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Research Grant Proposal

Module titleResearch Grant Proposal
Module codeBIOM527
Academic year2019/0
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module introduces you to the processes required for undertaking an independent, but supervised, research project at postgraduate level. Specifically, this module prepares you for your project by first supporting your own research into the background literature, allowing you to formulate hypotheses relating to your research project. You will then develop a research proposal, through which you will plan your MSci research project (BIOM518) identifying achievable aims and considering aspects such as experimental design, data handling and time management.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop your ability to identify and review the literature of relevance to your project area, develop a research question and decide which methods and approaches are needed. The current landscape for funding research projects in the UK and how to write a competitive research grant proposal will be examined. The practicalities of managing a research project, including time management and the collection and storing of data, will also be covered.

As part of this module you will further develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • Ability to navigate the biosciences research landscape
  • Identifying research priorities and defining a research question
  • Undertaking and interpreting systematic reviews
  • Designing research and managing a research project
  • Writing a research proposal

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically and independently assess the field in which your research project will be conducted
  • 2. Independently define a clear research hypothesis that can be tested within the research project
  • 3. Identify appropriate research methodologies, experimental design, data analysis, and time management plans

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse and critically evaluate essential facts and theory across a sub-discipline of the biosciences, and embed research-informed examples from the literature in written work
  • 5. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of the biosciences with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 6. Identify appropriate methodologies and theories for solving a range of problems in the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with convincing conclusions
  • 8. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using a variety of formats in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 9. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data and complete a range of research-like tasks with very limited guidance
  • 10. Evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Preliminary discussion groups will focus on current funding agencies in the UK, the types of funding available, and how to write a competitive research grant proposal. In addition, these groups will also focus on the challenges associated with managing a research project, including time management and the collection and storing of data. The development of the research proposal is then conducted in conjunction with the research supervisor, who will provide individual guidance through regular discussion meetings.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4General introductory guidance on development of a project proposal
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Development of the project proposal in conjunction with a research supervisor, who will provide individual guidance through discussion meetings
Guided independent study134Independent study , including directed reading, literature research, investigating potential experimental designs and proposal writing


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer questions during meetings with the project supervisorOngoing throughout the moduleAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project proposal1004000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Project proposalProject proposalAllAugust assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to resubmit your project proposal. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

As agreed between you and your project supervisors. Reference will be made to the most recent articles and reports in the field and will focus on the primary literature.

Also of use when planning and writing the proposal will be:

  • Ruxton, G.D. and Colegrave, N. (2006) Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. OUP. ISBN 01992 52327
  • Barass, R (2002) Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers and Students

Key words search

Independent research, data analysis, experimental design, literature review, data collection, project management, time management, research methodologies, critical evaluation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

BIOM518 Research Project

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date