Research projects

Read about the latest education-related research projects that staff within the School of Biological Sciences are involved with.

Faculty of Life Sciences Education Innovation Grant for a staff and student lead community garden and allotment

Over the last few months a team of staff from Biological Sciences, External Estates, Sustainability and the Bristol SU Roots Community Gardening Society have been pursuing the development of a staff/student lead community garden and allotment on an abandoned site of land behind the David Smith building (St Micheals Hill). With the assistance of an Education Innovation Grant from the Faculty of Life Sciences, and a team of willing volunteers, the garden is now blooming with life. The creation of the garden is timely with the creation of the School’s new Plant Sciences degree programme.

With time we hope the garden will become a dedicated space for third- and fourth-year biology project students to conduct ‘field’ experiments as well as a general outdoor teaching space. The garden is already acting as a space to communicate University of Bristol research activities, such as the planting of wildflower meadows to promote urban pollinators. The garden is a showcase for both student-staff collaboration and for ideas to improve employability and wellbeing.

We are investigating the idea of composting certain green waste generated on campus and will be liaising with the Langford campus for collection of stable manure as a means of reducing ongoing compost/manure costs. All produce sold from the allotment goes back into the project to cover annual costs, thus working towards it becoming self-sustaining.

But most of all the garden is a space welcome to all, a space to relax, have meetings and offer a chance for those interesting in developing their green fingers in helping to care and look after it.

Educational Enhancement Fund (EEF) from Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching (BILT)

Awarded in 2017 to the sum of £3000 to Dr. Andy Wakefield, Dr. Rose Murray and Dr. Emily Bell.

The use of technology in higher education teaching can have multiple benefits for learners. For a long time the use of video by teachers has provided a helpful medium for stimulating learner interest in a topic and for enabling deep learning. While there is ample evidence for the various merits of video as a teaching aid, there is relatively little discussion about the benefits of student-produced video as an assessment tool. Our project has focused on the use of film making as a novel means of assessment in an undergraduate Biology/Zoology degree. We have created an open source interactive ‘how-to-guide’ for both teachers and learners that contains step-by-step instructions on how to use particular audio-visual production/editing software as well as helpful advice on suitable equipment. In addition, we have created an appropriate framework for evaluation of the students’ video projects. The intended outcome of the project was to provide students with a new broad set of transferable skills including group working, digital capability, project management and presentation all of which will help to increase their employability after graduation. We aimed to instil confidence in the students, to heighten engagement with their subject material and enhance their learning experience. The project is due to be completed in 2018.

Life Sciences Allotment Image credit: University of Bristol
The exterior of the Life Sciences building
The Life Sciences building Image credit: University of Bristol
A wide shot of the Biology teaching labs interior.
As a student you will benefit from our excellent facilities in our fully-equipped labs. Image credit: University of Bristol
An interior shot of the Biology teaching labs
Image credit: University of Bristol

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