AIT launches the first ever national designated degree in microbiology

After two years in planning and development, AIT has launched an innovative and pioneering BSc (Hons ) degree in microbiology, which is the only designated microbiology course offered on the CAO system.

The unique programme addresses a substantial skills shortage in the region and has been backed by industry.

Speaking at the launch of the course, Lorraine Danaher, regional skills manager, said: “The jobs-focused nature of the course aligns excellently with the top hiring trends in Ireland for 2017, which include medtech, bioinformatics, pharmachem, and environmental regulation. This exciting new course in microbiology addresses regional job skill shortage needs and will provide graduates with the requisite skill sets for employment in the existing and planned biopharma and medtech cluster located in the Midlands.”

AIT staff have the expertise and authority to educate students from BSc (Hons ) to doctoral level in the discipline of microbiology. Many of the staff lecturing on this course are actively involved in research in different areas of microbiology, so are up to date with current trends in microbiology research.

Dr Andy Fogarty, course co-ordinator, outlined the considerable strengths of this unique course, which include an integrated microbiological placement and industry-focused modules such as principles of sterilisation, good manufacturing practices, bioinformatics (which involves the use of data analytics in a biological context ), industrial bioprocessing, and food and brewing microbiology.

The overarching theme of this programme is to provide microbiology graduates with an in-depth knowledge of practical microbiology with particular emphasis on asepsis, thus enabling graduates to readily gain employment in indigenous and multi-national companies.

A routine search of Irish Jobs websites using the term “microbiology” will typically show upwards of 50-plus jobs for microbiology degree holders. The study of microbiology unlocks a vast range of career opportunities across several sectors including biopharma, medtech, food and brewing, agri-businesses, water treatment, and pollution control, as well as manufacturing facilities that require clean room facilities.

Another innovative features of this course is the teaching of microbiology through problem and enquiry-based learning. Dr Carol O’Donnell, head of life and physical science, commented that the course will provide graduates with competencies in a wide range of essential transferable skills including communications, statistical analysis, data analytics, problem-solving, decision-making, project and time management, team work, entrepreneurship, and business acumen.

For course details see www.ait.ie/courses/bsc-hons-in-microbiology

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