Research Scientist Degree Apprenticeship


Learn to undertake scientific investigations, communicate information accurately and effectively to a range of audiences, whilst developing commercial and leadership skills.


Course type
Work-based degree
Entry requirements

2.5 Years

Start date

Course overview

If you are already working in bioscience or biomedical laboratories, in research or technical roles, and are looking to advance your career in research, this work-based programme could take your career to the next level.

This postgraduate Level 7 apprenticeship will develop your existing skills and knowledge as a research scientist. You'll advance your theoretical and practical knowledge, in the laboratory environment, and also when communicating your research.

With our Business for the Biosciences module, you'll also develop commercial and leadership skills, maximising your research impact and value


"The apprenticeship programme is an ideal pathway to develop your career ambitions since it allows you to study while working and apply your previous experiences to your education whilst developing your skills and knowledge.”

Bally Purewal
Degree apprentice graduate

Why choose Aston University?

Gold teaching standard
Aston University was awarded Triple Gold – the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
work-based learning
Practical learning impact
Apply your learning immediately in the workplace, boosting your performance and benefiting your employer
Mastering leadership excellence
Develop commercial and leadership skills to support your research with a business module
A comprehensive support structure
Apprentices are supported by a professional skills coach, an academic, and a professional supervisor

Course description

Research Scientist Degree Apprenticeship MRes

This postgraduate Level 7 apprenticeship programme has been designed to support the development of graduate scientists into talented researchers.

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What will we provide 
We will provide you with mentorship and guidance from experienced professionals and lecturers, sharing theory and practical knowledge. 

On successful completion of the apprenticeship, you will gain:
•    MRes Research Scientist
•    Apprenticeship Certificate

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What will you provide
As an apprentice, you will be required to balance academic work, full-time employment, and on-the-job training. You will be expected to engage with teaching materials, online lectures, and in-person sessions. You will need to submit coursework and other assessments in a timely manner.

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What skills you will learn
Throughout the apprenticeship you will develop skills such as experimental skills, analytical, commercial awareness, problem-solving, persuasive communication, leadership, coaching and mentoring.

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Career prospects 
If you are already working in bioscience or biomedical laboratories, in research or technical roles, and are looking to advance your career in research, this work-based programme could take your career to the next level.

How you will learn

This programme is taught through blended on campus and distance learning. Teaching takes place through short blocks of lectures, and online, via our virtual learning environment, a platform which gives apprentices access a comprehensive range of study materials, academic journals, databases, and much more. Online learning activity gives apprentices the flexibility to study from any location without the need to frequently travel to the Aston University campus.

In addition, all apprentices are supported by a professional skills coach, an academic (provided by Aston University), and professional supervisor (provided by your employer). The coaches and supervisors meet with apprentices once per module, either in person or online, to provide advice, and to help bridge the gap between theory and practice.

What you will learn

You will learn to undertake scientific investigations and communicate information accurately and effectively to a range of audiences, whilst also developing commercial and leadership skills.


At Aston University, apprentices enjoy full access to all the facilities available to regular students. This inclusive approach ensures that apprentices can take advantage of the university's library, labs, study spaces, cafes and more. By providing equal access to these facilities, Aston University supports apprentices in their educational journey, enabling them to thrive in both academic and practical aspects of their chosen fields.

Course objectives

  1. You will have the means to carry out an extensive laboratory-based project on a specific topic within the Biosciences, and receive advanced theoretical and practical knowledge in a particular area within the field of Biosciences research.
  2. Receive the training in Biosciences laboratory skills and develop awareness of good laboratory practise and safety issues in a modern research laboratory and develop a range of transferable skills (written and oral communication, time management, project management, team working, data collection and analysis).
  3. Develop an informed and critical appreciation of the scientific developments within a particular area of Biosciences research. 
  4. It provides you with the means to develop their commercial and leadership skills.

Modules and learning outcomes

From the official curriculum course spec

This programme is taught at postgraduate level (apprenticeship Level 7) part-time over three years. It includes four core taught modules and a final dissertation research project. Each module is taught over a period of 12 weeks:

Module titles
Essential laboratory skills - Learn a wide range of laboratory techniques to develop and refine their practical skills. Techniques covered include eukaryotic and bacterial cell culture, PCR, qPCR, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting and ELISA. This section of the course is run for 2 weeks on Aston campus and laboratory competency will be assessed by members of academic staff during this time.


Professional research and communication skills -  Effective communication is crucial in scientific research. This online professional development module focuses on honing your written and oral communication skills, enabling you to articulate research findings, present complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences, and publish your work in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, the module focuses on equipping you with the essential skills required for conducting advanced research in biosciences, covering a range of topics, including research ethics, project planning, data management and scientific writing.  This will give you an in-depth knowledge of the scientific process, as well as the tools required to successfully formulate and write your research dissertation for the BI4RPR Research Project.
Research competency assessment - You will undergo a comprehensive evaluation of your research competencies, including literature review skills, experimental design, data analysis, and scientific communication. This module will provide you with valuable feedback and guidance to ensure you are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in your research project.
Business for the biosciences - This business focused module will guide you through the business and entrepreneurial aspects needed for the Degree Apprenticeship. This module is delivered online and will cover topics such as strategy and change management, operations and project management, product lifecycles, entrepreneurial thinking, management skills, and pitching and presenting.     
Research project - The fifteen-month project module, which is carried out using your 20% off-the-job training, allows you to embed yourself in a research laboratory at your host company. Here you will perform original, rigorous and impactful cutting-edge research that aligns with your employer’s industry focus. You will design and perform experiments, critically evaluate and interpret the results generated, and describe how these integrate into the current knowledge in the field. You will discuss and present your results and gain experience of becoming an independent, productive and effective research scientist.

Learning outcomes 

  • Demonstrate competency in a range of laboratory techniques and critically evaluate and present data.
  • Analyse scientific content and construct appropriate methods for the dissemination of the material. 
  • Complete appropriate risk assessments associated with relevant occupational procedures.
  • Compose defined research objectives with appropriate ethical evaluations and prepare a time-plan to achieve those objectives.
  • Evaluate and describe appropriate methods/protocols/procedures for data management and perform laboratory assays in accordance with relevant health and safety regulations.
  • Apply basic laboratory skills in complex protocols and evaluate the results and articulate strategic value to implement and manage projects.
  • Enact change within an organisation centred around product lifecycle and appraise their own higher order professional skills.
  • Apply entrepreneurial skills to analyse for a viable business concept and plan and complete a research project within a fixed time-period.
  • Critically review existing literature and/or methodologies associated with their research area and apply appropriate methods to collect, record, analyse and critically evaluate scientific data. 
  • Effectively communicate the findings of their project through appropriate media and provide evidence of your professional development within their scientific role.

Entry requirements

To be considered for this programme Aston University expects applicants to have a professionally recognised bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a STEM subject.

Have a minimum of Grade C/4 in GCSE Mathematics and English (or equivalent) by the end of the apprenticeship

You will also need to meet the government's eligibility criteria:
  • Be employed in a job in England with responsibilities aligned with the degree content
  • Have been a UK/EU/EAA resident for the past three years or more prior to starting the course 
  • Have left full time education when the apprenticeship you are applying for is due to start 
  • Be aged at least 16 years old. 

Course fees

You will not have to pay tuition fees as a Degree Apprentice as the cost is met by the UK government and your employer. In addition to your fees being paid, you will also earn a salary while you study, so there is no need to apply for Student Finance support.

The funding band for this Degree Apprenticeship is £18,000. This is the full cost of your apprenticeship which may be paid for using your employer's apprenticeship levy, or training and development budget.


By successfully completing this programme, you will be awarded with an MRes Research Scientist. You will also achieve an apprenticeship certificate that is graded at pass, merit or distinction. The programme will be assessed through a combination of class tests, coursework, presentations, and practical assessments. Projects and assignments are mostly work-based, relating directly to the apprentice’s role in their organisation, adding immediate value for both the learner and the employer.

End point assessment

The apprenticeship programme concludes with the end point assessment (EPA). The EPA gives the apprentice the opportunity to showcase their academic, personal, and professional development achievements developed during the apprenticeship. the apprentice takes part in a professional discussion to demonstrate their competencies and how they have applied their learning in the workplace. They will also be required to give a presentation showing the impact of their final work-based project on their organisation. After the EPA, the assessors will consider what grade should be awarded for the apprenticeship – fail, pass, merit, or distinction.

Career prospects

If you are already working in bioscience or biomedical laboratories, in research or technical roles, and are looking to advance your career in research, this work-based programme could take your career to the next level. 

Register your Interest