Science at Work - BI830

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 2)
Autumn 7 30 (15) PROF D Lloyd checkmark-circle


Science has a profound influence on professional practice in the private and public sector. This module considers the ways in which different professions interact with science and scientists, and how this influences the work they do. Their interaction with the public will also be discussed. A series of speakers with diverse professional backgrounds (education, industry, government, policy making, the law, the media) will describe their work, the role of science in the profession, and the way in which science influences their actions and interactions with the public and other professions. This will relate to scientific content in a range of scientific contexts, including cancer, reproductive medicine, biotechnology and healthcare. This will be illustrated by case studies presenting challenges and dilemmas concerning the communication of science in the context of different professions and their target audiences.


Contact hours

Kent-based and external speakers will give seminars followed by discussion/group work using material provided in advance (3 hours per week). The total number of study hours expected of students will be 300, with 36 hours contact time, and the remainder self-study time during and outside of the academic term.

Method of assessment

The module will be 100% coursework assessed.
Marks for this module will comprise written assessments stimulated by seminar discussions and associated work. This will be in the form of essays (2 x 2,000 words, 25% each).
50% of the mark will comprise a blog (approximately 4,000 words) relating to the on the impact of science on a specific scientific or professional discipline.

Indicative reading

J. Gregory, S. Miller, Science in Public: Communication, Culture and Credibility, (Perseus, US, 2000)
S. Allan, Media, Risk and Science (OUP, 2002)
Engaging Science: Thoughts, deeds, analysis and action (Wellcome, 2006)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes:
a. An understanding and critical appreciation of the principles of public engagement
b. Knowledge of current theoretical perspectives on how to communicate science to the public
c. An understanding of the impact of science upon a range of professional disciplines
d. An insight into how different professions deal with complex scientific information and disseminate this information to their clients and audiences
e. Recognition of career opportunities within science communication
f. A knowledge and understanding of the social, political and economic impact of science

The intended generic learning outcomes:
g. Through the use of primary texts as well as secondary sources, students will be able to marshal information effectively
h. Through seminar discussion and lectures they will be encouraged to develop a critical, analytic perspective on such information
i. Through encountering new critical perspectives on science, students will develop independence of thought
j. Seminar work, including presentations, will improve students' grasp of communication and working with others
k. To be able to evaluate critically and communicate effectively in a number of the following formats
l. Students will enhance their proficiency with regard to improving their own learning and performance


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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