A man working in industrial biotechnology laboratory

MSc/PGDipIndustrial Biotechnology

Why this course?

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) has launched this unique Masters in Industrial Biotechnology. IBioIC has committed to creating the next generation of skilled industrial biotechnologists.


The course meets industrial needs and is at the forefront of developments in science and engineering. It combines the expertise of staff from 13 academic institutions across Scotland. Our industrial partners also provide input to the course.

This is an exciting opportunity for science and engineering graduates who are looking for a career in an emerging industry that is sustainable, green and essential to the global economy.

The course will provide you with a strong foundation in basic industrial biotechnology. You’ll also cover advanced state-of-the-art topics in a wide range of industrial biotechnology-related areas. A three-month placement is offered, giving students the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with one of IBioIC’s industrial partners.

You’ll study

The taught classes are designed to give you a thorough understanding of the current developments in industrial biotechnology.

Two semesters of formal teaching are followed by an intensive research project. You'll carry this out with an industrial partner.

The taught classes cover the following areas and are taught by the following partners:

Core classes include:

  • Industrial Biotechnology, Governance and Importance to the Bioeconomy (The Innogen Institute, Edinburgh University)
  • Bioprocessing (Strathclyde University)
  • Synthetic Biology (Glasgow University)
  • Practical Systems Biology (Edinburgh University)
  • Downstream Processing (Heriot Watt University)
  • Applied Biocatalysis (Strathclyde University)

Elective classes include:

  • Blue Biotechnology (SAMS, University of Highlands & Islands)
  • Renewable Energy Technologies (Abertay University)
  • Advanced Project Management (Strathclyde University)
  • Supply Chain Management (Strathclyde University)
  • Production Management (Heriot Watt University)
  • Resource Efficient Formulation (University of the West of Scotland)

Industrial Biotechnology Partner Universities Facilities

The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) offers an excellent environment for research and teaching. It is located in a new building with several laboratories. All are fitted with modern equipment.

View our new state-of-the-art facilities [360° tour]

Course content

Compulsory classes

Introduction to Industrial Biotechnology & its Governance

Innogen Institute, Edinburgh

This class aims to provide you with a broad grounding in industrial biotechnology, the innovation opportunities in the global bio-economy and the governance of the technology, drawing on Innogen's research and expertise in the area.


University of Strathclyde

Bioprocessing is a key skill in Industrial Biotechnology and therefore this class underpins the whole course.  Bioprocessing forms the basis of the production end of the biotechnology business.

You'll understand:
  • the basic principles of bioprocessing including process kinetics
  • the importance of and mechanisms for strain/cell line stability and preservation
  • the importance of medium design, bioreactor design and operation
  • the principles of mass transfer and its relationship to the success of bioprocesses
  • the principles of good manufacturing practice and its relevance to regulatory issues
  • the skills in data/paper interpretation and writing
Applied Biocatalysis

University of Strathclyde

Applied Biocatalysis is a core technology in Industrial Biotechnology, covering the use of enzymes and related materials as catalysts in industrial processes. It complements fermentation as presented in the bioprocessing class, where whole cells are the catalysts - indeed the two form a continuous spectrum of technologies.

This class aims to provide you with the following learning objectives:
  • understand the range of approaches available for finding new enzymes
  • appreciate the key properties required in a practical biocatalyst and how they can be obtained
  • appreciate the scope of biocatalysis and how it can integrate with synthetic chemistry
  • understand how the kinetics of enzymatic processes can be modelled and analysed
  • understand the principles of the immobilisation of enzymes and whole cells
  • appreciate key issues in industrial enzyme manufacture, trade and application
Synthetic Biology

University of Glasgow

This class explores the concepts of rational design, computer modelling, construction and characterization of Synthetic Biology systems and devices.  You'll have the opportunity to design, build and test a simple genetic circuit or metabolic pathway, and to plan a more complex Synthetic Biology project.

Practical Systems Biology

The University of Edinburgh

This class will provide an introduction to systems biology by focussing on the behaviours expected from interactions between only a few genes, taking examples from microbes to mammals.  

Cells are dynamic systems and we will build intuition about the types of responses expected from different gene circuits by running, adapting and analysing computer simulations.  Throughout the class will use such simulations analysis as research tools to understand biology.  

After an introduction to motifs and modules, we will focus on the role of feedback in genetic networks and how feedback can sometimes create permanent switches in, for example, stem cells, or at other times can generate oscillators such as circadian rhythms in neurons.  We will show how these behaviours can be undermined when numbers of molecules become low, and effect that cells may exploit or regulate away.  Finally, we discuss experimental techniques that allow direct comparison between simulations and real biological systems.

Downstream Processing

Heriot Watt University

Downstream processing refers to the recovery and purification of biosynthetic products from natural sources such as animal or plant tissue or fermentation broth, including the recycling of salvageable components and the proper treatment and disposal of waste. It is an essential step in many manufacturing processes.

Downstream processing refers to the separation or purification of biological products, but at different scales of operation and for different purposes. Downstream processing implies manufacture of a purified product fit for a specific use, for the sole purpose of measuring a component or components of a mixture and may deal with sample sizes as small as a single cell.

Elective classes

Choose from this list

Blue Biotechnology

The Scottish Association for Marine Science

This class combines taught and practical elements and covers topics such as taxonomy, systematics and physiology or micro- and macro-algae.  

The emphasis will be on the biotechnological exploitation of these organisms focussing on their use as human/animal food; hydrocolloids, fine chemicals; green fertilizers and as feedstock to produce algal biofuels.  Issues such as the environmental impacts of macro-algal farms, disease susceptibility and techno-economics will be covered.

Renewable Energy Technologies

Abertay University

This class covers advanced aspects of the science, technology and socio-economic aspects of renewable energy production, with a particular emphasis on biofuels.

The aim of this class is to provide you with an understanding of chemical, biochemical, microbiological and process engineering aspects of renewable energy production.

Resource Efficient Formulation

University of West Scotland

This class will provide you with an insight into the impact of human activities on both the depletion of the earth's natural resources and altering of microbial processes leading to poor health and food insecurities.  The fate of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, heavy and rare earth metals and persistent organic pollutants and their potential impact to the environment will be discussed.  The need for the development of innovative biotechnological microbial formulation to mitigate these negative effects in a sustainable manner and ways to increase the manufacturing efficiencies of formulations to address these emergencies will be discussed.

Production Management for Brewing & Distilling

Heriot Watt University

The class aims to enable learners gain a strong grounding in key aspects of  business production management.  The class explores the concepts of operations and operations management, exploring their history and strategic importance and setting present day practice in the company, local and international contexts. The course also focuses on process management, performance improvement, quality and supply chain management.

Case Studies in Supply Chain Management

University of Strathclyde

You're expected to analyse a series of case studies and relatively unstructured problems in various areas of supply chain management.

The class aims to introduce you to as much as possible of the practical reality of analysing and, where possible, solving supply chain management problems in real life.  To this end, you're given the opportunity to explore, through the use of case studies and unstructured problems, situations where, for example, data may be ambiguous and hard to come by, it may be far from obvious which methods or models can be applied, and where managers will need to be convinced of the merits of any suggested solutions.

Advanced Project Management

University of Strathclyde

Project management and project based organisations are becoming increasingly common in industry, therefore this class assumes that the students require some knowledge of the tools and techniques used to manage projects within organisations.  This class aims to provide the student with these by introducing the student with no project management background to:

  • the concept of the project lifecycle
  • Project Management as a strategic tool
  • the methodologies and tools that enable efficient project execution

MSc only

Industrial Biotechnology Research Project

The project is paramount in integrating the subject knowledge and skills acquired throughout the taught element of the programme.

The project will be based with one of IBioIC's industrial partners and be supervised by both an industrial and academic supervisor.

The placement will last 3-4 months where students will be based in industry working on an industrially relevant project gaining invaluable experience in a key area of biotechnology.  Students are required to write a formal report and present their work to their peers and supervisors in a variety of formats.

Learning & teaching

Two semesters of formal teaching are followed by an intensive research project, carried out with an industrial partner.


The final assessment will be based on performance in exams, coursework and the research project. If necessary there may be a formal oral exam.

Entry requirements

First or second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, chemical engineering or a related subject.

Other qualifications and industrial experience may be considered.

IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2016/17 - no fees, this course is fully funded.

Rest of UK

  • 2016/17 - £5,500


  • 2016/17 - £16,700

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


The course provides an exciting opportunity for science and engineering graduates who are looking for a career in an emerging industry that is sustainable, green and essential to the global economy.

Our students enjoyed successful placements with the following companies:

  • Qnostics
  • GSK
  • Xanthella
  • SeaBioTech
  • Marine Biopolymers
  • AMT
  • Ingenza
  • Unilever
  • Innogen
  • CelluComp

A total of 70% of our 2014 cohort have found full-time jobs or have undertaken further study as a result of the experience gained throughout their placement.

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Contact us

For further information about the course, please contact:


Industrial Biotechnology (IBiolC)

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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