UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


EngD in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership

This 4-year EngD programme is a research degree with a training element designed to develop sector-specific skills and prepare graduates for leadership positions within the bioindustry sector.


Researchers on this programme are registered on a 4-year integrated course. All projects are industry collaborative where up to 75% of their time can be spent with their industrial partner. EngD students are required to complete 255 credits by the end of their 4th year, submit an EngD thesis and pass their final viva in order to be eligible for an EngD award.

Students undertake modules to the value of 255 credits for this programme. This is comprised of six compulsory 15 credit modules, one compulsory 7.5 credit module, a 105 credit project and 52.5 credits’ worth of optional modules.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Year 1

In Year 1, you will complete six core modules, including a 105-credit MRes research project, and an optional module. 
The initial training focus in the 1st year year is on practical exposure to research methods and team-based activities that fully exploit our £30m pilot plant facility. A module on Biomolecular and Cellular Analysis will provide you hands-on training on high throughput and reference methods for the characterisation of complex biological products. This is complemented by Design of Experiments (DoE), which introduces researchers to industry standard DoE software, DesignExpert v11, and the use of statistical DoE principles to rationally design experiments and optimise bioprocess performance. Pilot Plant Unit Operations builds on these modules using Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) to train you on cell culture and pilot scale equipment related to their research.

Advanced training is delivered via our modular, MBI® Training Programme for industry, that has delivered UCL-accredited, Masters level courses to over 2000 industrial delegates from more than 250 companies. This received the IChemE Innovation and Excellence Award in 2012. Modules are co-delivered with 70 industrial experts, and provide networking opportunities alongside ~150 industrial delegates each year. Researchers take a tailored selection of modules related to their projects across their EngD programme. 

The transferable skills component of the 1st year is addressed in two modules that cover all required aspects of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework, RDF. The Transferable Skills in Bioprocess Research and Development module, led by the CDT Director, will introduce you to the various aspects of the RDF and requires all researchers to present individual Career Development Plans. It includes a 3-day residential activity at Cumberland Lodge designed to build the cohort and explore your initial strengths. A Research Skills module addresses practical research skills, e.g. Good Laboratory Practice, COSHH, risk assessments, SoPs etc, and provides bespoke practical training for you. New material on Responsible Innovation is embedded throughout the EngD programme and is led centrally at UCL.

Year 1 modules

Element 1: Research project
BENG0055 MRes Research Project

Element 2: Transferable Skills
BENG0044 Transferable Skills in Bioprocess Research and Development (including Responsible Research and Innovation)
BENG0097 Research Skills (Synthetic Biology or Modelling and Simulation streams)

Element 3: Advanced Training
BENG0054 Biomolecular and Cellular Analysis
BENG0057 Pilot Plant Unit Operations
BENG0077 Design of Experiments for Bioprocess Optimisation

OPTIONAL MODULE (7.5 credit)
Choose one 7.5 credit optional module from our MBI modules

Year 2

In Year 2 the cohort will come together to undertake a mandatory, team-based Pilot Plant Project module. Your multidisciplinary teams first will propose and design a ‘whole bioprocess’ study directly related to your research, enabling all team members to gain insight to how their particular skills impact on whole bioprocess performance. Your team will also manage execution of the project, which will be carried out by groups of MSc students, providing further experience relevant to your future career. 

Year 2 modules

BENG0056 Pilot Plant Project

Choose max. 45 credits

Year 3

In Year 3, a Bioprocess Business Planning module will build on the team-based pilot plant courses. This is led by Professor Chris Mason, who is CSO of Avrobio, a lentivirus gene therapy company, floated on NASDAQ for $100m in 2018. 

Year 3 modules

BENG0036 Biotechnology Business Planning

Choose max. 45 credits

Optional modules may include:

MBI modules

BENG0008 Commercialisation of Research Ideas

BENG0042 Bio-microfluidics and Microsystems Engineering 

Year 4

In year 4 you will complete any optional modules that are still due for you to meet the credit requirements and will be finalising your thesis that must be submitted by the end of your 4th year.

Year 4 modules

Choose max. 45 credits


The UCL Doctoral School provides an extensive Doctoral Skills Development Programme comprising nearly 200 short courses (1/2 - 1 day) developed in conjunction with UCL Careers and UCL Enterprise and Innovation where you will be able to access elective material.