UCL Summer School


Bioscience and Society: Public Engagement, Policy and Funding

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Dr Mark Waugh BSc PhD SFHEA
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
Essay (100%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

The purpose of this module is to explore the relationship between science and society in both an historical and contemporary context. Since the days of Christopher Columbus, right down to the Apollo Space programme and more recently the large Hadron collider at CERN, it has become clear that ambitious scientific endeavour requires public confidence, communication and funding in order to get from the original idea to something which has an impact in society. These considerations are just as valid in biology and medicine as they are in the physical sciences.

This course will draw on the unique range of museums, learned societies and organisations based in London to enable students to experience and appreciate the relationship between science and society and the need for scientists to engage and communicate with the wider world.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Understand how scientific research is funded and the importance of public engagement with science
  • Understand the role of government in supporting and regulating science
  • Understand the historical context which had driven scientific and technological advances in the past 200 years
  • Understand how learned societies support scientific communication and advances
  • Be able to evaluate how the work of individual scientists has had a major impact on society

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm. Teaching also takes places at relevant locations nearby in London such as the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.


  • Essay (100%)

Module leader

Dr Mark Waugh is the year 4 lead for the MSci in Applied Medical Sciences. He also leads three modules in the Applied Medical Sciences programme. Dr Waugh is principal investigator in the Division of Medicine at UCL.

Application information

Register your interest

Register interest in your chosen modules and receive notice of visits to your country and more

Register now

Follow us

Follow the UCL Summer School for Undergraduates on Facebook Follow the UCL Summer School for Undergraduates on Instagram