Triangle

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. Many of the modules can also be studied remotely, giving you the flexibility to study alongside other work commitments. 

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).

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 4-6 month industrial or business related project is a main feature of the course. You will receive support in arranging this. You will also undertake a 2-month group mini research project which can be done in the National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics/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 (including a group mini-project)
  • a 120 credit research dissertation 

The group mini-project (Autumn semester) will be based on characterising:

(i) an antibody related fragment

or

(ii) a vaccine related polysaccharide

The 120 credit research dissertation (Spring semester and Summer period) can be in one of the following general areas:

  • biopharma/healthcare
  • the business of biochemistry
  • biopharmaceutics and biotechnology
  • healthy foods
  • biomolecular archaeology
  • macromolecular biotechnology

It can be done in conjunction wholly or partly with industry, and it can involve an industrial placement. Placements in industry will be subject to meeting academic requirements. The project will be initiated in consultation with an industrial supervisor and the project officer before the start of the spring semester, so you can find the necessary background information about the project and company.

This module can also be done by distance learning and research in an approved laboratory.

The dissertation is done in two parts:

  1. review paper
  2. experimental research paper

You will also give a presentation of your research dissertation followed by a viva voce examination. To obtain the MRes, you are required to pass the taught modules and the research dissertation module. 

The majority of modules can also be studied remotely, meaning you can complete the MRes alongside other work commitments. The student scoring the top overall module score wins the Beckman-Coulter Prize. Students scoring a mark of 70% or above will receive the Wyatt-Technology UK Prize. 

Students starting in October will take 50 credits of compulsory modules and choose 10 credits of optional modules. The 120 credits of research will take place in the Spring semester and Summer period. 

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.

The research module can be in one of the following general areas:

  • biopharma/healthcare
  • the business of biochemistry
  • biopharmaceutics and biotechnology
  • healthy foods
  • biomolecular archaeology
  • macromolecular biotechnology

It can be done in conjunction wholly or partly with industry, and it can involve an industrial placement. The placement/project will be initiated in consultation with an industrial supervisor and the placement/project officer before the start of the Spring semester, so you can find the necessary background information about the project and company.

This module can also be done by distance learning and research in an approved laboratory. 

The dissertation is done in two parts:

  1. review paper
  2. experimental research paper

You will also have research tutorials, and give a presentation of your research followed by a viva voce examination.  

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 2023 entry.

QualificationMRes
Degree

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

QualificationMRes
Degree

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.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

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.

Applying

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

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.

Funding

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

Support

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

Careers

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
ProfSteveHarding
I’m Course Director of the MRes in Biomolecular Technology 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 industrially linked project. 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 7th in the UK for research power (2021), according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 22 September 2022. 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.