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Surveys and Responses

Pilot study of university Biochemistry Programmes raises questions over current chemistry and practical provision
A Pilot study involving 12 representative biochemistry departments found that nearly all programmes fulfilled the criteria of a Core Curriculum drawn up in 1996 as regards coverage of the core elements of biochemistry. However, only 5 out of 12 programmes fulfilled the recommendation that relevant chemistry should constitute 25% of first year studies, and only 3 out of 12 provided one day per week biochemistry practicals in years one and two. The report discussed the implications of these findings.
Information for the study was drawn from documents that departments were readily able to supply. Participants considered that the study provided useful comparative information that would enable them to benchmark their programmes against Biochemical Society standards and the sector norm, and for Subject Review purposes.

Postgraduate Training in the Life Sciences A Working Party set up by the UK Life Sciences Committee made a strong case for improved PhD stipends on the basis of the need for research careers to compete with alternatives in other professions for attracting the best young life science graduates. It argued the case for most life sciences PhDs to be 4-year courses, but recommended that Research Councils should introduce a Research Training Grant system. This would allow individual universities to make the important decisions on balancing level of stipend and duration of training with PhD numbers. The Report of the Working Party was sent to the Director General of the Research Councils, to individual Research Councils and to the Science Minister.

A survey of the views and needs of Biochemical Society members working in small to medium sized companies
The survey found overwhelming support for the Society to introduce focused workshops on particular aspects of biotechnology for networking purposes, and strong support for the Society to make more information available on the web of the interests and expertise of academic bioscientists.

Survey of External Examiner Practice in Biochemistry Some notable findings were that 76% of departments and 67% of examiners rejected the concept that external examiners should only be drawn from a limited pool of specially trained individuals, as recommended by Dearing; that in the case of modular courses, 50% of departments and 69% of examiners considered that most of the decisions regarding degree class are made well before the examiners' meeting; and that examiners of modular courses or traditional linear courses considered equally strongly that their role was to monitor both academic standards and the process of assessment (survey carried out in 1998)

Attributes expected in biosciences graduates are not necessarily those assessed in examinations A questionnaire survey sought to determine the attributes that departments expected biological science graduates to possess; what attributes they actually assessed in assigning Honours degree classification; and the pattern of current programme provision (survey carried out in 1998).

Selected earlier surveys and responses

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