Research overview

Focusing upon technical knowledge and practical skills, this MRes is ideal for:

  • students who want to pursue research in industrially relevant areas of biochemistry, such as biopharma/healthcare, healthy foods, bioarchaeology, business/entrepreneurship and other related areas
  • those currently working in industry wishing to obtain a masters qualification while working in a company’s own laboratories

The effective roll out of vaccines against Covid is the result of effective macromolecular design monitored by accurate measurement.

This programme is taught in conjunction with leading biopharma/healthcare and food companies such as:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Arecor
  • Sanofi
  • GSK
  • Upperton Laboratories
  • Britvic
  • Institutes such as the National Institute for Biological Standards and the Viking Ship Museum (Oslo).

For 2022, projects are currently available in the following areas:

  • Biopharma and Healthcare
  • Industrial Biochemistry
  • Food Chemistry
  • Macromolecular Biotechnology
  • Biomolecular Conservation in Archaeology
  • Business Aspects of Biomolecular Technology

The 4-month industrial or business placement is a main feature of the course. You will receive support in arranging this. You will also undertake a 2-month mini research project which can be done in the NCMH/Biomaterials Laboratories.

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Course content

The award of MRes requires 180 credits for completion. The course consists of:

  • 60 credits of assessed taught modules
  • supplemented by research tutorials and 120 credits of assessed research project work

For the first part of the research, you'll do a group mini-project in the NCMH or Biomaterials Laboratories based on characterising:

(i) an antibody related fragment
(ii) a vaccine related polysaccharide

The 4-month industrial or business-related research project then follows. This may involve an industry placement, or may be based at the University. Placements in industry will be subject to meeting academic requirements. Please bear in mind that industry placements are subject to UK Covid-19 Government guidelines.

You then submit a report or dissertation on your research. The MRes finishes with presentations followed by a viva with the external examiner.

Students starting in September will take 50 credits of compulsory modules and choose 10 credits of optional modules. Your mini-project will be between February-March and your main 4-month research project will be between April-August.

Core modules

Gain a firm understanding of the basic chemistry behind the properties of biomolecules - properties which underpin their behaviour in vivo - and their technology, and some of the techniques used to characterise their size. You will learn about biomolecular structure, properties and function relevant to industry or in a biomedical environment.

The aim of this module is to familiarise and gain experience with laboratory-based techniques employed in the biomaterial, pharma and food industries. For each technique, the physical principle will be presented alongside with key practical methods and case studies of techniques’ applications to characterise material, molecular and physical properties.

In addition the course covers a number of professional skills associated with experimental work.

This module will provide practical experience in basic laboratory techniques including microbiological methods (media preparation, sterile technique, growth measurement etc), basic biochemical methods (buffer preparation and centrifugation) and molecular biological techniques (preparation and analysis of DNA). Practical work will be supported by lectures to provide an understanding of the basis of the techniques, the limitations of the methods and the appropriate methods of analysis.

You will learn how knowledge of carbohydrate, or “glycan”, based biotechnology can be applied to solve problems in an industrial and biomedical setting. This includes polysaccharides, glycoconjugates and other related macromolecular drug delivery systems, "Smart" hydrogel and encapsulation and controlled release technologies, and therapeutic polysaccharides.

Examples will include mucoadhesive systems (you will also learn about mucin glycoproteins and their importance in health and disease), glycan fibre for healthy gut, glycoconjugate vaccines (against bacteria and Covid-19), industrial processing aspects and the role of glycans in herbal medicines. Also, the use of techniques like DLS and viscometry and other patent approved technologies to monitor their molecular integrity and properties.

This module will provide you with an understanding of how antibody biotechnology can be applied to solve problems in an industrial and biomedical context. It will cover the following: antibody structure and function, monoclonal antibodies, IgE and its receptors, the immunoglobulin system, the structure of immunoglobulins and their complexes with antigen, solution structure and properties of antibodies, and other related topics.

There will be Research Tutorials followed by a Group mini project in the NCMH Laboratories. You will then complete a 4 month research project, either based at the University or via an industry placement.

Optional modules

Choose 10 credits from:

This module aims to provide you with the skills, knowledge and practical experience required to respond to the challenges involved in managing, commercialising and marketing technological innovation and new business development.

This module is designed to provide a forum to overview and discuss current developments in genetics. You will contribute in workshops covering aspects of modern genetics, human genetics, evolution and population genetics with case studies. You will also receive training in key skills in bioinformatics.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.


2:1 BSc/BA (Hons) (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters; other qualifications may also be accepted


2:1 BSc/BA (Hons) (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters; other qualifications may also be accepted

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element). If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


For details and how to apply please contact Prof. Steve Harding. MRes students in all these areas can apply to continue on for a PhD.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£4,625
InternationalYou will pay either £28,000 or £33,250 per year, depending on the nature of your project. We will assess the appropriate fee amount on receipt of your project proposal, and confirm it in your offer letter. Please contact the school for advice on the fee applicable to your area of research at

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books and journals you’ll need through our libraries.

If you do an industrial placement, you may need to consider the travel and living costs associated with this.


There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


The school believes that formal training and guidance are critical components of the postgraduate experience and have developed specific and generic training which are available for all postgraduates.

Project-related training is provided by the supervisors (including the industrial supervisor) and other staff within the school. You will have frequent contact with your supervisor, often on a weekly or even daily basis, and there is a formal requirement for at least 10 recorded meetings per year.

Teaching is typically delivered by professors, associate and assistant professors. Some practical laboratory sessions and research projects may be supported by postdoctoral research fellows.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Where you will learn

Biomolecular Technology

The National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics is based within the School of Biosciences.

Specialist facilities include:

  • Analytical Ultracentrifugation
  • Dynamic Light Scattering and SEC-MALS
  • Viscosity and Rheology
  • Protein and carbohydrate biochemistry
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Fluorescence
  • NMR facilities with links to X-ray and neutron methods and other facilities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Harwell and the Institut Laue Langevin at Grenoble


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Career destinations have included biochemists, lecturers, medical scientists and scientific researchers. Companies and organisations our graduates have gone on to work for include:

  • Pfizer
  • AstraZeneca
  • GSK Vaccines
  • UCB Celltech
  • Sanofi
  • Upperton Laboratories
  • Lonza-Biologics
  • Mars Masterfoods
  • Harvard University

88.5% of postgraduates from the School of Biosciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,711.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

I’m Course Director of the MRes IPB and with colleagues at the NCMH, School of Biosciences, and the Business School, we’ve put together a course providing teaching and research training relevant to the needs of modern biopharma, food and healthcare. My own expertise is in developing FDA approved technologies for biomolecular characterisation. I have a long-standing collaboration with GSK Vaccines helping them develop vaccines against H. influenzae and N. meningitides, and am former Chair of the RSC Biotechnology Group. An outstanding feature of this course is the industrial placement, having done one myself, I know how rewarding these can be.
Steve Harding, Professor of Applied Biochemistry

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • Our research environment was awarded 100% for agriculture, veterinary and food science
  • The school is ranked the number 2 research environment in the UK for agriculture, veterinary and food science
  • 97% of our work in the Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science was judged to be of international quality
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 11 November 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.