A NEW masters qualification in biotechnology has been launched by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.
The one year MSc Biotechnology will provide students with the key skills necessary to meet the challenges of biotechnology and train them in creative problem solving and strategic thinking.
Students will learn how to exploit opportunities and turn their ideas into a viable business or a successful grant application.
Biotechnology scheme and module coordinator Dr Gordon Allison says: “Biotechnology is a rapidly expanding sector providing employment opportunities for a wide range of biotechnology graduates. In the UK alone the industry employs 160,000 people and has annual revenues of £50 billion.”
“Our experience shows that biotechnology companies are increasingly recruiting Master’s students with specialized yet transferable job skills for positions previously the reserve of Doctorate students and this degree responds to the demands of industry”.
Students will get practical training in state of the art molecular and analytical bioscience techniques and technologies in Industrial Biotechnology (fermentation biotech) and Plant Biotechnology; two key areas of biotechnology.
The course also focuses on global issues such as marine, food and health biotechnology and how the sustainable use of bio-resources and bioscience can help meet the needs of the growing human population.
All course modules are delivered by academics and professional practitioners at the forefront of activity in the field.
Joe Freemantle, a recent graduate of MSc Biotechnology and Innovation Management, the predecessor to the current scheme, says: “I developed a wide range of practical lab skills, built industrial networks and since the conclusion of the scheme have had continued support from IBERS scientists. Six months since my course finished, I am the Chief Technology Officer and founder of a start-up company that is looking to develop novel solutions for the recycling of absorbent hygiene products and through my connection with Aberystwyth University have been featured on the BBC.
“Studying with and receiving support from IBERS, Aberystwyth University has definitely helped me to develop the capabilities required for a start-up venture .”
Dr Allison added: “There has never been a better time to choose biotechnology as a career. This MSc course provides students with vocational skills and specialist knowledge, giving them a valuable competitive edge in the job market and preparing them for a career in Biotechnology or in related research.”
Committee concerned at £12.7m error
A £12.7M alteration to the cost of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill has been described as concerning by a National Assembly for Wales committee.
In the original figures submitted alongside the Bill the Welsh Government identified savings of £4.8m over a period of four years if the Bill was passed.
But the estimates were challenged by children’s charity SNAP Cymru which claimed the Welsh Government had misinterpreted figures it had provided concerning disputes and resolution services. The Welsh Government admitted the error and revised the figures from the original saving to a cost of £7.9m – a difference of £12.7m.
The Finance Committee asked the Welsh Government to delay the financial resolution on the Bill, the mechanism by which government gains support to spend the money enacting the law and the government agreed.
“A £12.7m swing from a saving to a cost is very concerning, as it shows a government which doesn’t fully understand the figures it quotes,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.
“It also throws into doubt any future costs connected to Bills which come before this committee as we are left wondering whether the government has done its sums right.
“We are grateful to SNAP Cymru for highlighting the inaccuracies and acknowledge the steps taken by the Minister subsequently, but we will need further reassurance that such errors will not happen again.”
The Bill’s aim is to improve the quality of support available to children with additional learning needs through a person-centred approach which would identify needs early on and make sure the right support, monitoring and evaluation was put in place to help them.
The Finance Committee welcomed the actions taken by the Welsh Government to address the situation. But Members were concerned and surprised that inaccuracies as significant as this were raised and that SNAP Cymru was not consulted on the final figures before they were published.
The Committee acknowledges that revisions have since been made and the Minister’s assurances that the revised figures are robust, however, it is concerned at the need to have made this level of changes to the original costings.
Apply for six-month traineeship scheme
IF YOU’D like to earn as you learn hands-on skills to prepare you for a career in practical conservation or estate management, apply now for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme.
The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, will provide two six-month salaried apprenticeships with the National Park Authority’s Ranger and Warden Teams.
Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden said: “The successful candidates will be learning the skills and experience that are essential to be successful in obtaining employment within a highly competitive sector.
“The main duties of the placement will include practical hands-on work-based experience in conservation and estate management.”
The six month traineeship will see the successful applicants learn a wide variety of skills including traditional hedgelaying and modern conservation methods that are essential to the work of the National Park Authority.
This is an extension to the original three-year project which has helped many of the 15 previous trainees gain employment.
The closing date for applications is October 24 with interviews to be held on November 6.
Application packs are available from the National Park Authority’s website atwww.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/jobs or by contacting contact Joanne Morgan by calling 01646 624856 or by emailing email@example.com.
Poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live
ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERISTY scientist Dr Karen Siu-Ting discussed poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live last Thursday (Sept 28).
Dr Siu-Ting is an IRC ELEVATE-MSCA Co-fund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.
Her research into poison arrow frogs featured as part of ‘Ask a Biologist’, hosted by The Royal Society of Biology.
An evolutionary biologist from Peru, Dr Siu-Ting specialises in amphibians and combines field work in the Amazon rainforest with laboratory and computational analyses to address biological questions.
She is currently working on a project on poison arrow frogs between Aberystwyth University and Dublin City University.
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