Master of Science in Validation and Digitalisation Technologies

  • NFQ Level 9
  • Credits 90*
  • Course Code SG_SVALI_M09
  • Award Masters (Taught)
  • Duration 3 years

Course Summary

Programme Code: SG_SVALI_O09

 The Medical Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical sectors are among the fastest growing in the Life Sciences area both nationally and internationally.

This programme is jointly offered by ATU Sligo and NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training).

This Masters programme in Science in Validation and Digitialisation aims to provide students with a comprehensive grounding in critical aspects of Biopharmaceutical Processing and Support Services, with specific focus on the validation of equipment and facilities and understating of the applications of BioIndustry 4.0.

The programmes are aimed at manufacturing, quality, engineering and site management personnel who are looking to increase their understanding and application of the latest digital trends and technologies in the validation and digitalisation fields and who already hold a Level 8 qualification in science or engineering disciplines.

It will provide a postgraduate qualification in the area of digitalisation that will form both an introduction for new or proposed entrants to the area and additional skills and knowledge to those working in the area. 

Modules include:

  • Biologics Manufacturing     
  • Facility Design and Operation       
  • Regulation, Risk and Compliance      
  • Commissioning, Qualification & Validation      
  • Scale Up and Technology Transfer     
  • Introduction to BioIndustry 4.0     
  • Biologics Manufacturing: Current and Future       
  • Regulation, Risk and Compliance (Elective)    
  • Research Methods Biopharma (Elective 1)      
  • Bio Industry 4.0 Theory and Practice       
  • Bio Industry Data & Digital Technologies       
  • Biopharmaceutical Dissertation

NIBRT/ATU Sligo have consulted extensively with biopharmaceutical employers located both regionally and nationally to determine the types of skills and training needs required for this sector and all have indicated that there are skills shortages emerging in certain areas and occupations, in particular around validation and data analytics.  Senior management, who have responsibility for training and hiring within these organisations, have indicated that significant job openings will arise in the biosciences industry in the next few years, between expansion and replacement demand and a highly skilled pool of graduates will be needed to fill their manufacturing roles.

These proposed programmes are a joint initiative by ATU Sligo and NIBRT who have enjoyed a long-standing working relationship with the shared vision of offering targeted training aligned to and directly addressing the skills requirements of the Biopharma/Pharmachem sector, identified in the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report on the Future Skills Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland.

In Q4 2020, Boston Consulting Group and NIBRT have opened the world’s first Innovation Centre, in Dublin, dedicated to Biopharma Operations. The Innovation Centre showcases the latest Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies in Biopharma manufacturing, quality control and training excellence. These technologies are integrated with core operating processes to enable proof-of-concept use cases on new innovations and new ways of working, situated in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) simulated environment.

The biopharmaceutical industry is among Ireland’s most significant investors. There are 84,000 highly skilled people directly and indirectly employed in the sector and the expectation is that this will increase by up to 10,000 jobs over the next 5 years, (NIBRT Annual Report, 2022).

Key Course Information

Live Lectures: 
Lectures will be held 2-3 evenings per week in year 1 and year 2. Students who are unable to attend the live online lectures will have access to watch back recorded lectures.  Learning material in year 1 and 2 will be released on a weekly basis in small chunks on the Moodle virtual learning environment. All assessments will be via moodle also and all additional reading material and resources will be linked to the moodle page for each module.

Examinations & Assessments
100% continuous assessment. Some or all of the following assessment modes may apply: examinations, practical work, projects, essays, vivas, seminars, and various forms of assignment. 

Study Hours    
It is recommended students allow 6hrs on average per week per 5ECTS module. 

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

The programme is open to students who have obtained an honours degree or its equivalent in an appropriate discipline (i.e. Engineering or Life Sciences). Other candidates with alternative honours degrees and experience in the BioProcessing industry may apply for consideration (typically 5 years duration in a GMP environment). The entry requirements will encompass recognition of prior accredited learning in other third level institutions, in accordance with ATU procedures.

RPL is a process that may allow you to gain admission to a programme or to receive exemptions / credit from some parts of a programme based on demonstrated learning that you may have achieved through another programme of study or through your work and career. Further information is available through which our dedicated RPL portal or by contacting our admissions team at

English requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English should provide evidence of English language proficiency. For further information on English language requirements click here


Career Opportunities

Graduates from this programme can expect to find employment in the Biopharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Diagnostics, Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical sectors, at the appropriate level. In the development of this programme emphasis has been placed on aligning the course content with the skills required by the Biopharmaceutical industry, whilst ensuring that there is sufficient flexibility to allow students to move laterally into associated careers including Research and Development opportunities. Graduates are typically employed in managerial positions in Scientific, Operations and Quality Assurance / Control positions in the Biopharmaceutical and Biotechnology industry sectors both in Ireland and abroad.

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees
Total Programme Fee: €12,000
To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage. 
If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.
For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.
If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage.