions will include - choice of bacterial strain(s) for manufacture of competent cells (check for freedom to operate), verification of strain (genotyping by sequencing), optimisation of conditions for maximum transformation efficiency, achieving required standard (transformation efficiency),testing of storage conditions and maintenance of competence, product testing in selected research laboratories, evaluate feedback, release of final product.

    Specific Course Requirements
    Students are required to attend a 6 hour laboratory practical component each week throughout the semester, for a total of 12 weeks.  
    Students must attend at least 75%, i.e. 7 out of the 9 practical sessions. Attendance to each practical session is essential in achieving the main goals of this subject.  It is not possible to provide additional assessment to replace the laboratory and problem solving skills, team work & co-operation, that are part of the laboratory component of the subject.

    No additional practical times will be made available to students missing more than two practical sessions.

    One field trip to the Thebarton Hi-Tech Precinct (Business Incubator) is scheduled for an afternoon (approximately 4 hours).
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading



    or No
    Outcomes being assessed / achieved Approximate Timing of Assessment
    question sheets (x4)
    & Summative


    for each question sheet)
    No 1,2,3,4 Weeks 2,4,5,7
    Formative& Summative 20% No 1,2,3,4 Weeks
    2- 8 (depending on who is
    Reports (x2)
    Formative& Summative


    (25% for each report)
    No 1,2,3,4,5,6 Weeks
    8, 10
    Assessment Detail
    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching

    Workshop Question Sheets (total of 30%):

    Students will complete a total of 4 On-line question sheets with the format of questions changed slightly to include problem solving questions. Students will have had prescribed reading prior to each session. Topics are designed to determine the level of understanding and reinforce critical concepts relevant to the subject matter.  The start of each subsequent workshop will be used for formative feedback and addressing any shortcomings in understanding.

    Tutorial Presentation (20%):

    Groups comprising of 2 or 3 students (depending on class numbers) will be given a topic, with material which will follow on from the workshop themes.  The group will be required to present an overview of the area, and include a case study to illustrate their main points (15 minutes per student, plus a final 15 minutes question for the group, i.e. 60 minutes in total for a group of 3). The relevance of the case study to a number of selected biotechnology based products will also be presented, with audience participation used to evaluate the most promising area for further development.  The tutorial sessions will be used to determine the biotechnology related product that will be the focus of the practical component.  Two academic staff members will be present for these sessions to provide guidance in discussions and assess the presentations.

    Practicals(total of 50% for lab reports):

    The first practical report will focus on the quality management aspects of the process, including appropriate methods and techniques.  The report will also include data from laboratory experiments demonstrating these principles, along with critical evaluation of the data.  The report summary should include recommendations for appropriate processes along with methods of recording them.

    The second practical report will focus on the research and development phase, including the research proposal, planning and time management, and product development. 

    Both reports have a 5,000 word limit, with the first report submitted as individual assignments, while the final report to be submitted as part of a group assignment. All students within a group will receive the same grade for the final assignment.

    A format guide will be provided to students (groups) for both reports, as a marking guide, as well as rubrics detailing key
    assessment criteria.

    The main objective of the lab reports is for students to learn how to operate in a manner similar to a commercial biotechnology company.
    For all Faculty courses except Level II and III SAVS courses

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.