Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module BIOL3441: Biological Enterprise

Department: Biosciences

BIOL3441: Biological Enterprise

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to C103; C105; C108; B940; B941; B942.


  • • Satisfactory completion of Level 2 course in Biological or Biomedical Sciences


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • • Level 3 Research Project (BIOL3571), Level 3 Biology into Schools (BIOL3431), Level 3 Research Proposal (BIOL3631), Contemporary Issues in the Biosciences (BIOL3641)


  • To introduce students to: the key process of business start-up, specifically within the context of the biotechnology sector; the key factors and considerations that influence the decision making process of commercialisation of biotechnological innovation; the necessary skills, knowledge and resources required to take biological innovation from concept through to credible commercial propositions; the purpose of a Business Plan and, using a self-generated idea, how to prepare and present a Plan.
  • To develop students’ enterprising and group working skills and behaviours.


  • Overview of the biotechnology sector.
  • Generating and evaluating business ideas using SWOT analysis etc.
  • Testing ideas against the market eg primary and secondary research, competitor analysis etc.
  • Business Plan form and function and resource planning.
  • Financial management and planning.
  • Legal aspects , including Intellectual Property, regulatory and ethical issues.
  • Selling to the market.
  • Raising finance eg Venture Capitalists, Business Angels etc.
  • Presenting clear and commercially viable business concept and scientific basis of the product in Business Plan and oral formats.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Ability to discuss in depth a chosen biological process particularly with regard to its potential application in a commercial context.
  • Demonstrate how to plan for the launch of a new business venture, particularly with regard to the biotechnology sector.
  • Describe the key challenges and issues associated with commercialisation of a biological innovation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the responses and strategies used to overcome these challenges and address issues, risks etc.
  • Demonstrate development of their enterprising skills, behaviours and attitudes.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Describe and summarise information from self-study and guided research on a self-selected biological topic.
  • Describe and summarise information from lectures, textbooks and other sources on key areas of business planning.
  • Describe the process and resources required in business planning, particularly start-ups in the biotechnology sector.
Key Skills:
  • Interpretation and understanding of information from relevant sources (lectures, textbooks, online sources).
  • Interpretation and evaluation of data.
  • Strategic thinking and planning of time, resources etc.
  • Group working, negotiation and consensus building.
  • Presentation of scientific and business ideas to academic and non-academic audiences in oral and written formats.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures, Tutorials, Group work, Data handling, Essays and Oral Presentation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 40 Weekly 2 hours p/w 40
Tutorials 5 Termly 2 hours 10
Preparation & reading 150
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Business Plan 40%
Science Case 50%
Presentation 10%

Formative Assessment:

Two formative presentations

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University