Biotechnology, also known as “biotech” is the study of the use of living organisms and systems for the development of products that promise to improve human life. Biotechnology impacts industries as diverse as food processing, pharmaceuticals, agricultural production, cosmetics and rearing animals.
A lucrative career option
In Scotland alone, there are now over 400 dedicated bioscience companies and this sector is growing rapidly, at around 30% per annum. Dundee is a major bioscience centre within the U.K. Studying biotechnology in the UK provides you with an opportunity to learn from experienced academic researchers.
Biotechnology as a bachelor's degree programme generally takes four years of full-time study. It teaches students basic scientific methods of research, takes them through scientific techniques such as manipulating genes, the functioning of the cell and ways to exploit it. The bachelor’s in biotechnology acts as a stepping stone to further studies in medical, veterinary, or dental studies. Students looking to enrol for a master’s in biotech must at least possess two years of full-time study and for a doctorate, they must have three more years of study.
The UK is leader when it comes to offering biotechnology programmes; its universities are well-reputed for excellence in research in this field. It offers a wide range of subjects in the fields of genetics, oncology, immunology, forensic science, cell biology, molecular biology, biosciences, molecular biology, bioinformatics, regenerative medicine, and many more.
The United States is renowned as the science world’s largest research base that has government support for its ongoing biotech development and research processes. The country maintains a competitive front for the industry and its development and commercialization. Having taken of in the 1970s, it is a fast growing industry in the US with spending around $ 22 billion for R&D in the field.
Singapore, being the education hub of Asia, also offers numerous options in this field. Browse our site to have a look at MDIS’s biotechnology course listed with us from Singapore. You can also have a look at the numerous kinds of biotechnology courses offered by Monash University from Malaysia, such as programs specialising in Recombinant DNA Technology, Genetics of Development, and many more.
Australia has strengths in biotech related research in the medical, agricultural and environmental fields. Australia’s Government strongly supports the growth and development of biotechnology industry.
About the course
A course in Biotechnology generally aims to produce scientists who will be able to contribute to a range of career opportunities including academic, commercial, industrial and healthcare applications of biotechnology.
The course is made up mostly of laboratory work, computer applications and research. On a typical morning you might be analysing DNA on a gel and in the afternoon using a fomenter to produce commercial products. One day you might be learning about how microbes can clean up pollution and on another day you get to visit a company that researches new anti-cancer drugs. Students gain a wide range of laboratory-based skills and techniques, which both provide the practical basis for their studies and provide a useful portfolio of employable skills. These skills, plus associated research experience gained in the final year project, will enable you to establish yourself in medical, industrial and research laboratories.
Most programmes offered by UK universities are based around a set of core modules and a research project that provide experience in key areas of biotechnology:
- Research Methods: Communication Skills
- Introductory Molecular Biology
- Stem Cell Biology
- Tissue Engineering
- Fermentation / Bioreactors
- Cell Culture
- Protein Engineering & Production
- Enzyme Technology
- Research Project
- Biotechnology and Management
- Environmental Biotechnology
- Food Biotechnology
- Pharmaceutical science
The BSc / MSc in Biotechnology provides a firm basis for pursuing a career in any aspect of science involving biotechnology. This could involve the food, pharmaceutical or environmental sectors, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, Nanobiotechnology, use of microbes, DNA vaccines, production of new materials using new ideas, new drug-delivery systems, organ transplantation, rational drug design, nutraceuticals, plant-based drugs, enzyme engineering and technology, stem cell techniques, and tissue culture. Biotechnologists can find employment in a wide range of industries like food processing, breweries and pharmaceuticals. The MSc degree is an acceptable qualification for applying for a PhD.
Universities in the UK
Some of the leading universities in the UK which offer accredited courses in biotechnology are:
- Aston University
- University of Bristol
- University of East London
- University of Aberdeen
- University of Glasgow
- Queens Mary, University of London
- University of Newcastle
- University of Nottingham
- University of Warwick
- University of Leeds
- Imperial College London
- University of Manchester
- Lancaster University
- University of Sheffield
- University of Cambridge
As the global population grows, scientists look to biotechnologists for solutions to various problems like adequate food, infant mortality and sustainable agriculture. Biotechnologists tap into the resources available now to improve the quality of life.