Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Biorenewable Feedstocks
Academic Year
Distance Learning
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Forum posts  : students will be required to post at least once in each forum and to reply at least once to another students post. The forum will be assessed on quality, quantity, relevance and manner of each post (total word count 1,500)  25%
Semester Assessment Case report  on feedstocks (2,500 words)  45%
Semester Assessment Essay  on fossil carbon replacement and societal issues associated with the application (and non-application) of different biotechnology options (2,000 words)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to the failure of the module  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically evaluate the challenges facing land based agriculture to substitute for fossil carbon.

2. Evaluate the relative limitations and merits of a range of feedstocks and match feedstocks to potential end-use.

3. Demonstrate a fundamental and practical knowledge of crop performance traits and the technologies available for crop improvement.

4. Demonstrate an awareness of the potential impact and limitations associated with the application (and non-application) of different biotechnology options such as GM.

Brief description

This module, driven by on-going biorefining and bioenergy research at Aberystwyth University, will focus on research into a range of feedstocks including dedicated crops, agricultural waste and food waste streams. We will explore how and why research programmes in dedicated crops can improve feedstocks and how this drives the bio-economy. We will begin with an overall introduction to industrial crop breeding and feedstock improvement and look at the societal drivers and impacts of this sector. Students will gain understanding and appreciation of the technologies used to identify variation in feedstocks and to improve yield and composition including: trait analysis, imaging and spectral analysis, conventional breeding, GM and association genetics.


To provide students with in-depth knowledge of the aims, objectives and the technologies used in industrial crop breeding and feedstock improvement.


The course will consist of a series of lectures and guided learning focused on:
  • the objectives and methodologies involved in crop breeding
  • agricultural and food waste streams
  • matching feedstock to enduse
  • the scale of the challenge facing land-based crop production in the 21st century
  • the role of emerging technologies to meet these needs sustainably
  • practical and economic considerations to scaling up production
The module will deliver the content through a series of recorded lectures, interviews and discussions between researchers at IBERS. The students will be given a reading list of 'essential' and 'recommended' articles and books. They will be expected to interact through forums with other students and the course tutor/researcher. The module will also contain assessments which will encourage students to apply the research they have learnt about in the module to real-life scenarios.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be required to apply basic statistical analysis to crop trait data and will be introduced to more advanced statistical analysis associated with genetic studies.
Communication Students will be expected to be able to express themselves appropriately in their assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Detailed feedback will be given for assignment work. This will be assessed through the feedback providing general guidance towards the student's next assignment. Especially with the formative assignment that will be due before any summative assignments.
Information Technology Students will be required to source information from a variety of scientific publication data bases and to use Blackboard for all aspects of the module.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will provide the students with the latest research into feedstock selection and improvement to help them provide the most up-to-date information/advice to their colleagues/clients in the biotech Industry.
Problem solving Online forum posts will be used to help develop and improve students problem solving skills, through use of questions that present theoretical problems for the students to solve.
Research skills Students will be required to undergo directed self-study and so will develop their literature research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific concepts relating to feedstock selection and improvement will be developed and assessed throughout the module.
Team work Online assessments will require students to debate among themselves to develop a consensus of opinion.


This module is at CQFW Level 7