The laboratory skills programme is designed and delivered by real scientists to provide science students with an opportunity to gain hands on experience using real laboratory equipment. This course is frequently attended by undergraduates studying a distance learning degree or by students who need some additional laboratory skills before starting an honours project.
The course is often also attended by undergraduates who wish to gain a better understanding of laboratory procedure before making an application for post graduate study as almost all universities and employers now require previous laboratory experience before considering an applicant.
The laboratory skills programme runs from 9:30am – 4pm for 5 consecutive days and provides practical laboratory based training delivered by researchers from John Moores University, Pfizer, the University of Oxford and a range of researchers who teach as visiting lecturers on this program.
We teach at a very low student to tutor ratio meaning that students are supervised and encouraged throughout their course. We ask students to design their own experiments and allow students to make (safe) mistakes and learn from these. We believe this helps students to develop independent research skills and gain confidence in their own ability in the laboratory. The scientists teaching during the course provide insights into their industry and areas of research, and students looking for further work experience will be directed to one of our partners or our recruitment consultants at SRG (with a reference if requested).
The laboratory skills programme includes training in the below areas:
Day 1 - Laboratory Introduction:
Day 2 - Nano-Toxicology
Students will use the skills they learned on day 1 to investigate the effect of toxic nanomaterials on lung macrophage cells.
Days 3 & 4 - Microbiology
Students learn aseptic technique, working with E-coli and B-subtilis to explore antimicrobial agents, perform gram stains and investigate bacteria in environmental samples. During these days students will become more autonomous in their work, autoclaving their own media and biohazard waste, and trouble shooting their experimental designs.
Day 5 - Career Development Workshop, Student Presentations and Certifications:
Career Development Workshop
Students will learn about the many internship and funding opportunities available to undergraduate science students. This will allow students to build on laboratory experience gained during this residential course and further their scientific careers.
At the end of the course students will present one of their experiments to the rest of the group in a formal presentation session. The audience will be able to ask questions and provide an opportunity for students to show what they have learned during the course of the week.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
BioGrad is an Approved Activity Provide for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This course may be used as your Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential Award, which can be signed off by the course leader on the final day.
Please provide your Duke of Edinburgh Award number on your registration form at the time of booking your course.
Students using this course for their GOLD residential must stay for at least 4 nights in dormitory accommodation.
Students will be provided with certificates of attendance at the end of this event.
Attending a laboratory skills programme at BioGrad will allow students to meet with real scientists and learn techniques that will ultimately help them get a job. Students will gain valuable insights into the range of careers and laboratory research opportunities available. We have links with many companies who recruit interns and graduates based on our recommendations. We aim to inspire students to enter a research career and offer help finding opportunities that most students are unaware of. Our laboratory and office environments are very informal offering a relaxed and enjoyable environment for students to learn in.
We will happily take photographs of students working in the laboratory which often serve as excellent profile pictures for work related social networking (such as LinkedIn).
Students are asked not to take photographs of other attendees or staff without consent. Students under the age of 18 years old must provide the completed photo/video consent form on the first day of the course (sent to all students in their course registration confirmation) if they wish to have photographs taken for use on professional or social media.
Clothing and Equipment
Students are advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes (ensuring legs and feet are covered when in the laboratory). We advise layered clothing as it can become warm when wearing a lab coat and gloves all day.
All personal protective equipment is provided during the course however students should bring a note book for recording their results and a laptop/tablet for preparing their presentation on the final day.
Students attending this course are expected to be studying a science undergraduate degree however recent post graduates or students who have been out of the laboratory for some time often attend to ‘up-skill’ their CV.
No previous laboratory experience is required for this course as full introductions will be provided for each subject area.
Universities, distance learning providers and DofE centres can book a bespoke course for groups of 8-10 students per week. Full board options are available including evening activities. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
International groups may take advantage of our collaboration with Liverpool School of English, booking a 2 week course with English tuition, full board home stay, transfers and insurance. Please contact email@example.com for availability.
Students have an hour for lunch each day. There are many places to purchase food and drink within walking distance of the Science Park, including the City of Liverpool College, Subway, Tesco’s, Costa, The EveryMan theatre and many small sandwich/coffee shops. Students wishing to bring their own food have access to a fridge and microwave during the course, plus a break room containing vending machines, a pool table and sky TV on-site.
Students who are attending as a residential course can make the most of their evenings by exploring the huge range of restaurants within walking distance of the Art House Hotel.
The BioGrad facilities and The Art House Hotel both have secure facilities for storing luggage on the days of arrival and departure. During the rest of the week students will be asked to store their belongings in locked cupboards opposite BioGrad Student Services (Outside of the laboratories and clinical training rooms) during the training sessions.
All payments are taken securely with PayPal. All major debit and credit cards are accepted so you don’t need a PayPal account.
There are four payment options available:
There is no charge for early payment, which can be made via PayPal at any time.
Means tested bursaries available for students attending BioGrad Partner Schools. See our bursary page for further information
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"I would like to say a big thank you to the BioGrad scientists for teaching us many new and exciting techniques and skills, which are so essential and applicable for and lab work. I absolutely enjoyed this one week course as it has not only given me a chance to broaden my knowledge in scientific research, but also the opportunity to meet other young scientists from all around the world.
Natalie and Phil are incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about scince and this passion has definitely passed on to us. They were always here to help us and guide us through our work, at the same time teaching us how to think critically about the techniques we were using.
The Laboratory Skills summer school was a fantastic experience and one that has definitely helped me to obtain new immensely valuable skills."
“The Summer school has truly has been one of the best weeks I've had in a long time, thank you again for all the advice.
I am feeling much more confident about applying to university and will definitely keep in touch with the BioGrad lecturers.”
“I have really enjoyed the Laboratory Skills summer school. I have learnt a lot of new skills most importantly to be able to work independently and more confidently in the lab as well as in a group. The BioGrad scientists were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
I recommend this course to anyone looking for work experience in a lab. Although it was a short course they helped open my eyes to different opportunities for me as a science student.”
“I would like to thank Natalie and Phil for the weeks experience as they made working in the labs fun.
It was worthwhile attending the course as it has given me an insight into what it is like working in labs. Speaking to Natalie and Phil has given me a greater understanding of what possible career I may do in the future.”
“I used to think lab work was all boring and dull and that you repeated the same things over and over again, but after a week in the summer school I realised it was everything but dull and boring. There is something new every day.
The skills and experience I gained in such a short amount of time was incredible. Thank you again.”
“I would like to thank the BioGrad team for an extremely enjoyable and informative 5 days completing the Laboratory Skills summer school. In this time, we learnt, in a completely hands-on procedure, how to execute several essential laboratory experiments which are vital to furthering our experience and employability in our desired field. Furthermore, the expert assistance of Phil and Natalie (which was readily available in such small groups) allowed us to safely make, identify and learn from any mistakes we made during the course. As a result, I can say my confidence in laboratory work has been strengthened hugely, and my interest in laboratory work has definitely been piqued. Also, during this time, we learnt practical skills such as organisation and time management, teamwork and cooperation and communication skills, which are important in most any job.
Phil and Natalie were always willing to answer any questions on anything to do with laboratory practices to experienced career advice. A special thanks form me, as the course and advice gave me an insight that made me completely rethink my career prospects!
Due to this, I can say this course may have definitely changed my life! I would whole-heartedly recommend the laboratory skills summer school to anybody wanting further experience in Life Sciences, and thank you for an unforgettable 5 days!”
“Thank you so much for all the hard work the BioGrad staff put into this week! I have learnt so much in the last few days which I am sure I’ll be able to apply to any of my further studies.
I liked the fact that the course was challenging for someone like me who is doing A-levels as it forced me to think about everything I was doing and be thorough with the work. The fact it was sometimes challenging made it even more satisfying when I got my results for each investigation as I felt as though I’d worked hard.
If I ever did get stuck or was unsure of what to do, the BioGrad scientists were all incredibly helpful and didn’t ever make me feel as though I wasn’t capble of anything! I feel so much more confident carrying out practicals and have come away from the course with a greater sense of knowledge and understanding of many different scientific areas, as well as ideas of what to choose to do at University.
Thank you so much again! I really enjoyed the summer school week!”