The Society of Biology’s Degree Accreditation Programme has been progressing rapidly over the past two years. We launched our pilot in June of 2011 and it was successfully completed in February of this year enabling us to hold our Accreditation Awards Ceremony last Tuesday.
Speeches by Andrew Miller MP, Dr Mark Downs and Professor David Coates highlighted the importance of accreditation and recognised the hard work and commitment off all involved so far. The Degree Accreditation Awards Ceremony rounded off at the end of what had been a very successful but busy week for the Society and the life sciences as a whole.
Accreditation is common in many other STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, but has not been developed in the biosciences before. Minister for Universities and Science Rt Hon David Willetts MP spoke to over 200 guests at the ceremony about this “very serious omission” and gave great support to the Society of Biology. Finding a way to accredit the whole of biology, across the UK, in a way which will still ‘mark out’ graduates of excellent courses hasn’t been a simple process, but we really believe in our plan for accreditation.
At the moment we are working with other Learned Societies to develop the criteria for each of the three areas that we will accredit under:
- Molecular Aspects of Biology
- Ecological and Environmental Biology
By using these, we can cover almost all of the biosciences and still keep the specifics in the three sets of criteria that the industries want to see in graduates. We also know that some areas of the biosciences are so specific that the criteria will only be applicable to its own area, so we will develop the criteria for these focussed areas where necessary.
The Society is now accepting formal expressions of interest from institutions with bioscience departments who wish to gain Degree Accreditation, with additional details available here or by contacting me.