MIBTP recognises the need for skills training, cohort development and professional internships. Therefore, all students will start their degree with a programme of interactive training from experts in both theoretical and experimental approaches to bioscience.
Training Year (Year 1)
The first year of the programme is run with an emphasis on skills training, and includes an Interactive Training Term at Warwick and two Mini-Projects: one to be undertaken at your home university and another at a partner university of your choice. These provide new skills, experience, and knowledge in both wet and dry environments across disciplines.
In Term 1, quantitative skills modules are run by academics from the School of Life Sciences, with the help of Warwick Statistics and Warwick Computer Science. These courses equip all students with practical quantitative skills to use in their PhD across four distinct modules:
- Computer Programming: to provide you with basic knowledge of the programming language R and give you the skills and tools to be less dependent on existing software.
- Statistics: to introduce you to statistical methods you will meet frequently in the biosciences, and provide you with tools to apply them yourself in R.
- Data Science: to introduce you to the core principles of machine learning and artificial intelligence, allowing you to explore how these can be exploited in bioscience.
- Data Analysis: to allow you to apply your new programming skills to specific problems in bioinformatics and epidemiology.
Students will also have free time each week for independent study. The computer programming and statistics modules are assessed by written tests. The Data Science and Applied Analysis modules are assessed by coursework.
Through a series of interactive workshops delivered by University of Leicester staff and external communication experts, students will gain the skills and confidence required for effective Science Communication, such as 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.
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 is run by Aston University.
All students will choose two cross-disciplinary mini-projects to provide both wet and dry experiences; a mini-thesis at an “away” university (one of the partner universities you are not registered to), and a poster project at their home institution. CASE students will undertake their poster project at the same time as the other students, but this will be either in the first term of their PhD or their industrial placement. In each project you will work full-time as part of the research group while working on your individual project for 3 months at a time. Mini-projects often influence a student’s view of their chosen PhD, and we encourage using the mini-projects to learn new skills for your PhD research and to explore new areas of interest.
A series of bespoke Masterclasses are run by academics from all five of our partner universities that allow our students to develop bespoke skill sets tailored to their own research interests over one to three-day training sessions and will be available throughout the doctoral programme. These can be wet or dry modules, many of which are technology driven, meaning 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.
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. Most students prefer to undertake the PIPs during their first year, which we recommend; however, the timing of this is flexible and can be undertaken during the rest of the PhD although due to the workload we recommend strongly completing before the final year.
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 webpageLink opens in a new window including PIPS student case studiesLink opens in a new window.
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.
Following their first terms with a focus on interactive training of academic skills, students will start their PhD with their chosen supervisor at their home university. However, training and support for students is provided throughout the programme in many varied ways.
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, and an annual all cohort Student Symposium.
Organised by the University of Birmingham at their centre in the Lake District, this weeklong residential is focussed on team building and cohort collaboration. Following a range of very varied events and challenges, groups will need to work together to provide a presentation to the MIBTP academics after the week is complete.
Post-Graduate Enterprise Summer School
The Post-Graduate Enterprise Summer School residential event is run by the University of Birmingham to allow MIBTP students to develop key transferrable skills over the course of a week. 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.
Annual MIBTP Student Symposium
MIBTP PhD student-led conference serves as an annual multifaceted platform that benefits participants through networking, skill development, research dissemination, and community building. It plays a pivotal role in fostering a vibrant and dynamic research ecosystem while providing unique opportunities for personal and professional growth.
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.
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.
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. MIBTP also encourage students to set up conferences in their own areas helping develop networking and project management skills.
Plans are reviewed annually with an MIBTP Director.
Research Skills Training
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.
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.
Further training and transferable skills will be offered and vary by university and department, but examples include team-building, entrepreneurship workshops, communications, and academic writing.