Dr James Barker
Winner: 2020 Award for Exceptional Service
Kingston University and RSC Registration Committee
For outstanding service to the Royal Society of Chemistry through supporting and developing professional development activities for our community, and taking an active role in our governance committees.
Celebrate Dr James Barker
Dr Barker’s work has played a leading role in the successful development and promotion of skills across all levels in the chemical sciences, both on a local and national basis. He is Vice-Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Registration Committee, providing oversight of the professional awards that the RSC operate under licence or in collaboration with other bodies, ensuring standards are maintained. He is also an assessor for the Chartered Chemist, Chartered Scientist and Chartered Science Teacher status and in-house company training schemes for CSci, RSci and RSciTech. He is also a member of the Committee for Accreditation and Verification of degree courses, as an Analytical Chemistry branch assessor.Read full biography
Dr James Barker was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and grew up in Mottram-in-Longdendale, Cheshire. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Chemistry and PhD in nuclear methods for bioanalysis. He then became a Research Fellow at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, working with the ISOLDE team developing ion source materials for CERN's beam-lines. Later, he returned to UK as a Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at University of Greenwich. He then became AMS Manager of the world's first wholly commercial Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of York. Since 1999, he has been at Kingston University as Reader in Analytical Science and latterly as Associate Professor. He is the School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry’s Director of Postgraduate Research and Deputy Director of Research and Enterprise.
Dr Barker has published over 150 articles, including 70 peer-reviewed papers and a book “Mass Spectrometry”, and has successfully supervised 20 PhD students. His research interests lie in the analysis of drugs of abuse, pharmacognosy, the development of nuclear science for pharmaceutical applications and environmental analysis. He is on the Editorial Board for four journals in Chemistry and the Environment and has been an Expert Witness at High Court trials in Forensic Toxicology.
He is an Assessor on the RSC’s Committee for Accreditation and Validation and an Assessor for CChem, CSci and CSciTeach awards. He is Vice-Chair of the Registration Committee and a former Chair of the Analytical Chemists' Panel of Assessors, formerly the Analytical Chemists’ Registration Board.
Outside of academia, Dr Barker takes part in outreach science activities in local schools, plays cricket for his village team, follows Manchester United FC and has recently started to learn bell-ringing.
What have you personally got out of volunteering?
I have always enjoyed reading through the diversity of chemical degree courses that I have been asked to assess for accreditation. I have been inspired by many and used their ideas to expand my own teaching, learning and assessment practice. The advancement of E-learning over the last 25 years in which I have taught has revolutionised this.
What is special about the networks of the Royal Society of Chemistry?
I would encourage anyone who aspires to develop their skills and knowledge through either academic qualifications or vocational/technical based assessments to consider the specific Royal Society of Chemistry award of CChem and the broader mandatory or professional qualifications/registers of CSci, RSci, RSciTech, CSciTeach, CEnv, CMgr, SiLC, MChemA and QP. The award of chartered status alongside the professional registers recognises the well-developed skills, knowledge and professionalism of those working within the chemical sciences.