Professor Neil Williams


I am currently the Interim Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education. Previously I was interim Associate Dean (Education) (2021-22) and  Director of Undergraduate Studies (2016-2021) in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing.  l have a long-standing commitment to supporting the widening participation, retention and the attainment of students from under-represented backgrounds in the chemical sciences and more broadly across STEM. A key recent focus has been in developing socially just and inclusive curricula including decolonisation of the science curriculum. Key achievements have been

  • Improved student outcomes through adoption of student-centread teaching methods such a project based learning and flipped classroom.
  • Supporting STEM academic across the UK in adopting inclusive and socially just curricula.
  • Establishing with other UK colleagues  the National Horizons in STEM Higher Education conference programme to promote SoTL in STEM and help enhance the student experience. 
  • Developing  two major student-staff research partnership schemes a Faculty Summer Undergraduate Research Internship scheme to enhance STEM research skills and a Student Academic Development Research Associate Scheme (SADRAS) focused on pedagogic research.

This work has been recognised by  National Teaching Fellowhip (2023), KU Inclusive curriculum bursary (2021), Learning Science Teaching Innovation award (2020),  Advanced HE Good Practice Grant (2020) and Principal Fellowship of the Education Academy (2018)

I obtained my PhD on surface organometallic chemistry, under the supervision of Professor John Evans from the University of Southampton in 1992.  I subsequently did post-doctoral research in the area of inorganic chemistry and surface chemistry at the National Institute for Materials and Chemical Research, Japan, University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia. After a period at the University of Central Lancashire I joined Kingston University in 1999.

Academic responsibilities

Associate Dean Learning & Teaching


  • 2018 Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2001 Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Kingston University
  • 1993 PhD An In Situ Spectroscopic Investigation of Titania-Supported Rhodium and Ruthenium Organometallics, University of Southampton
  • 1989 BSc (Hons) Chemistry, First Class, University of Southampton

Teaching and learning

Much of the focus in my own teaching and work with colleagues centres on improving the retention, progression and attainment of students from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds.  I have instigated a range of schemes to support this aim such as our Support for Academic Progression Programme, Summer Undergraduate Research Internships and the Student Academic Development Research Associate Scheme. Integral to a range of my initiatives has been an evaluation of the impact of the projects on awarding gaps and graduate outcomes.

My teaching philosophy and practice is based on a constructivist theoretical framework and has focused on developing and using Active Learning methods.  These approaches are closely aligned to my focus on addressing award gaps; research has shown that they favour all students, but students from under-represented backgrounds benefit the most. In 2005 I was an early adopter of a blended learning/Flipped classroom approach to teaching inorganic chemistry. The positive impact and student satisfaction and outcomes have been published  This approach is still used on Chemistry degree programme and I have supported other staff across the faculty to implement such an approach, most recently in the revalidation of engineering degree programmes in 2018.

More recently, informed by the university's inclusive curriculum framework, I replaced a lecture series in a first year chemistry module with a Project Based Learning approach, where students are encouraged to co-create the curriculum. In addition I provided a range of on-line resources to support students laboratory practical skills and developed smart worksheets to help students in their laboratory assessments. This improved average module marks and helped close a module awarding gap. The work was recognised by the award of a Learning Science Teaching Innovation Award in 2020.

A current learning and teaching interest is promoting discussions on "decolonising the science curriculum" across the UK, through the work of the Creative Curriculum Collective based in Bristol. Since 2020, I have helped facilitate discussions and share some of my work on the topic at the Universities of  Leeds, Keele, Bristol, Edinburgh Napier, Warwick, Aberdeen, Kings College London, St Andrews and Exeter as well as an Advance HE LTHE chat. In addition, since 2020, I have given seminars at Universities of Central Lancashire, Liverpool, York, Edinburgh, Dundee, Sussex, Newcastle and UCL on inclusive curricula  for Chemistry. I successfully gained an Advance HE Good Practice Grant to develop materials to support this CPD, which are  available on the AdvanceHE website.

I have taken a learning teaching pathway in my career and I aim to do as much as I can to develop pedagogic practices in other STEM staff both within my institution and beyond. I have achieved this by supporting them to experiment with their teaching and assessment, based on evidence informed practice.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Active learning
  • Inclusive curricula and decolonising the science curriculum
  • Student staff partnership schemes

Undergraduate courses taught


In the last decade my research has been focused on surface chemistry, particularly the use of silicon-based chemistry to introduce chemical functionality onto inorganic and polymer surfaces as part of a number of successful PhD completions such as:

  • Immobilisation of palladium carbene complexes on silica surfaces and their application in heterogeneous catalysis (Dr Leon Whiteman)
  • Fluorination of medical grade polymethylmethacrylate for use in intraocular lenses (Dr Navid Shokri)
  • Modification of polyurethane  with graphene and hydrophobic silica based solution for the development of wind turbine surface coatings  (Arash Dashtkar)

Previous research focused on ligand synthesis (e.g., N-heterocyclic carbenes) and application to homogeneous and asymmetric catalysis.

In addition I have a long standing interest in evaluation and pedagogic research in the STEM area. Recent work has focused on practices that close BME awarding gaps.

Areas of specialism

  • Closing BME attainment gaps
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Organometallic Chemistry


Number of items: 56.


Williams, Neil A. (2022) Using an inclusive curriculum framework to address an awarding gap in a first-year chemistry module. Journal of Chemical Education, 99(1), pp. 171-176. ISSN (print) 0021-9584

Dashtkar, Arash, Johansen, Nicolai Frost-Jensen, Mishnaevsky, Jr, Leon, Williams, Neil A, Hasan, Shadi W, Wadi, Vijay S, Silvello, Alessio and Hadavinia, Homayoun (2022) Graphene/sol–gel modified polyurethane coating for wind turbine blade leading edge protection : properties and performance. Polymers and Polymer Composites, 30, ISSN (print) 0967-3911

Williams, Neil Anthony and Benjamin, Audrey (2022) An investigation of students' views on decolonising the science curriculum. Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, 15(1), ISSN (print) 2044-0081

Frost-Jensen Johansen, Nicolai, Mishnaevsky, Leon, Dashtkar, Arash, Williams, Neil A., Fæster, Søren, Silvello, Alessio, Cano, Irene Garcia and Hadavinia, Homayoun (2021) Nanoengineered graphene-reinforced coating for leading edge protection of wind turbine blades. Coatings, 11(9), p. 1104. ISSN (online) 2079-6412

Dashtkar, Arash, Hadavinia, Homayoun, Barros-Rodriguez, Jose, Williams, Neil A., Turner, Matthew and Vahid, Samireh (2021) Quantifying damping coefficient and attenuation at different frequencies for graphene modified polyurethane by drop ball test. Polymer Testing, 100, p. 107267. ISSN (print) 0142-9418

Zanini, Stefano, Papagni, Antonio, Vaghi, Luca, Thatti, Baljit Kaur, Barton, Stephen, Williams, Neil, Shokri, Navid and Riccardi, Claudia (2020) Sulfur hexafluoride (SF₆) plasma treatment of medical grade poly(methyl methacrylate). Coatings, 10(2), p. 135. ISSN (online) 2079-6412

Dashtkar, Arash, Hadavinia, Homayoun, Sahinkaya, M Necip, Williams, Neil, Vahid, Samireh, Ismail, Fanya and Turner, Matthew (2019) Rain erosion-resistant coatings for wind turbine blades : a review. Polymers and Polymer Composites, 27(8), pp. 443-475. ISSN (print) 0967-3911

Williams, Neil, Hussain, Humma, Manojkumar, Pinali and Thapa, Asim (2016) An evaluation of a STEM summer undergraduate research internship scheme : student-perceived learning gains. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, 11(1), ISSN (online) 2051-3615

Le Gresley, Adam, Simpson, Emma, Sinclair, Alex, Williams, Neil, Burnett, Gary, Bradshaw, David and Lucas, Robert (2015) The application of high resolution diffusion NMR for the characterisation and quantification of small molecules in saliva/dentifrice slurries. Analytical Methods, 7(6), p. 2323. ISSN (print) 1759-9660

Tyrrell, Elizabeth, Whiteman, Leon and Williams, Neil (2011) The synthesis and characterisation of immobilised palladium carbene complexes and their application to heterogeneous catalysis. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 696(22), pp. 3465-3472. ISSN (print) 0022-328X

Williams, Neil, Merzouk, Mahboub and Hitchcock, Peter B (2010) Synthesis of Silver (I) Complexes of Iminoalkyl Functionalised N-Heterocyclic Carbenes. International Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2010, pp. 1-5.

Venasakulchai, Anan, Williams, Neil A., Gracia, Louise H. and Rees, Gareth D. (2010) A comparative evaluation of fluoridated and non-fluoridated mouthrinses using a 5-day cycling enamel erosion model. Journal of Dentistry, 38(Suppleme), S21-S29. ISSN (print) 0300-5712

Tyrrell, E, Whiteman, L and Williams, N (2009) Sonogashira Cross-Coupling Reactions and Construction of the Indole Ring System Using a Robust, Silica-Supported Palladium Catalyst. Synthesis, 2009(5), pp. 829-835. ISSN (print) 0039-7881

Williams, NA, Bland, W and Christie, G (2008) Improving student achievement and satisfaction by adopting a blended learning approach to inorganic chemistry. Chemistry Education Research And Practice, 9(1), pp. 43-50. ISSN (print) 1756-1108

Moore, T, Merzouk, M and Williams, N (2008) Synthesis of amidoalkyl imidazol-2-ylidene ligands and their application to enantioselective copper-catalysed conjugate addition. Synlett, 2008(1), pp. 21-24. ISSN (print) 0936-5214

Tyrrell, Elizabeth, Millett, Julien, Tesfsa, Kibur Hunie, Williams, Neil, Mann, Alastair, Tillett, Caroline and Muller, Christophe (2007) A study into asymmetric Nicholas cyclisation reactions. Tetrahedron, 63(51), pp. 12769-12778. ISSN (print) 0040-4020

Merzouk, Mahboub, Moore, Theo and Williams, Neil A. (2007) Synthesis of chiral iminoalkyl functionalised N-heterocyclic carbenes and their use in asymmetric catalysis. Tetrahedron Letters, 48(50), pp. 8914-8917. ISSN (print) 0040-4039

Williams, Neil A., Uchimaru, Yuko and Tanaka, Masato (2003) Palladium or platinum complex catalysed reactions of carbonyl and imine compounds with disilanes. Dalton Transactions, 24(2), pp. 236-243. ISSN (online) 1477-9226

Gane, Matt P., Williams, Neil A. and Sodeau, John R. (2001) A reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) investigation of the low-temperature heterogenous hydrolysis of bromine nitrate. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 105(16), pp. 4002-4009. ISSN (print) 1089-5639

Ramondo, Fabio, Sodeau, John R., Roddis, Tristan B. and Williams, Neil A. (2000) An ab initio and experimental study of bromine on low-temperature water clusters and ice surfaces. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2(10), pp. 2309-2318. ISSN (print) 1463-9076

Horn, Andrew B., Sodeau, John R., Roddis, Tristan B. and Williams, Neil A. (1998) Mechanism of the heterogenous reaction of hydrogen chloride with chlorine nitrate and hypochlorous acid on water ice. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part A : Molecules, Spectroscopy, Kinetics, Environment and General Theory, 102(30), pp. 6107-6120. ISSN (print) 1089-5639

Horn, Andrew B., Sodeau, John R., Roddis, Tristan B. and Williams, Neil A. (1998) Low temperature reaction of chlorine nitrate with water ice: Formation of molecular nitric acid. Journal of the Chemical Society: Faraday Transactions, 94(12), pp. 1721-1724. ISSN (print) 0956-5000

Gane, Matt P., Williams, Neil A. and Sodeau, John R. (1997) Reflection-absorption IR spectroscopic investigation of the photolysis of thin films of dichlorine monoxide and chlorine dioxide. Journal of the Chemical Society: Faraday Transactions, 93(16), pp. 2747-2754. ISSN (print) 0956-5000

Williams, Neil, Tanaka, Masato and Uchimaru, Yuko (1995) Platinum Catalysed Regioselective ortho-Silylation of Benzylideneamines via Intramolecular C-H Activation. Chemical Communications, 11, pp. 1129-1130. ISSN (print) 0022-4936

Book Section

Williams, Neil and Jones, Lucy (2018) Engaging students in a research internship scheme and its impact on the graduate outcomes of BME interns. In: Atherton, Graeme , Kendall, Steve , Naughton, Michael and Webster, Martin, (eds.) Widening access throughout the student lifecycle. Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 149-169. ISBN 9781527503847

Williams, Neil (2012) Enhancing the impact of chemistry outreach by use of selected, repeated interventions and collaborative university provision. In: Grove, Michael, (ed.) Sharing effective practice through collaboration: Case Studies arising from the National HE STEM Programme Collaborative Projects Initiative. Birmingham, U.K. : The National HE STEM Programme. pp. 31-33. ISBN 9780956725554

Williams, N.A. (2008) Compounds containing a Spiro Phosphorus Atom. In: Katritzky, A.R. , Ramsden, C.R. , Scriven, E.F.V. and Taylor, R.J.K., (eds.) Comprehensive Heterocyclic Chemistry III. london : Elseveir. pp. 1065-1126. 12 ISBN 9780080449920

Williams, N.A. (2005) Doubly bonded metalloid functions (Si, Ge, B). In: Katritsky, Alan R and Taylor, Richar J K, (eds.) Comprehensive Organic Functional Group Transformations II. Oxford : Elsevier. pp. 543-549. 3.14

Williams, N.A. (2005) Doubly bonded metal functions. In: Katritzky, Alan R and Taylor, Richard J K, (eds.) Comprehensive Organic Functional Group Transformations II. Elsevier. pp. 551-571. 3 ISBN 9780080446554

Williams, N.A. (2005) Doubly bonded metalloid functions. In: Katritsky, A.R. and Taylor, R.J.K., (eds.) Comprehensive Organic Functional Group Transformations II. Oxford, U.K. : Elsevier. pp. 543-550. 3.15 ISBN 9780080446554

Conference or Workshop Item

Collins, Trevor, Butler, Diane, Gretton, Sarah and Williams, Neil (2022) Identifying good practice in the scholarship of teaching and learning within the HE workforce. In: Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2022: Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success?; 05 - 07 Jul 2023, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2022) Suggestions for decolonising the science curriculum. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2022; 29-30 Jun 2022, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2021) The use of an Inclusive Curriculum Framework to close a BAME module award gap. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 29 - 30 Jun 2021, Milton Keynes, U.K. (Held online). (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2021) Decolonising the science curriculum : potential actions and a case study. In: Decolonising the Science Curriculum; 17 Mar 2023, Edinburgh, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, N.A. and Benjamin, A. (2020) An investigation into science students' views on decolonising the curriculum. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 01 - 02 Jul 2020, Nottingham, U.K. (Held Online). (Unpublished)

Denholm-Price, James, Page, Nigel, Williams, Neil and Dourado, Luis (2019) Exploring differential attainment by assessment type in mathematics, chemistry and life sciences. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 03 - 04 July 2019, Kingston-upon-Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2019) The implementation and preliminary evaluation of project-based learning in a first year environmental chemistry module. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2019: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 03 - 04 Jul 2019, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Denholm-Price, James, Page, Nigel, Williams, Neil and Tojal Dourado, Luis [Researcher] (2018) Addressing the BME attainment gap : exploring differential attainment by assessment type in mathematics, chemistry and life sciences. In: CETL-MSOR 2018 : Evidencing Excellence in the Mathematical Sciences; 05 - 06 Sep 2018, Glasgow, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2018) Changing student opinion of flipped learning. In: Variety in Chemistry Education / Physics Higher Education Conference 2018; 23 - 24 Aug 2018, Sheffield, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2018) What do students think of active learning? In: 3rd Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 28 - 29 Jun 2018, Hull, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Atherton, Graeme, Twigg-Flesner, Anke, Crockford, Julian, Williams, Neil and Rainford, John (2017) Widening access throughout the student lifecycle. In: British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference 2017; 05-07 Sep 2017, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil, Singer, Richard [Researcher] and Shearman, Gemma [Researcher] (2017) Teaching and assessment of good laboratory technique: pre-lab activities and digital badging. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2017: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 29-30 Jun 2017, Edinburgh, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil, Thapa, Asim [Researcher], Hussain, Humma and Manojkumar, Pinali (2016) Evaluation of a STEM summer undergraduate research internship scheme- variations between disciplines. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2016: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 30 Jun - 01 Jul 2016, Leicester, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2015) The BME attainment gap in chemical sciences - does the use of assessment criteria contribute to the gap? In: Variety in Chemistry Education Physics Higher Education Conference (ViCEPHEC) 2015; 20-21 Aug 2015, Nottingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil, Aziz, Faiz, Abedhin, Araphath, Khan, Anhar and Rahman, Aminur (2014) Staff and students working as partners in STEM and pedagogic research. In: HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2014; 30 Apr – 01 May 2014, Edinburgh, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil, Morgan, Holly and Lambe, Simon (2014) Improving progression in STEM with an Academic Probation Programme. In: HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2014; 30 Apr – 01 May 2014, Edinburgh, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil, Hill, Mike, Jackson, Marcus T. and Elliott-Bowman, Joy (2013) The student academic development research associate scheme - engaging stem students and academics as partners in pedagogic research. In: HEA STEM: Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013: Where Practice and Pedagogy Meet; 17-18 Apr 2013, Birmingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil (2013) Replacing lectures with study packs: a method to improve student engagement and achievement. In: HEA STEM: Lectures without Lecturing; 21 Feb 2013, Sheffield, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Onions, Rosalind, Evans, Marie, Pugh, Samantha and Williams, Neil (2012) Developing the chemistry workforce of the future including industrial engagement initiatives - from the RSC. In: National HE STEM Programme Conference; 4-6 September 2012, Birmingham University. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil and Lambe, Gillian (2012) Addressing research informed teaching in and out of the curriculum. In: Variety in Chemistry Education and Physics Higher Education Conference; 30-31 Aug 2012, Edinburgh, U.K.. (Unpublished)

May, Steve, Webb, Marion and Williams, Neil (2012) BME attainment and success: research and beyond. In: Educational Research Forum; 15 Jun 2012, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil [Contributor], Whiteman, Leon [Contributor] and TYRRELL, Elizabeth [Contributor] (2010) The Synthesis and Evaluation of Silica-Supported Palladium bis-N-Aryl Substituted imidazol-2-ylidene Complexes. In: 24th International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry (ICOMC); July 18-23, 2010, Taipei, Taiwan. (Unpublished)

Venasakulchai, Anan [Contributor], Williams, Neil [Contributor], Gracia, Lucy H [Contributor] and Rees, Gareth [Contributor] (2010) Erosion Protection by Mouthrinses in a 5-Day Cycling Model. In: International Association of Dental Research Conference; August 2010, Barcelona, Spain. (Unpublished)

Tyrrell, Elizabeth, Whiteman, Leon and Williams, Neil (2009) Silica-Supported Bis-N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complexes of Palladium and their Application in Cross-Coupling Reactions. In: ISHHC XIV International Symposium on Relations between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis; July 2009, Stockholm, Sweden. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil and Merzouk, Mahboub (2005) Novel Chiral N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligands for Copper-Catalysed Conjugate Addition. In: 13th IUPAC International Symposium on Organometallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis (OMCOS); 2005, Geneva, Switzerland. (Unpublished)

Williams, Neil and Merzouk, Mahboub (2004) Synthesis and evaluation of (imino-alkyl)imidazolylidene ligands in asymmetric catalysis. In: 5th International Symposium on Transition Metals in Organic Synthesis; 15-17 September 2004, Glasgow, Scotland. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Tue Apr 16 06:35:17 2024 BST.

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

Professional and scholarly affiliations

  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Education Division Council
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Leadership and management

In my role as Director of Undergraduate Studies within the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing is focused on

  • Improving the student experience
  • Enhancing Learning, Teaching and Assessment practice
  • Developing an inclusive curriculum
  • Closing award gaps
  • Improving retention
  • Raising graduate outcomes
  • Supporting quality assurance and enhancement

University responsibilities

  • SADRAS Steering Group
  • Student Surveys Group
  • NSS task force
  • Chairing Internal Subject Reviews and Validation Panels
  • Chairing University Kingston Academic Practice Scheme (KAPS) and Introduction to Learning and Teaching (ILT) panels

Public and CIVIC roles

  • Chair of Governors for Coombe Federation of Schools, New Malden, Kingston upon Thames

Social media

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