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BMS3003 : Business Enterprise for the Bioscientist

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Carys Watts
  • Lecturer: Professor Mark Birch-Machin, Dr Matthew Wilcox, Dr Richard Hetherington
  • Other Staff: Ms Laura Gunay
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


•       To introduce students to enterprise and entrepreneurship in relation to biomedical and pharmaceutical industries.

•       To examine and compare small and start up enterprises, including University spin outs alongside large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

•       To introduce aspects of finance, intellectual property rights, business law, market research and intelligence for business development.

•       To enable opportunity spotting in biosciences/health problems

•       To utilise bioscience knowledge to solve bioscience problems.

•       To develop student’s enterprise awareness, teamwork skills and abilities with emphasis on employability skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will include:

•       Comparing innovation through university spin-outs, Small-Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and large pharma and biotech

•       Identifying bioscience or healthcare problems, or areas for improvement, and generating solutions/improvements

•       Business feasibility planning including resilience, and recognition of failure as a tool for learning

•       Team working, divergent thinking and creativity (active learning)

•       Financing the initial research into an early-stage idea

•       Market research and marketing (experiential learning)

•       Legal issues: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), regulatory concerns, and business type/structure

•       Social, political and ethical considerations – SWOT and PESTEL; risk and reward

•       Enterprise development and innovative problem solving.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials40:302:00Non-sync online – discussion boards and responses to business bites ReCaps
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion111:0011:00Personal research for pitch & business plan proposal
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Business enterprise topics including guest speakers - PiP
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities101:0010:00Pre-reading and tasks, research and post-session consolidation of sources.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:004:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Team crowdfunding presentation pitches - PiP
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Team research and preparation meetings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Expert surgery (team drop-ins) - PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Drop-in Q&A sessions (groups book 15-minute slots within the sessions) - PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study451:0045:00Private study over course of module.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module brings together bioscience knowledge and awareness and applies this in the context of theoretical commercialisation. Seminar style interactive sessions will enable applied enterprise skills development.

Pre-entry exercises or tasks, and reading prior to taught sessions provides context and deeper understanding. Exposure to industry specialists, entrepreneurs, business sector specialists and alumni provides a real-world grounding for the module tasks and assessments. Crucially the concept of fail-fast, learn and respond better is embedded to encourage divergent thinking and experiential learning (the formative pitch compounds this ethos).

Students must use initiative and organisational skills to enable an applied understanding of business process and innovation. The drop-in surgery sessions allow teams to iterate and investigate their ideas in greater depth and consider aspects of their bioscience problem with sector expert coaches. Expert surgery sessions allow students practice in pitch technique whilst gaining valuable impartial formative feedback on their ideas.

Collaboration as a team enables greater gathering of resources and breadth of discussion, whilst practicing teamworking and negotiation. Discussion boards and supporting business bites ReCap sessions support the independent learning.

Additional digital resources, exercises and activities enable students to develop their business strategy and practice teamwork, negotiation, problem solving, decision making and presentation skills whilst also receiving constructive feedback from facilitators.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M100Business plan report (individual, 1500 words, max 7 sides A4) based on team idea but developed following pitch feedback
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MCrowdfunding style team pitch; pre-recorded - team pitches (10 min max). Module facilitators and peers watch pitch recordings and give feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students work in teams to recognise a bioscience/health problem and to develop a solution using enterprise skills and business awareness. The online drop-in surgery sessions allow formative feedback on the idea through facilitator/expert discussion and feedback. Assignments provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate enterprise abilities, subject specific knowledge and key skills. The formative team pitch allows qualitative feedback which is then used by individuals to inform and develop their individual business plan proposal. The module builds on learn together, support each other with no risk of marks; only summatively and at the end of the module do students progress individually and demonstrate their commitment to learning and reflection thought their individual plans.

Allowing the students to pre-record their pitches enables them to articulate what they know and understand, rather than just remember. By making the format similar to a crowdfunding pitch this suits the video element. The ability to rehearse and listen back to recordings allows students more confidence and freedom to express their ideas. The recording is played back to a peer audience for constructive feedback upon the idea and pitch. Module facilitators also provide feedback and ask questions about their pitch; which will aid students in developing their idea independently for the business plan proposal.

The written business plan proposal will allow students to independently demonstrate their adaptability following the feedback, and to articulate their enterprise abilities, subject specific knowledge and commercial awareness.

Reading Lists