Biographies of Council Members

Picture of Professor Simon Lancaster CChem FRSC NTF

Professor Simon Lancaster CChem FRSC NTF


Simon’s PhD is from the University of East Anglia where he developed some spectacularly active catalysts for alkene polymerisation. His academic career began with a four year spell as a research officer at Leeds University. He returned to a lectureship at UEA on Valentine’s Day 2000. He served on the East Anglia Region local committee of the RSC for many years organising events for academics and the general public. Simon’s contribution to the student experience at UEA was recognised by a Sir Geoffrey and Lady Allen Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.  Later that year he was promoted to Senior Lecturer. In 2011 he chaired the organising committee for the RSC Coordination Chemistry Discussion Group meeting at UEA. In 2013 Simon received the RSC Higher Education Teaching Award and was selected as a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy for his practice and promotion of active learning.  The following year he was promoted to a chair in Chemical Education. Simon champions striking a balance between content and concepts in our curricula to promote lifelong appreciation of the beauty and relevance of chemistry. He is the chair of the RSC Tertiary Education Group and communications officer for the Association of National Teaching Fellows.

Picture of Dr Julie Hyde CChem FRSC

Dr Julie Hyde CChem FRSC

Elected Member

Dr Julie Hyde started her chemistry career as an Analytical Chemist working for a large chemical company for several years, she also studied part-time on day release courses to achieve entry qualifications for University.  Julie studied full-time for her first degree in pure Chemistry at Queen Mary College, University of London.  After, Julie moved into lecturing/teaching Chemistry in Further Education (FE), for the final 5 years at College she was Head of Department for Dental, Science and Animal Care.  Whilst teaching in FE, Julie studied part-time study for a PhD in Organometallic Chemistry and Crystallography at The University of Sheffield, which she finished after 9 years.  In 2007, Julie joined The University of Sheffield Chemistry Department as a University Teacher and was promoted to Senior University Teacher in 2014.  Julie manages the Schools Liaison Outreach Team, is the Course Director for Chemistry with Study in Industry also, Laboratory Manager for the joint BSc with Nanjing Tech University where she teaches in China for 3 months each year.

Julie’s involvement with the RSC started whilst at University. After graduation she became MRSC C.Chem. and by 2001 FRSC. Julie has been a committee member for the Sheffield and District local section for many years holding various positions both locally and nationally currently she is currently Chair.  Julie spent 6 years on the RSC National schools and colleges committee and 5 years on the NEERED committee where she was involved in putting on national and regional meetings for teachers.  Julie was concerned that there was no place for chemistry teachers nationally to network, working with the RSC she started the Secondary and Further Education Group (SaFE) which was launched in 2015.  Currently having two successful national conferences, this group aims to do more to support teachers.

Picture of Dr Andrew Wills CChem FRSC

Dr Andrew Wills CChem FRSC

Elected Member

Andrew Wills is Reader at the Department of Chemistry. He joined UCL as a Royal Society Senior Research Fellow in 2002, following undergraduate studies at Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Edinburgh University and positions at McMaster University, the Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Grenoble - Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CENG-CEA), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Institut Max von Laue-Paul Langevin (ILL). His research interests are focussed on discovering new magnetic properties and new states of matter. This field crosses the traditional disciplines of chemistry and physics and brings together symmetry theory, materials synthesis, physical property measurement, and research software engineering. Within UCL Dr Wills has worked on several of UCL’s standing committees and helped UCL realise its programmes for research-based learning and staff development, the Connected Curriculum and ARENA. His commitment to education has been recognised by a Senior Fellowship from the HEA and 2 Provost’s Teaching Awards, and his research has won several national awards, including the Times Higher Education Research Project of the Year. (2010).   

Picture of Dr Niki Kaiser

Dr Niki Kaiser

Elected Member

Niki is a Chemistry teacher at Notre Dame High School in Norwich and the Network Research Lead for the EEF/IEE Norwich Research School. She is a committed Chemistry teacher, who founded initiatives such as a Science Journal Club and Chemistry Olympiad Club to encourage and support the students in her school.   

Niki studied for both her BSc and PhD (Chemistry) at the University of Leeds. She then worked as a Marine Biogeochemist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, crossing the Equator multiple times as she investigated ocean-atmospheric interactions as part of the Atlantic Meridional Transect programme. During her Post-Doc, Niki did outreach activities in local schools, and discovered how much she enjoyed helping others to understand Science, so she decided to train as a teacher. 

Niki is particularly interested in finding ways of using educational research to inform teaching, and she blogs regularly about Teaching and Learning. 

Mrs Emma Rivers MRSC

Elected Member

Following a chemistry degree from Durham in 1992, I started my career in the accounting profession, qualifying with one of the big four firms. During this time my interesting teaching and learning developed when I became the office training manager, taught on national residential courses and wrote teaching material for use by the firm worldwide. During a career break in 2006 I reignited my interest in chemistry, undertaking a medicinal chemistry masters-level course with the Open University. I subsequently volunteered in a local secondary school before completing a PGCE at Sussex in 2011.Joining my current school in 2015, in addition to teaching GCSE and A-level chemistry, I am a mentor for a newly qualified teacher, have led on the use of technology within teaching and learning and have an interest in issues relating to the achievements in chemistry of both SEN and G&T students. In 2016 I was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Educational Techniques Teacher Fellowship with which I am undertaking a small action research project. I am a firm believer that educational research should inform teaching practice, but for classroom teachers it can be difficult to access and find time to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Picture of Professor Dudley Edmund Shallcross CChem FRSC

Professor Dudley Edmund Shallcross CChem FRSC

Elected Member

Dudley Shalllcross was the first National Teaching Fellow for chemistry in the UK in 2004 and has received three Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Education awards in 2005 (Higher Education Teaching Award), 2008 (Tertiary Education Award) and 2017 (Nyholm Prize) in addition to other awards for contributions to science education. 

Dudley’s work in support of secondary school science education is well known through the Outreach Programme that he led as a co-Director of the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2005-2010). In Primary School science education he has been Director of the Primary Science Teaching Trust from 2010 to the present day and had led many initiatives that support excellent teaching of science at this level. These achievements illustrate his deep commitment to science education at primary, secondary and tertiary level. Through his research in atmospheric chemistry he also works with undergraduate and postgraduate students and research Fellows and has a very wide experience base of science education in general and chemistry education in particular in the UK and abroad. He has supported RSC at local level (ca. 10 years) where he has been Education Officer, Chair and Secretary and has written reviews on appropriate maths for chemists and an innovative pedagogies article on practical chemistry teaching for the HEA.

Picture of Dr Michael Seery CChem FRSC

Dr Michael Seery CChem FRSC

Elected Member

Michael Seery is a Reader in Chemistry Education at the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh. His research interests align with two main themes: (1) technology enhanced learning to prepare students for learning and (2) laboratory education. Two ongoing topics of research are studying the role of preparation for laboratory work in chemistry, and exploring student study approaches in early undergraduate chemistry. He is a previous winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Higher Education Teaching Award, the (Irish) National Association for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning Award, and the Jennifer Burke Award. He is Chair of the Editorial Board of Education in Chemistry, a magazine published by the RSC for chemistry teachers, as well as being Associate Editor of the journal Chemistry Education Research and Practice. He maintains a blog on various aspects of education at 

Picture of Mrs Samia El-Ali CSci CChem MRSC

Mrs Samia El-Ali CSci CChem MRSC

Appointed Member

Currently Head of Chemistry and Senior Subject Leader in Science at Claremont High School Academy in Brent. She studied Biochemistry at UCL and was tempted to join the teaching profession following rewarding two years working as a voluntary teacher in post-war Liberia. Samia worked for three years as a Librarian at a primary school before returning to university to gain her PGCE. Samia joined the RSC in 2010 following a series of very rewarding participation in RSC initiatives including Top of the Bench, Salters Festival of Chemistry, Chemistry Week lectures and being on the Chiltern and Middlesex Education Committee. She has since hosted an RSC Teach Meet, helped to set up an online assessment tool, being part of the promotional video for RSC membership and last year was very proud of her successful application to become a Chartered Chemist. Samia actively promotes ChemNet to her students and has been instrumental in the rise of university applications for the chemical sciences at Claremont.   

She has been teaching for over 15 years now and has a keen interest in the wider applications of Chemistry and in assessment. Her interests in teaching and learning range from assessment, independent learning, flipped learning, enrichment of learning, raising achievement of boys and stretching most able students. Samia enjoys writing her own teaching material and her main focus is assessment, schemes of work, transition between key stages and practical work. She is a GCSE and GCE examiner as well as a curriculum development writer for Pearson.   

Picture of Dr Simon Rees MRSC

Dr Simon Rees MRSC

Appointed Member

Simon studied for his degree (Marine sciences) and Ph.D. (Biochemistry) at Newcastle University and worked for the NHS before studying for his PGCE at Northumbria University.  He has taught chemistry at secondary level (Prudhoe High School), F.E. (subject leader for chemistry, New College, Durham) and now in H.E. (teaching fellow – The Foundation Centre, Durham University).  He is also chair of the RSC Educational Techniques group (#edtech_rsc).  His particular interests in chemistry education are: the language of chemistry, online experimentation resources and widening participation.

Sheeba Viswarajan FHEA

Appointed Member

I am a Senior Lecturer in Science (Secondary Education) in the Cass School of Education at the University of East London.  
I embarked on my career in education in India, after completing a Masters in Organic Chemistry. After a successful teaching career spanning nearly 17 years in India and subsequently England, I joined the Higher Education sector in 2013. Here along with teaching on the PGCE course I also manage and teach on the Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. I am very passionate about improving the subject knowledge of my trainee teachers and I am proud that many of my SKE trainees have bagged the prestigious RSC scholarship for teacher training. It gives me great professional satisfaction to say the UEL’s high quality SKE chemistry course was the first one in the country to be accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  
I also supervise Masters Dissertations of in-service science teachers and provide, on-demand, subject support for NQTs and ex-trainees.  Additionally I am the Programme Leader for Teaching and Learning for iPGCE (international) at UEL, which will start from this autumn term.    

I am currently pursuing a doctorate in the effectiveness of practical work in secondary GCSE science lessons and I believe trainee teachers need to be explicitly supported in developing the skills required for the practical work in schools. I also work with local secondary schools on Crest Award projects. Outside of chemistry I enjoy group exercise and cultivating my organic vegetable patch. 

Dr Craig Early MRSC

Appointed Member

I am currently the Head of Academy at a Primary school in Spalding, which is part of an 8 school multi-academy trust. Before that, I was a subject leader in Science in a large, 3 form entry primary school, and successfully took the school through successive PSQM awards in Silver and Gold, as well as being recognised as a "hub of science excellence" during my 8 years there. I won the Primary Science Teacher of the Year Award in 2015, and became inducted into the PSTT College as a College Fellow the following year. I have written materials for websites such as the BBC and Teachit Primary, as well as writing the supporting documents for 137 primary resources on the RSC's Learn Chemistry Platform. I have presented workshops and delivered training to a variety of different audiences, through the ASE, STEM Network at York and the PSTT International Primary Science Conference in Belfast. I am an SLE in Primary Science for the Connect Teaching School Alliance, which involves providing tailored school to school support in Science from curriculum provision to assessment. I deliver training for ITT Students in Primary Science and am also part of the strategic vision group for the Science Learning Partnership in Lincolnshire, as well as being a Science Trainer for this SLP.

Dr Elizabeth Stevenson MRSC

Co-opted Member

Elizabeth Stevenson is a Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. She has designed and deivered outreach and public engagement activities for schools, festivals and CPD for teachers for ove 20 years.  She has taught chemistry and science communication in H.E. for over 10 years. 

Picture of Professor David Smith CChem FRSC

Professor David Smith CChem FRSC

Representative of a Board

David Smith is currently the Faculty Education Director and Undergraduate Dean for the Faculty of Science, and Deputy Head of the School of Chemistry.

David was born and brought up in Durham. As an undergraduate, he studied Natural Sciences at Girton College, Cambridge, where he remained to perform research in infrared laser spectroscopy, being awarded his PhD in 1992. Following post-doctoral work at the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, he was appointed to a lectureship in the School of Chemistry at the University of Exeter in 1997. Whilst in Exeter, he acted as undergraduate admissions tutor for four years and was involved in undergraduate teaching at all levels, in just about every area of physical chemistry. His interests and experience in undergraduate teaching saw him go on to take over responsibility for the teaching of both Chemistry and Biological Sciences at Exeter.


In 2005 David moved to Bristol to join the team leading the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project. He also acted as Admissions Tutor for the School of Chemistry and Faculty Admissions and Widening Participation Officer for the Faculty of Science for a number of years. David remains active in outreach, having been a member of the Chemistry for our Future Advisory Group, and played a similar role for the regional HE-STEM programme. He was awarded the 2007 Engagement Award in the Faculty of Science by the Engaged University Steering Group.


David was appointed as Faculty Education Director in 2012, and promoted to professor in 2013. As Faculty Education Director, David not only takes responsibility for all aspects of undergraduate education in the Faculty of Science, but also has special responsbility for a number of University-level initiatives. These include acting as project lead for the partnership with FutureLearn, which has already seen the University launch two highly successful MOOCs. Other particular interests include supporting undergraduate students in making the transition from school or college to university education and in developing study skills.


David is currently leading on the innovative Bristol Futures initiative, which aims to build on the University of Bristol’s strength in research-informed education, by putting a renewed emphasis on the development of wider graduate attributes and skills. He has particular responsibility for the development of three open FutureLearn courses, in Innovation & enterprise, Global Citizenship and Sustainable Futures, as well as ensuring that all University of Bristol students have the opportunity to engage in Professional and Community Engagement activities.


Outside the University, David is chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Committee for Accreditation and Validation and is involved in a number of publishing projects in science education with Oxford University Press.