The course will include:
- Two-week module on genomics, including lectures and practicals in molecular ecology
- Two-week module on biodiversity informatics, including lectures and practicals in GIS techniques (geographic information system)
- Two-week module in programming, introducing core concepts such as control flow and simulation, R and languages such as Perl and Python
- One-week module in statistics
- A series of workshops, seminars and guest lectures on research techniques and rapidly-changing fields
- One-week summer school on ‘Grand Challenges in Biodiversity Research’ (largely organised by the students as a retreat). This summer school will provide a relaxed set-up to run forums on current ‘hot’ topics, such as ‘biodiversity under climate change’, ‘ethics and genomics’, etc.
- Training in complementary skills, personal development and business
- One 36-week research project covering different research areas hosted by a laboratory within the Division of Ecology and Evolution, possibly in conjunction with a laboratory at an affiliated institution. The choice of the project will be student-led and the first eight weeks will provide ample time to choose a suitable host. Each project will be written up by the student in the format of a scientific publication. Although not compulsory, the expectation will be that the students will submit their reports for publication by the relevant peer-reviewed journals, e.g. Global Change Biology, Systematic Biology, Molecular Ecology, Genome Research as appropriate
The elements and components to be assessed will be weighted as follows:
- Coursework (25%)
- Mid-project report (15%)
- Mid-project presentation (10%)
- Final report (35%)
- Final viva (15%)
The research project therefore attracts a total of 75% of the overall mark for the degree.
The best 36-week research project will receive a £1,000 prize from Illumina.
This is followed by a single nine-month research project in the Division of Ecology and Evolution, which may be jointly hosted by one of our peer-institutes such as the:
- Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
- the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
- the Natural History Museum
Project opportunities include genetics, conservation, tropical and environmental biology; they will either be purely analytical or have strong field and/or laboratory components.
It will also provide you with a solid grounding in a range of professional and transferable skills and the opportunity to make a more informed decision on the area of research and specific PhD project you wish to pursue in the future.
It will be ideal training for those who wish to pursue a career in academic, government or non-governmental organisations engaged in research into biodiversity.