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SPG8016 : Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Science and Engineering

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Katie Wray
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To practice the process of ideation and opportunity development through forensic examination and testing of assumptions upon which business propositions are based. The module will use a scientific approach to the analysis of identifiable problems and will focus on refining and validating problems before moving forward. Once an opportunity has been evidenced, students will seek to propose a commercial or social model through which they can demonstrate potential viability.

This module will support students that wish to propose new ideas within an employment context (intrapreneurship) as well as to equip them with the foundation from which to jump off into widely available funding and support for well proven commercial propositions.

There are follow-on opportunities available through the University’s Start Up Programme in the Careers Service.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will include:
The problem-opportunity development process
Critiquing and constructing project and business propositions
Market research and the forensic examination of assumptions
Finding customers
Market analysis
Formulating a commercial opportunity; funding and finance
Intellectual Property
Minimum Viable Product Challenge
Commercialisation workshop
Marketing: clarifying your proposition
Marketing: communications
Sales and selling
Pitching and presenting opportunities
Group coaching meetings

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Pre-school study - see rationale below.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Written exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:0035:00Preparation for post school assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture401:0040:00Lectures are in block weeks
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion18:008:00Opportunity analysis and commercial awareness exercise as preparation for written exam.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Small group teaching is within block weeks
Guided Independent StudyProject work160:0060:00Authentic Market Research/ Opportunity profiling
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SPG8500Ideas for Business Enterprise for Postgraduates in Science, Agriculture & Engineering
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module invites students from across disciplines to ‘bring their individual skills and interests with them’ and combine personal experience, industrial knowledge and interest areas to facilitate ideation, innovation and problem solving. The module is active for the pre- mid- through post-school period and will require significant group and independent work outside of lectures. Tutorials enable academic staff to work one-to-one and coach groups forward.

40 hours of individual pre-school activity will include an introduction to problem identification; from which students will, in groups unpack to find an actionable aspect of the problem to present for assessment at the start of the first taught week. This actionable problem will become the stimulus for development throughout the rest of the module.

The mid-school period will draw on the taught material to undertake further exploration and research independently in order to unpack an opportunity within the problem of interest.
The second taught week will provide stimulus for group work in the morning sessions, and facilitated group work in the afternoon sessions.

The post-school period will use material from the second week to bring together research and insight into a commercial or opportunity proposal (final group assessment)
Students should be prepared to undertake real market research by communicating with potential users and stakeholders in their area of interest in order to draw primary research conclusions in support of a new commercial or social opportunity.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202M25N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M50Business proposal post school assignment. 6000 word guideline for group assessment. Based on 4-6 students per group.
Oral Examination1M25Presentation of actionable problem. 10mins +5mins questions.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Key skills of creativity, planning, organising, team working, personal enterprise, and communication will be utilised and developed; these will be assessed via the University’s tool for peer evaluation of group work contribution.

Assessment 1: Oral presentation of an ‘actionable-problem’ (25%)
Students will draw down from stimuli such as the UN SDGs to work backwards in identifying an actionable problem which, if solved will demonstrate progress within the challenge area. Spending time researching and presenting the actionable aspects of the problem is key before moving forward in pursuit of a realistic solution.

Assessment 2: Reflective written examination (25%)
Referred to as an ‘un-exam’, exam conditions will be used to ask students to reflect on a commercial awareness activity that they must have undertaken on the previous day in order to document what they have learned about moving an idea forward on a commercialisation journey.

Assessment 3: Opportunity Profile; Market Research Report (50%)
Drawing upon research work, skills and practice throughout the module, this group assessment will document a rationale for spending more time/money/effort on the development of an opportunity into a formal business plan. Rather than producing a business plan, this is a preliminary document which concludes what has been found, with evidence, which makes for a strong pre-business plan proposal.

Reading Lists