NES8003 : Consultancy Project Planning

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is for the student to design and plan an investigative consultancy project for a client identified by the project supervisor and student. The student will develop their project plan from a list of project areas and potential clients provided by the School of Natural and environmental Sciences that will enable them to undertake a consultancy-style project where the student can show their research, analytical, interpretive, critical analysis and design skills in solving a specific problem or question of interest to the client. Some projects may be a group project whereby a team of students will work together on different aspects of a single problem. In these cases the students will work together to gather information but each report must be unique and be focused on the students’ own data. Information from other students may be used to inform the wider aspects of the study but must not be central to the student’s own work.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will develop their project appropriate to their degree programme and their interests from a list of project areas provided by SNES academics. The students will select 3 potential project areas before Christmas, in order of preference, and only one project area per supervisor. Academic supervisors will then be allocated to the students based on their project area selections and the number of projects that can be managed by the individual supervisors. Any students who are unable to receive one of their 3 choices will meet with the Module Leader (or deputy) to identify a suitable project and supervisor.

The students will produce a Project Inception Report (PIR) during semester 2 in consultation with their client and under supervision of their academic supervisor that will be the design specification for their project. In semester 3 (and earlier if needed and student workload allows) the student will undertake their planned consultancy project as part of the Consultancy Dissertation Project module.

The precise content and format of the PIR will vary depending on the specific project but must include: 1) Names and contact details of the student, supervisor, client and any other parties involved in the project; 2) a background literature review that provides the rationale and scientific background to the project; 3) overall aims and detailed objectives; 4) methods including sample sizes and methods justification; 4) resources required, including a fully costed budget and any support and services provided by other parties; 5) permits and permissions required and process for obtaining these (e.g. site access); 6) Health & Safety risk assessments and ethical assessments; 7) format and contents list of the Consultancy Project Report, including any appended deliverables and electronic supplementary information; 8) a timeline including milestones and interim reporting to client and supervisor.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Research on ethical, risk assessment and other permissions required to undertake the project
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation of the PIR
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work120:0020:00Interactions with client and supervisor
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00Background reading and literature review for a full understanding of material.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The students practise and develop their discipline-related skills and knowledge, and their generic skills, through literature review on the background and rationale to their consultancy project. They gain the skills and knowledge delivered by the module by “learning through doing” as they undertake the project planning, supported by a small number of lectures/seminars covering specific aspects such as ethical and risk assessment. They are supported by one or more academic supervisors who advise on experimental approach, methodology and project specification as detailed in the PIR.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M100Terms of Reference, project plan and design, risk assessment, ethical assessment and timeline. Approx 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The aim of the assessment is to test the student’s ability to design and plan a substantial independent consultancy project and produce a Project Inception Report to answer a specific question or questions of interest to the client.

Reading Lists