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Biomedical Sciences - Research

Overview

The Master of Research Programme (MRes) offered by the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, provides a one year training in research suitable for those who wish to proceed to enrol for a PhD programme, but at the same time is a research degree recognised in its own right.

The overall educational aim of the MRes programme is to provide graduate students with knowledge and understanding of research methods, training in appropriate technical skills and scholarship skills, such as critical thinking and the capacity to write in the style of their discipline, along with advanced study in areas of their discipline. Importantly, students apply for and enrol to complete a specified research project, and the rest of the course is tailored to support conducting that research.

The function of this programme is to provide students with a range of research-related skills and the capacity to proceed to PhD programmes. Undergraduate programmes do not necessarily provide enough of these skills, and there is a national and an international trend towards requiring completion of a Master's degree prior to entry to PhD programmes.

Summary

The overall structure allows for several pathways in areas of Biomedical Sciences, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Psychology and other disciplines. This a research degree where initial training in discipline areas and research methods is followed by research project preparation and scholarship skills training, and then by completion of the research project and the dissertation. Students apply for and are accepted onto approved projects put forward by the pathway staff team. Inclusion of a project on the advertised list for an academic year indicates that the named supervisors have undertaken to offer support of research project preparation in Semester 2 linked to research project supervision in Semester 3. The overall programme takes 12 months to complete through full-time study, with dissertation submission being required in September.

As indicated in Table 1, below, the overall structure consists of five related elements. These are:

Advanced study in discipline: 30 credit points (through one or two modules) are completed that are appropriate to the discipline and planned research project topic. These are normally selected from MSc modules taught on the campus where the student and planned project are located.

Advanced research methods: 30 credit points (through one or two modules) are completed that are appropriate to the discipline and planned research project methodology. These are normally selected from MSc modules taught on the campus where the student and planned project are located.

Scholarship skills: This is a 30-credit module taken by blended learning, usually in Semester 2. It covers critical thinking skills and scholarly writing skills and is focussed on materials from the student's discipline area.

Research project preparation (30 credit points): The student is in contact with the project supervisory team throughout the year. Usually in Semester 2, directed training to develop specific skills for the conduct of the research project is undertaken and assessed.

Completion of research project and dissertation: Work on the project may begin in Semester 2 (or even earlier) but is completed and assessed through dissertation submission (in the format of a manuscript suitable for submission to a relevant science journal along with an extended literature review) in Semester 3, the summer period. Projects undertaken are typically in similar areas to those being undertaken by PhD students in the research group to which the supervisors are attached, but they are of a scope and level appropriate for the MRes.

Table 1: Programme elements and possible sequence (note that the sequence may vary in some cases).

Semester 1
Advanced study in discipline (30 credit points)
Advanced research methods (30 credit points)

Semester 2
Scholarship skills (30 credit points)
Research project preparation (30 credit points)

Semester 3
Completion of research project and dissertation (60 credit points)

The programme is administered by the Doctoral College. A leader is appointed from the relevant School for each named pathway. For each student, the pathway leader ensures that the assessment load is appropriately distributed across the three semesters.

About

Current opportunities include:

Assay development for apelin peptides and insights into variability in metabolic disease

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master's Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

Additional information for International applicants may be found
https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/int...

English language requirements

In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/eng...

Duration

PhD Research
You can study for a PhD on a full (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis and by the end of your programme, you will have produced a body of work that makes a contribution to knowledge in your chosen field.

We have various routes to obtaining a PhD - for example, in some areas you can submit a practical element as part of your submission, such as a piece of art or a musical composition.

MPhil:
The MPhil programme is studied over a 2 year period on a full-time basis or 4 years on a part-time basis.

We would recommend that you contact one of our academic staff whose interests align with your own to discuss your intended research prior to submitting an application.

Careers or further progression

Career options
Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).

Further enquiries

Contact supervisor
Professor Finbarr O'Harte

Telephone
+44 28 7012 4853

Email
fpm.oharte@ulster.ac.uk

Comment

Research facilities and groups
The BMSRI offers a "state-of-the-art" research environment for high profile researchers to undertake internationally agenda setting research in strategically prioritized areas of biomedicine. This research environment earned Biomedical Sciences at Ulster a No. 1 ranking in RAE2008, and was again rated as 100% "world-leading" in REF2014. Our research is carried out in well-equipped laboratories allowing the latest methods to be applied to individual projects. Our entire infrastructure is managed as Core Facility Units (CFUs) with equipment and laboratories dedicated to: advanced molecular bioimaging/microscopy, bioinformatics, cell biology, chemical analysis, genomics, proteomics/metabolomics (include Mass Spectrometry & NMR analysis), transgenics, physiology and pharmacology.

The BMSRI research infrastructure also includes centralized resources for: high throughput drug screening in vitro assays, clinical research & human intervention studies/ trials; the use and storage of mammalian cells and tissues; and in vivo studies in Animal reporter gene models and animal models that replicate human disease. The BMSRI uses its estate of equipment, specialist laboratories, infrastructure and internationally recognized biomedical expertise to offer clinical & translational services to Academic Researchers and Industrial Business partners. The BMSRI routinely engages in collaborative research with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical and biomedical companies and through the support of Ulster's Office of Innovation, the University has established a track record of success in the commercialization of its research outcomes.

At C-TRIC, clinicians, academics and businesses in the life and health sector can collaborate to facilitate the research, development and launch of innovative health technologies, medical devices and therapeutics. In addition to high-spec capabilities such as human genome sequencing, FLOW cytometry and tissue culture, C-TRIC's hospital location also permits direct access to NHS diagnostic laboratories and Clinical Research Nurses, and its on-site office of the Western Trust's Research and Development department provides access to expertise in research governance and healthcare economics.

The expansion of biomedical research during the last 10 years and more has led to the construction of the £14.5M Centre for Molecular Biosciences (CMB) at the Coleraine campus. This expansion in research infrastructure later led to the creation of a number of "virtual" centres of excellence which are housed within the CMB building, i.e., the Centre for Functional Genomics (CFG), the FEI Centre for Advanced Bioimaging (CFAI) and the Centre for Nutrition & Bone Health whose overall aim is to develop a new "all-Ireland" expert research capability focused on nutrition and bone health, particularly targeted at identifying strategies to prevent osteoporosis.

The SAAD Centre for Pharmacy and Diabetes provides contemporary and state-of-the-art facilities to support our diabetes and metabolomics research activities, as well as facilities for mass spectrometric and NMR analysis. This building also provides infrastructural support for our newly launched pharmacy/pharmaceutical sciences courses and associated research activities. These include: the formulation and production of antimicrobials for pharmaceutical applications; health promotion in community pharmacies; and the discovery and development of novel therapeutics such as anti-cancer agents, luminescent and nanoparticle sensors, bioimaging, photo/sono-dynamic therapy, and polymeric and nanoparticle drug delivery systems.

Autumn 2013 saw the launch of an £11.5 million collaborative project between the BMSRI, C-TRIC and the Western Health and Social Care Trust. Subsequently in 2017 further investment €8.6 million, EU's INTERREG VA programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, allowed establishment of The Centre for Personalised Medicine, Clinical Decision Making and Patient Safety which aims to dramatically improve clinical decision-making and tailored patient care in five priority disease areas: heart disease; emergency surgery; acute kidney injury; diabetes and dementia. The cross-border collaboration between the academic, clinical and commercial sectors allows for meaningful patient based research , which will directly impact upon quality of life of patients locally and internationally.

Taken together, these facilities make Ulster University one of the UK's leading research centres for Biomedical Sciences.

Research Groups:
Diabetes https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Food and Nutrition:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Genomic Medicine:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Optometry and Vision Science:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Stratified Medicine:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/researc...

Application date

Apply

We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies. Full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application, is available at the link below.

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.

Research areas

Staff research areas
A full list of all research active staff in the Unit can be found here:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/institutes/biomedical-sciences/people

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
Register at: ulster.ac.uk/pg-information-events

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!