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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology



Science and technology, business and transitionary modules are taught in the first two terms, integrating commercial know-how with advances in research and demonstrating the many complex issues associated with bringing discovery and innovation from the laboratory to the market. The programme is highly participatory and includes numerous practical elements in the form of interdisciplinary projects, workshops, case studies and business planning activities.

Students will undertake both a consulting project and a research placement in a commercial environment, normally with a company.

The MBE class is taught as an undivided cohort. There are no elective components and all students follow the same syllabus. The class offers a professional practice experience and a high level of participation is expected.

All lectures and course components are mandatory. The taught aspects of the programme occupy two intensive terms of up to 11 weeks and the third term is dedicated to the research placement in a commercial environment and dissertation. Please note that the MBE term times thus may differ from the standard University term times.

The Department is renowned for its practical and successful approach to biotechnology entrepreneurship and the exploitation of bioscience inventions. Students benefit from a unique combination of teaching and mentoring from experienced business and academic contributors. The faculty pursue a variety of research interests and the application of the resulting technologies has led to the founding of many spin-out companies. Our innovative achievements and strong Master's teaching were recognised by the Queen's Anniversary Award (2007).

Science and Technology

Broad-ranging science and technology reviews are designed to extend the students' understanding of how contemporary biological and applied medical research generates exploitable science. Each module provides detailed analysis of current research and industrial practise, illustrated by company case studies that highlight the management, legal, ethical and regulatory issues associated with bringing scientific advances to market.

The current modules due to be delivered for 2022-23 are:

ST1 Biopharmaceutical Discovery

ST2 Biopharmaceutical Development

ST3 Trends in Biotechnology

ST4 Diagnostics and Devices

ST5 Agricultural Biotechnology


The business management elements of the programme provide a foundation in the management of technology and innovation, illustrated with examples from the extremes of working in a large corporate environment to setting up a new enterprise. Also addressed are intellectual property rights, patenting, professional codes of practice and the establishment of appropriate economic, legal and social frameworks, which are key issues to consider during the development of new bioscience products.

The current modules due to be delivered for 2022-23 are:

B1 Technology and Innovation Management

B2 Healthcare economics

B3 Law and intellectual property


Designed to bridge between the programme's broad-based academic review of exploitable science and the specialist business modules, transitionary modules deliver the knowledge and skills required for the formation and management of biotechnology and healthcare related businesses. There is particular focus on how business strategies and management principles are expressed in existing companies and on hands-on training in analytical skills.

The current modules due to be delivered for 2022-23 are:

T1 Building a Bioscience Enterprise

T2 Partnerships and Alliances

T3 Finance and Valuation

T4 Bioscience Enterprise in Practice


During the third term of their studies MBE students spend the majority of their time working in a company placement, carrying out research with a commercial or business dimension. Normally students spend six to eight weeks working closely with their host company. They are encouraged to put into practice the lessons learnt from the academic aspects of the programme as well as to demonstrate original research and analysis.

It is important that the project addressed relates to the field of ‘bioscience enterprise’, addresses a defined research question and affords students the opportunity to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The subsequent analysis forms the basis of a substantial dissertation and the findings are also presented at a Symposium held at the end of the year, as well as in the form of conclusions and recommendations for the host company.  The output should show evidence of originality and innovative thinking and should not be simply a review and extrapolation of previously published work.

Students may elect to work within medium to small enterprises, or start-ups or multinational companies. In some cases students may decide to engage with service providers such as consultancies, accounting or legal practices or other businesses that comprise the extensive network of specialist advisors that support the life science sector. The programme receives offers of a considerable number of placements each year and guidance is provided to students, to ensure individuals are able to pursue a projects likely to be of value to them in their future careers. Students are also encouraged to arrange their own research placements, providing the project and supervision arrangements are appropriate and are approved by the MBE Office.