Nick is a Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, teaching at the interface of Organic Chemistry and Molecular Biology with an emphasis on student-student interaction and peer support of learning. He has a keen interest in supporting staff and students involved in teaching and learning to embed and evidence teaching excellence and innovation.
Based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Nick runs a comprehensive programme of Public Engagement with Research and Researchers, aiming to provide as many different opportunities as possible for staff and students to discuss their work with a range of audiences and community groups.
Outside of his day job, Nick maintains a commitment to student wellbeing and welfare as a long-serving coach for the University of Manchester Trampoline Club and member of the Residential Life Team, supporting residents in university-leased accommodation.
Nick came to Manchester in 2009 to read for a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Molecular Biology and graduated in 2012. Following this he undertook a Ph.D. within the Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis (CoEBio3), finishing his studies on the discovery and engineering of class I lyase-like enzymes in 2015. He continued his work as a postdoctoral research associate jointly supervised by Prof. Nicholas Turner and Prof. Sabine Flitsch, with funding from the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative and BBSRC Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. During this time he also fulfilled additional roles as the Public Engagment Programme Manager for the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and was a Visiting Fellow at the Open University. At the age of 26 he was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) in recognition of his sustained teaching record and promoted to his current position as Lecturer within the School of Chemistry.
Nick's interests and activities within social responsibility fall into several of the university's subthemes:
Public Engagement with Research and Researchers
Nick works extensively communicating science and research outcomes to the public with a specific interest in supporting other researchers in doing the same and lowering theri barrier to engagement with outreach activities. He does this primarily through the coordination of the public engagement programme for the Manchester Insitute of Biotechnology, which includes annual contributions to internal events, such as Manchester Science Festival, British Science Week Schools' Fair and Community Open Day. Additionally he has also initiated links between the university and national outreach initiatives, such as the Science Industry Partnership Ambassadors Programme and New Scientist Live.
Diversifying Community Engagement
In addition to research engagement Nick is also interested in reaching non-traditional audiences and tailoring outreach regarding any aspect of science and engineering to different societal groups. Examples of these include organisation of the Faculty of Science & Engineering's ScienceX initiative which aims to engage local people with science in places where they would not normally do so (i.e. not in a school, museum, etc.) He has also initiated the partnering of bilingual researchers with local language communities via collaboration with Multilingual Manchester in an effort to bring together a greater number of local people and researchers in a way that is relevant to them. These programmes aim to encourage public discourse about science and research, particularly for young people regarding subject / career choices.
Research Beacons - Industrial Biotechnology
As part of the unitversity's strategic priority for "Research with Impact", five research beacons have been identified where Manchester scientist are working to address global grand challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration. Nick's research falls within the Industrial Biotechnology research beacon, seeking to find novel routes to various products of interest. His work focusses on the use of renewably-resourced enzymes as replacements for finite petrochemical or precious metal catalysts and the exploration of bio-derived compounds as alternative starting materials for fine chemical manufacture.
Social Reponsibilty / Sustainability in Teaching
As part of the univerisity's aim to produce Socially-Responsible Graduates, Nick works to incorporate social responsibility themes within learning material. In particular, through his teaching of biocatalysis and enzymatic transformations, Nick introduces students to the comparison and evaluation of environmental impacts regarding both traditional chemical synthesis and alternative bio-based methods for sustainable manufacture. He is also involved in the creation of global and open education intiatives, such as the provision of free university-level distance learning courses which aim to raise awareness of environmental sustainability as well as responsible research and innovation issues more widely.