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Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

Please register by Friday the 25th of August to secure your place on this course.

Join the Royal Society of Biology on our new one day Master Class in Research Skills.

This one day course has been developed for final year undergraduates, postgraduates and recent graduates. It aims to enhance and consolidate skills in experimental design, data analysis and data presentation. In order to ensure that the courses we offer are relevant to those working in the life sciences sector, we appeal to our employer members for intelligence on industry needs. We have received advice that these are skills which industry employers look for. Discounted attendance fees are available to RSB members.

Who is the course suitable for?

The course is suitable for those who would like to hone their research skills to support their development towards a career in biosciences research. It is aimed at final year undergraduates, masters students, and early PhD students. It is suitable for those who would like to work in industry or academia.


Emeritus Professor Mike Fowler FRSB, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
Mike trained as a biochemist (BSc, Kings College, London; PhD, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge). He then spent two years as an ICI Pharmaceuticals Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, before moving to a Lectureship in Biochemistry in the University of Sheffield. In Sheffield, Mike developed a research activity in developing plant and fungal cell culture libraries for natural product drug discovery, specialising particularly, but not solely, in anti-cancer and anti-infective agents.  In the early 1980s Mike's research group in the Sheffield Department of Biochemistry was used by the University as the basis of a new Wolfson Institute of Biotechnology, one of the first in the UK, and he was appointed its first Director and professor. Not long afterwards the Wolfson Institute itself was the basis for the first Sheffield company spin out, Plant Science Ltd, with 3i as the lead investor. This company later became the basis of Phytera Inc, a USA Massachusetts based biopharma company funded by Commonwealth Bioventures Inc, and centred on novel drug discovery and development from natural product sources. Over the years Mike has worked closely with a number of the major international pharmaceutical companies as a research collaborator, advisor or consultant, including Glaxo and Merck to name but two. He moved partially into industry in his later career and has worked as CSO, CEO and company Chairman. He has been, and still retains the position of, Non-exectuive Director for a number of small biopharma companies. Mike has also worked with WHO in Geneva, and for many years was Senior Advisor in Biopharmaceuticals to UNIDO Vienna. He retains a strong interest in natural product derived drug discovery, particularly anti-cancer agents and anti-infectives. In the case of the former he was involved in the early development and clinical trial stages of one of the leading current anti-cancer agents, docetaxol.

Mike is a Chartered Biologist, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Medicine and Royal Society of Arts.

Professor Dave Hornby FRSB, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield

Dave also trained as a biochemist (BSc Hons, University of Sheffield; PhD, University of Sheffield). He went on to Postdoctoral research positions with the universities of Sheffield and Leeds and Universitat Basel, Switzerland. He became a Lecturer within the University of Sheffield, Department of Biochemistry, progressing to a Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor and then Head of Department, in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. During this time he undertook an EMBO fellowship Gene Expression Program EMBL, Heidelberg and worked as a Visiting Scientist in the Department Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute California, Director of the Sheffield Transgenomic Research Laboratory and Director of Enterprise in Life Sciences. He has since become Professor of the Biochemistry Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, having taken sabbatical leave at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2012 and having held the position of Director of Innovation at Liverpool Life Sciences UTC from 2013 to 2015.

Dave started his research career interested in metabolic enzyme structure and function and turned his attention to increasingly more complex enzymes and proteins, especially those involved in nucleic acid transactions. This has led him to question the foundations of our understanding of enzyme catalysis. His research currently involves a series of collaborations aimed at exploring the evolution of enzyme mechanism via random mutagenesis of several enzymes and proteins. A more recent interest has arisen through collaboration with the Microbiology community at Sheffield and is the challenge of understanding the molecular basis of antibiotic resistance, in particular methicillin resistance.

Dave is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).


09.30 Coffee - Introduction

  • Introduction to course leaders
  • Aims of course, learning objectives and approach.

10.30h Experimental design and creativity - definition of objectives and aims in experimental planning, nature of the challenge.

12.30 Lunch

13.30  Data analysis 

  • So you have the data - what do you do with it - does it answer the questions you set out to answer? If not, then why not?  Does it show something unexpected? If so how do you cope with that?
  • Discussion as to objectives and aims, and types of data analysis - particular emphasis on the type of the data analysis thereby providing a platform for progression to the next stage.
  • Walk through a high impact publication in the broad area to illustrate the logic and approach to contemporary experimental analysis.
  • Feed back loop into experimental planning, what would you do differently next time?

 14.30  Data presentation 

  • Approaches to analysis of data from above plan to provide greatest insights into overall direction of programme and use of that data to focus on relevant next stage questions and issues. Also ways of picking up, and coping with, unexpected results in context of overall programme.

15.30 Tea

16.00. Presentation by industry expert

  • Exploring the ways in which the biopharmaceutical industry approaches research programme planning and analysis of data.

16.30 Final round up discussion.

17.00 Finish

Certification and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

We evaluate all of our training events, to make sure that we maintain a high quality of training.

A certificate of attendance will be provided after the event.

This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 24 CPD points.


Society members - £125 +VAT
Staff and members of Member Organisations, staff of SCAS members and staff of HUBS members - £250 +VAT
Non-members - £400 +VAT

Lunch and refreshments are included.

Group-booking discounts of up to 10% are now available, for Members and Member Organisations who would like to send four or more of their staff on this course. If you would like to make a group booking please contact our training officer.

If you are booking on behalf of a colleague please add your contact details in the special requirements box.


For further information about the course please contact our training officer.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation with over 10 working days' notice = 100% refund, less 25% admin fee
Cancellation with 5-10 working days' notice = 50% refund, less 25% admin fee
Cancellation with less than 5 working days' notice = 0% refund

The Royal Society of Biology reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a training event up to 10 working days before the event is due to take place. A full refund will be issued.

If the Royal Society of Biology is required to cancel or reschedule a training event with under 10 working days' notice due to unforeseen circumstances, a full refund will be issued and 50% of attendee pre-paid travel will be compensated.