In addition to their traditional research and teaching roles, Lancaster University are increasingly investing in knowledge transfer and supporting businesses through contract and collaborative research, consultancy, incubation, access to facilities and work based learning. We have a key role to play both in developing technology and core science relevant to the Biomedical sector and in transferring this to industry helping Biomedical businesses to innovate.
So, with funding from the NWDA (North West Regional Development Agency) we embarked on a project to design a development programme to meet the needs of anyone in the Biomedical workforce who is able to benefit from postgraduate level study. This included graduates or non-graduates with appropriate experience, including those who had developed with the business; but had no or few formal educational qualifications. We also wanted to give credit for individuals' prior learning and experience, also taking account of courses previously undertaken, including in-company training.
A steering group including representation from sector employers, Bionow and Cogent informed the process and the outcome was a range of short courses in both scientific/technical subject areas as well as more generic ones such as team-working skills, leadership and management. The courses can be taken independently or count as building blocks towards a postgraduate qualification (Certificate, Diploma, Masters Degree). In addition to scientific projects, students are able to undertake work-based projects, for example evaluating an aspect of the business or coming up with new ideas for working practices. So, rather than a prescribed postgraduate programme with a fixed set syllabus, we can offer you choices about which courses to take to build up your qualification.
We developed courses that are:
"Although a majority of science degree graduates come out of University with an adequate academic grounding, from an employer perspective, most lack the industry mindset and related skills which are necessary in the 'real life' workplace. The broad mix of focused bioscience and business management modules offered by this course provides the extra essential knowledge and understanding that may otherwise take several years to gain exposure to; professionally delivered in an accessible and accelerated format."
Dr Caroline Sudworth, Science and Higher Education Development Manager, Cogent