Head of Discipline for Chemistry

Valeria Arrighi


Staff by Sections

Inorganic Chemistry

Alan Welch

Jan-Willem Bos

James Cameron

Scott Dalgarno

Gareth Lloyd

Stuart Macgregor

Stephen Mansell 

Ruaraidh McIntosh

Organic Chemistry

Dave Adams

Euan Brown

Graeme Barker

Magnus Bebbington

Nicola Howarth

Arno Kraft

Ai-Lan Lee

Nick Leslie

Kevin McCullough

Colin Rickman

Filipe Vilela

Physical Chemistry

Ken McKendrick

Valeria Arrighi

David Bucknall

Matt Costen

Stuart Greaves

Maciej Gutowski

Martin McCoustra

N Hendrik Nahler

Martin Paterson

Experimental Officers and Administrative Staff

Dave Ellis

Georgina Rosair

Placement Coordinators

Industrial:  Scott Dalgarno

Honorary and Emeritus Staff

John Parker

Joe Pfab

James Cameron


Director of Academic Quality

+44 (0)131 451 3104
Room 3.08
David Brewster Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities
  • Chair of Chemistry Teaching Group
  • Chair of PQRS (EPS Teaching Operational group)
  • Chair of Staff-Student Liaison Committee
  • Chair of Chemistry Award, Progression and Assessment Boards
  • UCAS Admissions Tutor for Chemistry
  • Departmental Representative Higher Education Academy
  • Departmental Representative Chemistry Database Service

Chemical Education

After a number of years working with macrocyclic ligands, my main focus is now on how students learn, what encourages or discourages engagement with chemistry, particularly in early university education, and how the whole issue of induction impacts upon student performance and success throughout their undergraduate careers.

1. Induction

Early experiences of university can have a significant impact on the way that students settle into their programme. I am currently interested in exploring innovative methods of induction, both real and virtual, to identify the impact on student performance and ultimate progression.

2. Role of Practical Work in Chemistry

Practical work should be a joy for chemists to do, allowing the demonstration of the synergy between theory and experiment, illuminating the theoretical aspects and removing the dry nature of book-learning. All too often though some students can find experimental work a chore, and treat the subject as effectively a ‘follow the recipe’ exercise. I am interested in trying to identify how practical work could be made of more interest to these students so that the true synergy of theory and experiment are made clear.

3. Virtual Learning Environments

The web has opened up a whole new way of making information and tasks available to students via ‘virtual learning environments’ (VLEs). Although such systems have been around for a number of years, there is still a great deal to be done in developing their use to maximise their impact. Too often VLEs are simply repositories for notes, or used as noticeboards.   Identifying when and how students use such systems, and extending the reach of the materials to encourage more independent learning will make VLEs more than expensive electronic notebooks.