Dr Dave Harwood

Dr Dave Harwood

Course Examiner

UPEL Employees (HP)


One of my major roles as Director of the ISE is to support the development of excellence in Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Science and the Environment, in particular, improving the experience of undergradauates throughout the Faculty.

We are keen to encourage and support colleagues in research into pedagogy and teaching practices. Collectively we have a wealth of knowledge and innovation: we need to write about that so that others can benefit too.

I have managed the Extended Science programme for over 25 years now but will be handing over to my colleague Dr Roy Lowry in September 2016. This is still the most exciting and rewarding part of the job. Over 2700 students have graduated from the programme who would not otherwise have been able to enter university directly. I am proud to be associated with an excellent teaching team, without whom none of this would have been possible, and not least some fine and determined students who are pleasure to teach.


BSc (Hons) Chemistry (1979)

PhD - The Synthesis and Properties of Heterocyclic Analogues of Biphenyl Mesogens (1983)

Professional membership

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)

Chartered Chemist (CChem)

Higher Education Academy - Registered Practicioner (FHEA)

Roles on external bodies

Member of the Department of Health's working group on Health and the Indoor Environment.


Teaching interests

The Most Inspirational Teacher Award for 2011 was conferred on my be the University of Plymouth student union. This accolade from those on the receiving end means more to me than any other!
(I was also nominated for the outstanding personal tutor award) 

The Extended Science Programme: Chemistry, Study in Higher Education and Physics

Chemistry: Teaching Chemistry to non-chemists, Environmental Chemistry; Laboratory based teaching; Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Liquid Crystals, Forensic Science and Fourier Transform Infra Red Spectroscopy.

Environmental Science: The Chemistry of Environmental Systems, Chemical Resources, Environmental Pollution, the sustainable exploitation of resources, the indoor environment and health

Natural products and plants in the health, aroma and perfumery sectors

The History of Science

Improving the Public understanding of Science

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Chemistry)

Research interests

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Improving Access to Higher Education through University Based Courses

Widening Participation

Academic and Pastoral Support of Students in Higher Education

Creating and Developing Successful Learning Environments

Assessment and Curriculum Design for Developing Independent Learners

Particulates and the The Indoor Environment

Bovine Mastitis

Liquid Crystals

FTIR Spectroscopy
Plant Metabolomics

Other research

Foundation Degrees: Transition from FE to HE Learning cultures (supported by the HEA Physical Sciences Subject Centre)

Extended (Year Zero) Courses and Increasing Uptake in Higher Education

Collaborative projects at the FE/HE interface (with Prof C J Banford-White (LMU))

Design and Devlopment of Inclusive Assessment Methodologies (with the SPACE project)

Teaching Strategies for overcoming Misconceptions in Science Students

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

George Richardson, MPhil (part-time) (2001) The Development and Application of Novel Technology for Improving Indoor Environments

David Hulse, PhD (1996) An Investigation into the Fate of Benzylpenicillin and its Degradation Compounds in Milk Following Intramammary treatments for Bovine Mastitis

Grants & contracts

Member of the Science Learning Centre South West Management Team: SLC-SW is a £2.8m project funded by HEFCE Wellcome, from 2004. The University of Plymouth is partnered in this by the University of Bristol and @-Bristol. (Prof Linda Lavelle, Faculty of Education at Exmouth is also a UoP member). This grant was extended in 2011 with a further £2.1m award and ends in 2014.

£5,000 from HEA Physical Sciences Subject Centre: FdSc Courses and Transition rom FE to HE (2006-7)

£8900 from SLC-SW; enhancement of FTIR instrumentation as a teaching tool; a Photoacoustic detector (2006)

£14,000 from SLC-SW; Software and Hardware for Remote operation of an Electron Microscope - bringing leading edge science into the classroom (with Dr Roy moate, EME; 2007)

KTP studentship with Roddas Ltd (2009-10) and Ameenah Okedara, MSc to study the phase behaviour of clotted cream. This project was budgeted at just under £50,000 and has to date saved the company many times that amount.

Shorter KTP to continue the above with Dr Victor Kuri and Ameenah Okedara; project ended May 2011

£30,000 from the STEM hub at Bath University to study Adult Returners to Higher Education through non-standard routes. We worked with Dr Jan Peters of Katalytic on this project, along with the universities of Bristol, Bath and UWE as well as Petroc, South Devon and Plymouth City Colleges, the open College network and the Open University, 2012 .   I am currently working on the synthesis and characterisation of a novel series of liquid crystalline compounds with Josh Bourner, one of my undergraduate students.

Research groups

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Institute for Science Education

Brown, Murray T.; Neish, Anna and Harwood, David (2004) Comparison of three techniques for identifying isomorphic phases of Chondus Crispus (gigartinaceae). Journal of Applied Phycology, vol 16, 447-50.

Harwood JR and Harwood DJ: (2004) Delivering Higher Education in a Further Education Learning Environment. Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol 28, (2) 153-164

Harwood DJ; (2003) The Progression of non-Standard Undergraduates from the Extended Science Programme. SPAT National Conference, University of Plymouth, 16.1.2003

Harwood DJ and Abbey C (2003) Identification of Critical Factors in the Recrtuitment and Progression of Foundation Level Students in Undergraduate Science. www.physsci.ltsn.ac.uk/resources/development/projects

Harwood DJ; (2003) Student Support at Early Stages of Undergraduate Study. National conference on Student tutoring – Making a difference. Aston University, 7.11.2002

Harwood, DJ and Jervis L: (2002) Widening Participation in Science: The University of Plymouth Experience with Extended Science. National Teaching Fellows Conference, London, November 2002

Harwood, DJ: (2002) Transition and Student Support – What’s missing? National Conference on Student Support and Tutoring. University of Plymouth, 27.11.2002

Harwood, DJ Science Foundation Programmes – A Way Forward. National Transition to HE Conference, 31.10.2001, University of Plymouth.

Harwood, J.R and Harwood, D.J. (1999) Graduate skills for the 21st century. In: The Learning Society (Edited by Dunne, E.), Kogan Page.

Harwood, D.J., O’Hare, T. and Witt, N. (1999) Computer Aided Learning in Science, SEED Working paper Series.

Harwood DJ (2000) The Role of Laboratories in Bringing Foundation Students to Chemistry. LTSN Physical Sciences National Event, Nov 2000, Univ of Leeds. available on

http//: dbweb.liv.ac.uk/ltsnpsc/workshop/reports/labchem

Reports & invited lectures

Keynote: Year Zero Courses; "from Ground zero to Graduate - A success story"; Leeds 14th June 2007

Lectures for Schools and Colleges: Climate Change, Forensic Science, Liquid Crystals, Careers in Science, Exciting Chemistry.
I am a regular contributor to HEA subject centre conferecnes and worskhops on science educational themes; in particular the use of laboratories and demonstrations in science teaching and making assesment more meaningful, accesible and creative.
I am the author of a large number of reviews of books, videos and other educational materials and contribute regularly to Physical Sciences Educational Reviews. My reviews have appeared in the last seven consecutive issues!