“The experience I gained from my industrial placement had a significant influence in me acquiring my PhD studentship.”

The MSc in Industrial Biotechnology is an unique collaborative twelve month educational programme, with teaching spread across a number of Scottish HEI’s. It also offers students valuable exposure to and experience in an industrial environment.

Blair Mackie was one of IBioIC’s 2017/18 MSc students. He undertook a ten week industrial placement with uFraction8, which allowed him to continue his academic career.

'Over the twelve month MSc programme, I have significantly improved my time management skills during the course due to the scheduled assessments and assignments from different classes, so there was a need to prioritise my workload. I also learned the importance of communicating with a variety of people who may not be an expert in the field you are working on, but could provide a different way of looking at something which may be beneficial, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of life sciences.'

'My ten week industrial placement was with uFraction8, a start-up biotech company based in Falkirk with laboratory space at Heriot-Watt University. I was responsible for collaborating with waste management companies who wish to dewater digestate material (a by-product of anaerobic digestion). Using microfluidic techiques, I carried out a wide range of experiments using different samples. The most significant skill I learned was the ability to work autonomously, as there was a big emphasis from my industrial supervisors that I should take ownership of the project and make it my own. I also gained the opportunity to attain insight into many aspects of running a start-up biotechnology company.

I have been fortunate, and I was offered a fully funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh. The topic matches the subject I am most interested in, and I am certain the learning I gained from the MSc core and elective modules and the experience I gained from the 10 week industrial placement had significant influence in me acquiring my studentship.'


uFraction8 develops technology for liquid-particle separation and processing, mainly for biomanufacturing market but also exploring other market possibilities such as the one pursued by both IBioIC MSc students.

'Blair's work exceeded our expectations and we would be very willing to take on more MSc students in the future.'

'Blair worked on our new project of digestate separation. Their work was very useful for company development, to help us decided whether to proceed into this market. They worked with a range of different samples from collaborating with other companies and produced a very useful suite of results along with helpful analyses and comments.

Ten week industrial placements are a great opportunity to engage with upcoming biotechnology stars of the future, and give them an opportunity within real life industrial biotechnology laboratories, which definitely helps progress their future careers.'