BIOTECH 7008 - Applied Biotechnology Research and Design

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course is designed to provide students with the broad range of skills required for a career in biotechnology. Students will learn how to plan, execute, and analyse laboratory experiments as a group to solve real-world research problems. Through this process they will develop understanding and experience in current laboratory technologies used in biomedical science. Students will uncover novel insights into important biotechnology questions, developing the skills to communicate their results to a scientific audience via a range of means including presentations, vivas and a formal written report. Students will cultivate a range of professional employability skills such as managing meetings, documenting plans and outcomes, data management, and multimedia communication - important skills for biotechnology research and industry, and readily transferable to other professional employment contexts. The importance of teamwork in professional environments is emphasised and students given tools to improve and monitor group dynamics, including an awareness of emotional intelligence, and decision-making skills.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOTECH 7008
    Course Applied Biotechnology Research and Design
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 12
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites Graduate Diploma of Biotechnology or successful completion of first year course-work of Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical)
    Corequisites EDUC 7055
    Incompatible BIOTECH 7020A/B
    Restrictions Available to Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical) only
    Assessment Group Written Assignment, Written Assignment, Group Presentation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kate Wegener

    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 will be able to:

    1. Recognise and explain basic research methodologies used in biomedical science research.

    2. Identify, interpret, and analyse experimental data in the scientific literature in the field of biomedical science.

    3. Plan, execute, and analyse laboratory experiments in a group environment to address specified project goals.

    4. Discuss principles of biotechnology using appropriate language and terminology.

    5. Recognise the importance of teamwork in a professional environment and demonstrate effective teamwork skills to analyse and solve practical problems.

    6. Apply research appropriate methodologies for the collection, storage and analysis of data and maintaining records.
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is a 12-unit semester long research project, for students in their second year of the Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical) Program. Students will use all of the skills and theory that they have learned from their first year courses, to work in groups of 3-6 (dependent on numbers) to solve real-world research problems. 

    Students will start with the scenario that they are working for a contract research organisation (CRO), who is paid by a client to carry out a discrete research project. Students will work on the project as a group throughout the semester, designing experiments that will achieve the project goals, carrying them out in the laboratory, analysing/collating the results, and presenting results and recommendations to the client.

    Assignments set for the student throughout the semester are designed to provide scaffolding and support for the successful completion of the research project, culminating in production of the final report (25%) and oral defence (10%). Students will be given guidance on how to successfully complete their assignments and tasks, through the discussion of exemplars, use of guided templates, and interactive workshops on specific topics of relevance (e.g. assignment discussions, how to carry out a literature search, assistance with the use of specific software, successfully working in groups etc).

    Students will be supported to work safely and successfully in the laboratory through teaching staff supervision. Staff will be available to demonstrate correct technique and assist in troubleshooting (as well as developing student troubleshooting skills). Workshops will be used to increase understanding of practical techniques and their theory and develop problem-solving strategies for complex biotechnological problems.

    Formal group meetings will be utilised to assist students with managing their group project and keeping on track. Students will attend a workshop on how to successfully conduct meetings, why formal meetings are useful for both their project and later in their career, and the specific meeting roles of Chair and Secretary. Templates will be provided for meetings (i.e. agenda template, minutes template, checklists etc), and teaching staff will be available for additional guidance and to assist in resolving problems, or guiding students to resolve them themselves.


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

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

    Contact Hours (239 hours)
    Practicals 30 x 6.5 = 195 hours
    Workshops 22 x 2 = 44 hours

    Non-contact Hours (110 hours)
    Weekly reading/other study hours 10 x 2 = 20 hours
    Planning for laboratory work 11 x 3 = 33 hours
    Preparation for research updates 11 x 2 = 22 hours
    Meeting reflections 11 x 1 = 11 hours
    Preparation for meetings (additional) 11 x 1 = 11 hours

    Assessment tasks (142 hours):
    Electronic Laboratory Notebook  30 x 1.5 = 45 hours
    Meeting documentation 4 x 1 = 4 hours
    Project summary 1 x 35 = 35 hours
    Preparation for presentation 18 hours
    Preparation of final report 24 hours
    Preparation for oral defence (viva) 16 hours

    Total = approximately 478 hours across the semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Learning Activities in this course include:

    • Critical analysis of the scientific literature
    • Experimental design and goal setting
    • Hands-on laboratory skills
    • Written and oral communication skills
    • Strategies for working successfully in groups
    • How to conduct effective and professional meetings
  • 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

    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting (%) Learning Outcomes
    Group written assignment (Project Summary) Formative and Summative 10 1,2,4,5
    Written Assignment (Meeting Documentation) Formative and Summative 25 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Group Presentation and slides Formative and Summative 20 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Electronic Lab Notebook Formative and Summative 10 1,3,4,6
    Written Assignment (Final Report) Summative 25 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Individual Oral defence (Viva) Summative 10 1,2,3,4
    Assessment Detail
    Group Written Assignment - Project summary (10%)
    In groups of 3-6 students, you will produce a written document (1000-1500 words) that provides a summary of your assigned research project. You will include a brief review of the background literature to your assigned project, your project goals, and an outline of the experimental plan for achieving these goals. Due at the end of Week 2.

    Written Assignment - Meeting Documentation (25% overall)
    Groups will conduct weekly formal project planning and update meetings, with rotating meeting chair and secretary roles. Individual assessment of group meetings consists of four parts:

    Part 1 Meeting Roles (5%) - Students will submit agenda and accepted minutes from two group meetings from weeks 1-6 (templates provided).

    Part 2 Planning (10%) - Students submit one of their weekly planning documents from weeks 3-5 for formal grading and feedback.

    Part 3 Research Updates (5%) - Students select one of their research updates documents from weeks 3-6 for formal grading and feedback.

    Part 4 Group Work Reflection (5%) - Each week, students will be asked to reflect on how well their group worked together. Students will submit reflections from Week 2 and Week 10 (reflections limited to 150 words each), and comment on how the way the group functions together has changed over time (150 words). Due in Week 10.

    Group Presentation (Weighting 20%): Groups will present a mid-project research update to the class and academic teaching staff. Assessment will be in two parts:

    Part 1 Slides and script (5%) - Students will be assessed as a group on draft slides and script submitted at the start of week 7.

    Part 2 Presentation (15%) – Students will present their mid-project update as a group at the end of week 7. Part of this assessment will be based on how well students incorporate their feedback from Part 1.

    Electronic Lab Notebook (Weighting 10%): Students will plan, execute, and analyse weekly lab-based experiments, and record the details in their LabArchives electronic notebooks as they go. Notebooks will be signed-off by peers in weekly research update meetings, and notebooks must be up-to-date for lab work to continue. Notebooks will be assessed at the end of Week 11.

    Written Assignment – Final Report (Weighting 25%): Students will individually produce a final written report presenting the group's collated research findings, following the format of introduction, aims, methods, results, and discussion. This document will incorporate the group project summary developed in weeks 1-2, that has been updated individually in response to feedback. It will also combine the group’s results, shared in the weekly research update meetings. Due at the end of Week 12.

    Oral defence – Viva (Weighting 10%): Students will be interviewed as a group by academic staff in Week 13. Each student will be questioned both on their individual contributions, as well as their understanding of the project as a whole. Student knowledge of wider scientific issues relevant to the research project will also be examined. Students are given the opportunity to draw the examiners’ attention to any issues or problems associated with their work.
    Late Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply.

    A penalty of 5% 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.

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