The University of Southampton

OPTO6013 Industrial Dissertation (R&D Dissertation)

Module Overview

The first part of the course is devoted to exploring a broad area of the topic and the current trends, assessed via short executive summary and an oral presentation. The second part consists of a more specialised dissertation which focuses on a particular idea, experimental design or a model, setting out the details and the requirements for a future R&D project and is assessed via a written report. Industrial dissertations will have their topics set by industrial companies and will be co-supervised by industrial partners. This module serves as preparation for the Industrially Co-Supervised Project/R&D Project OPTO6014 in semester 3.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this course is to develop skills in reading scientific and technology publications, their comprehension and in forming of critical judgement. It will involve independently carrying out a literature research on a set topics from the area of photonics, optoelectronics and optical telecommunications, of relevance to the current and future industrial applications and the effective communication of the findings in a written and as well as in oral presentations.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Develop ability to present complex material at a suitable level.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Effectively search the scientific literature, technical reports, papers and books as well as a variety of online resources.
  • Demonstrate independence in exploring scientific or technology concepts and with the aim of finding practical solutions.
  • Develop a critical approach to the general and technical literature and the ability to select the most relevant information.
  • Improve skills in writing a clear and structured report on a scientific topic.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop confidence and clarity in verbal communication.
  • Develop clarity in written communication.
  • Increase awareness and ability to manage time effectively to meet deadlines.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop document preparation skills including creating figures, equations, tables and a bibliography.
  • Process the most relevant information to provide a solution and explanation to a given scientific or technological problem, developing problem solving skills.


In the first part, the students will individually research a topic set by their industrial supervisors. The topic, accompanied by short abstract, will be from the current and upcoming ideas and challenges from the areas such as photonics, optoelectronics, optical telecommunications or related areas. Some may be interdisciplinary and include some elements of mathematics, biology, chemistry, engineering, nanoscience or related technologies and products. In general, the topics will not be routine, where detailed description is already available in textbooks or have been discussed at depth during lecture courses. The material gathered during from the scientific and technical literature research will need to be synthesised into coherent conclusions. Therefore, scientific judgement would be required in identifying key references, the core concepts and the main findings. This specialised content has to be set and discussed in a broader context of a particular area. Creativity, going beyond the abstracts are strongly encouraged. The module aims to set the students on a path to develop initiative as R&D researchers, being able to review and extract from literature the prospects of a particular technology or idea. It also aims to promote be self-sufficiency, learning how to manage such tasks independently. While supervisors will be available for consultation, the work will need to be carried out without seeking detailed scientific or technical supervision, help or guidance from academic or research staff. In the second part, more specialised topic will have to be researched and the report written, demonstrating again clear comprehension of more technical details, fundamental as well as practical constraints, as well as exercising critical judgement of the findings. The focus of this more technical dissertation is on gaining stronger confidence in exploring independently a particular idea or concept, developing analytical and problem solving skills to plan an experiment or a model to test given idea. It is also serves as training in time management, in particular working out the right balance between literature research, drawing conclusions and solving the challenges as well as writing up a report.

Special Features

Because of a very limited number of industrial projects available in the summer, which are directly linked to this course, the course will be offered to a small number of students who have the best marks in the lab component of the compulsory MSc courses running in semester 1.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

There will be an introductory lecture outlining the details of the module, its timeline, expectations and requirements. Academic/industrial supervisors will be available every week for one hour (office hour) for a drop in sessions, offering general advice and guidance, but not detailed supervision of the work.

Project supervision13
Wider reading or practice45
Completion of assessment task92
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

By re-write of the project report and re-viva (the original progress report mark will be carried forward) Students must get at least 50% mark to pass this course and progress to take Industrially Co-Supervised Project OPTO6014. The students who fail to meet this target will revert to taking the general OPTO6012 project. Furthermore, they have the following referral arrangements. By first Monday (9 am) of the Supplementary Exam period the students will need to submit: 1) their specialised industrial dissertation and 2) Power Point (or a similar format) file containing presentation of the main results of the first, more general part of their literature research. If the specialised dissertation was submitted and marked, improved and amended version has to be submitted. There will be no oral presentation of the results. Division of marks: Resubmitted report 50%, PPT presentation file 50%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation 55%
Presentation 25%
Written summary 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation %
Viva %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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