Toolkit BIO299

Student Research Practice Course in Biology


This 10 ECTS course aims to integrate students in the academic community. By giving the students authentic research experiences they gain valuable competences, and at the same time they are contributing to the real research at research groups at the department. Within the framework of a course, students are working on real research projects, developing research skills and understanding and competence of the research process.

Goal & purpose

Research Practice in Biology BIO299 is a 10 ECTS elective course giving students practical experience with research as a process and work method. The course objective is for students to develop a better understanding of the research process and gain practical research experience and skills.

Through the 10 ECTS course (250 hours) students are working with real research activities, generating, analyzing and reporting data on a research project with a supervisor at the department. The aim of the course is to give students knowledge about the research process, at the same time as they are working on and contributing to a realTM research project. The students may be given responsibility for a stand-along component of a bigger research project, or participate in collaborative research together with others (such as data collection, field or lab work, data compilation). The student’s research is documented in a ‘scientific product’ which can be an IMRAD type report, but other formats (data papers, documented datasets, etc.) can be agreed with the supervisor.

During the course, students are engaged in meta conversations about what they are learning through a monthly seminar series with relevant topics such as research ethics, data ownership, how to work with a supervisor, social relevance of the research project, etc. are discussed. There is also a practical session on making and presenting posters. At a round table during each seminar, students share and discuss their experiences, challenges, and progress.

Students share their work, and get research outreach training, through writing a blog post about their work and presenting their results as a poster at the student poster session. The poster is also presented online through bioPITCH.

Assessment is based on a portfolio, following a standardized template. The portfolio includes the project description, scientific product, blog post, the poster and poster feedback, and an overview of working hours, a data sharing agreement between student and supervisor. The portfolio thus contains all course assignment and is graded according to the course rubric.


The students are supervised by individual researchers at the Department of biological sciences.
The course is open to students in their last year of their BSc or first year of MSc at all study programs at the department.
The course responsible is professor Vigdis Vandvik. Poster workshop and relevant seminars on writing are led by Dagmar Egelkraut. Study admin is Kristin Holtermann.


Students are responsible for finding a research project and a supervisor at the department. We are also asking for potential supervisor to contribute project descriptions that they are interested in student collaboration on.

The course includes


  • A seminar series
  • Poster workshop
  • Presentation at the student poster session
  • Individual research work with a supervisor at the department

Supporting documents:

Student’s products and artifacts:

  • Printed posters for the poster session
  • Presentation at the student poster session (link to toolkit poster session coming soon)
  • A digital presentation of the poster
  • A blog post
  • Course portfolio, including scientific report and datasets
  • Reflective pieces (alternative activity for missed seminars)

Other considerations

BIO299 Research practice in biology is a 10 ECTS course at the department of biological sciences. The 10 ECTS provides a limit for the amount of work included in the student project (approx. 250 hours including compulsory activities). Students are given credits for their work, and cannot be paid additionally.

Students generate research data and may obtain authorship rights to those data. This is regulated via the data sharing agreement.

Supervisors benefit from increased research capacity via research-based education, are supported by the course ‘meta’ structure, and train potential future graduate students.

MSc and PhD students can benefit from co-supervising 299 students.

Field and lab activities may necessitate insurance, health and safety measures, risk assessment.


  • Kristin Holtermann
  • Vigdis Vandvik