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Training Programme

MIBTP recognises the need for skills training, cohort development and professional internships. Therefore, all students will start their degree with a programme of hands-on training from experts in both theoretical and experimental approaches to bioscience.

Quantitative skills modules in Term 1: Academics from the Warwick Zeeman Institute; Warwick Statistics and Warwick Computer Science will equip all students with practical quantitative skills across three modules.

  • In the first module, Quantifying Life, students will learn statistics and programming in R. Statistical skills are essential for any life scientist; programming is becoming more and more crucial across a range of sectors, and programming ability will be a key attribute of MIBTP graduates.
  • The second module, Data Science, will provide our students with machine learning skills and knowledge of artificial intelligence, with the intention that they should be able to apply their skills directly in their own research. Data Science builds on the programming and statistical knowledge our students gained in Quantifying Life. Data Science will be delivered by a combination of Warwick scientists and guest lecturers. The latter guest lecturers will introduce our students to the wide range of biosciences applications for artificial intelligence.
  • The third module is Applied Analysis. In this module, students will practise the quantitative skills they have learned so far, and gain additional problem-specific skills, by analysing large datasets and manipulating epidemiological models.

Enterprise: Students will develop key transferrable skills through attending the MIBTP Enterprise school, based on the successful University of Birmingham Post-Graduate Enterprise Summer School. Training focuses on addressing an industry related issue (set via our Non-academic partners) and includes elements of value proposition, business modelling, creative problem solving, finance, presentation and pitching skills.

Responsible research and innovation: Students will explore the RRI toolkit and examine Citizen Science, Open Access, Public Engagement, Publication Ethics, Equality and Diversity and Gender Equality in research and innovation. Students will also be given the opportunity to consider research questions in partnership with a range of stakeholders, and face some of the key practical and ethical issues that arise. This training will take place at Aston University.

Communication: This module will help students gain the skills and confidence required for effective Science Communication. Through a series of interactive workshops, delivered by University of Leicester staff and external communication experts, students will learn effective communication methods, media interview training and the art of public engagement. On the final day of the workshop, we will task students with giving a public talk at the University of Leicester Arts Centre Café or preparing a podcast for distribution on the internet.

A series of bespoke Masterclasses: Masterclasses are one to three-day training sessions that allow our students to develop bespoke skill sets tailored to their own research interests. Wet or dry modules, many of which are technology driven, will be provided by each partner institution. Masterclass will be available throughout the doctoral programme. This means that students can integrate specific skills training into their PhD research, once they have recognised a need for that training based on their developing project under the guidance of the Advisory Panel and the Supervisory Team.

Relevant mini-project experience in distinct training environments: For MIBTP students, two mini-projects will be chosen in different disciplines and partner universities. In each you will work full-time as part of the research group for 3 months. CASE students will undertake one mini-project at an away partner university. Mini-projects often influence a student’s view of their chosen PhD. You may use the mini-projects to learn skills for your PhD research, or to explore a new area of interest.

Assessment will be varied - seminars, group presentations, posters, laboratory reports, essays, writing and refereeing grants/papers. There is an emphasis on the ability to communicate across disciplines. Feedback is encouraged for each module to ensure that the training meets student expectations and delivers the skills intended. The Management Team will consider all feedback promptly in order to continually improve the student experience.

Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS):

MIBTP students are required to attend a 3 month placement in a host company of their choice (we also have a list of potential hosts for the student to choose from). The internship will be taken outside of the lab in destinations such as policy making, media, IP management, teaching and industry. The majority of students prefer to undertake the PIPs during training year; however, the timing of this is flexible and can be undertaken during the PhD.
CASE students will undertake their professional placement with their industrial collaborator; this can be undertaken in one longer placement or in a number of smaller placements and must total a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 18 months.

Further information can be found on the PIPS webpage including PIPS student case studies.

In Years 2 - 4:

Research Skills Training During the PhD Project:

All students will continue to receive research skills training during their projects as directed by their individual needs. Student travel will be supported for external courses, summer schools, etc as appropriate. Attendance at the MIBTP cohort workshops will be mandatory.

Compulsory cohort events:

Events will be arranged each year of your PhD to support you in every stage of your journey and to foster cohort collaboration. These events include a 5 day residential workshop in the Lake District, commercialisation training with Warwick Ventures, career planning and interview skills, in vivo skills training, ethics and plagiarism training, focus on PIPS and an annual all cohort Student Symposium.

Personal Development Plans (Development Needs Analysis)

All MIBTP students will use online or local provision to review their own skills and draw up personal plans for skill development. This will cover both specific skills (project-based) and generic professional career skills. The plans will be reviewed with an MIBTP Director annually.

Thematic Training:

As supplemental training, MIBTP students have the option of attending MSc modules from other courses taught at our partner institutions. Students can discuss their requirements with their supervisor and advisory panel, MIBTP directors and the directors of the course in which they wish to participate.

Industry Mentoring:

MIBTP has a group of professional Advisors from relevant, linked industries who sit on the Management Board. These Advisors will be asked to act as MIBTP career mentors and be available for career path guidance.

Careers Focus:

A major annual event is the University of Leicester careers fair, an annual career-focussed training event at which industrial representatives will be invited to mix with MIBTP students and talk about their career paths and working experiences.

Annual Conference:

All students will attend the annual MIBTP conference, presenting their own research, helping with organisation and contributing to discussion forums (recent topics include research ethics, writing and reviewing research grants, managing budgets, patent/IP management, ‘principles’ of public life, careers).

Transferable Skills training:

MIBTP will complete a programme of transferable skills training, combining over 3 years to win the student a Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills for Scientists (or equivalent). This combines compulsory elements with options to allow students to personalise their training. Some transferable skills will be included as part of MIBTP cohort activities such as team-building and entrepreneurship workshops.

OPTIONAL ELEMENTS:

As identified in the Personal Development Plans (Development Needs Analysis), students will personalise their training by selecting skills modules from any of the Centres for Student Development and Enterprise. Many courses are science-specific but others are general and provide opportunities for students to work with colleagues from across Academia. MIBTP will also encourage students to set up conferences in their own areas helping develop networking and project management skills.

Meeting Training Needs:
After the initial training year students will manage their training depending on their own research interests and needs. Much of this training will be provided on a one-to-one basis by supervisors and other members of the research group. Attendance at seminars and other discussion forums will be encouraged so that network interactions with a larger group of researchers will provide students with a much broader choice of research experience. Students are also encouraged (and supported financially) to attend external courses, summer schools, conferences and laboratory visits as appropriate.