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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Simon Rees

Associate Professor, Head of Researcher Development in the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD)

(email at

Simon joined the Foundation Centre to teach Chemistry in 2010. He has had a varied career in education and scientific research and is now exploring a range of pedagogical research interests:

- The language of Chemistry.

Simon completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry Education with the School of Education in 2016. His research explored foundation student understanding of scientific language and how this develops. He is working with colleagues, Megan Bruce and Steven Bradley to incorporate teaching strategies utilising corpus linguisitics within STEM teaching. this work has received funding from the Higher Education Academy, UK Council for International Student Affairs, Durham University and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

- Online Experimentation.

Simon is working with the Royal Society of Chemistry to develop online experimentation resources for students. These will enable students to develop their confidence and understanding of experimental techniques and to perform experiments that would not normally be possible (

- Multi-sensory learning.

In his capacity as Chair of the Educational Techniques Group (Royal Society of Chemistry), Simon is working with colleagues (Dr Jacob Cox, Virginia, USA) to develop multisensory learning resources in chemistry such as the "Chemistry Stinks!" teachers kit (

Simon is also on the editorial board for the journal "New Directions in the Physical Sciences" (, a Senior Fellow of the HEA, an OfQual subject specific expert for GCE Chemistry and a teacher associate of the National STEM Centre.


Teaching Areas

  • Foundation Chemistry (200 hours/year.)

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  • Rees, S.W., Kind, V. & Newton, D. (2019). Meeting the Challenge of Chemical Language Barriers in University Level Chemistry Education. Israel Journal of Chemistry 58(6-7): 470-477.
  • Rees, S.W., Kind, V. & Newton, D. (2018). The development of chemical language usage by “non-traditional” students: the interlanguage analogy. Research in Science Education
  • Rees, S.W. (2016). The Stories Behind the Words. Education in Chemistry 53(5): 14-17.
  • Rees, S.W., Bruce, M. & Bradley, S. (2014). Utilising Data-driven Learning in Chemistry Teaching: a Shortcut to Improving Chemical Language Comprehension. New Directions 10(1): 12-19.
  • Rees, S.W. (2013). Book Review of An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea, 2nd Edition, by Michael E.Q. Pilson. New Directions 9(1): 107-108.
  • Rees, S. W., Bruce, M. & Nolan, S. (2013). Can I Have a Word Please – Strategies to Enhance Understanding of Subject Specific Language in Chemistry by International and Non-traditional Students. New Directions 9(1): 8-13.

Conference Paper

  • Rees, SW (Published), Chemical Linguistic Demand in multiple dimensions: implications for widening participation and non-traditional students, Variety in Chemistry Education. York University.
  • Rees, SW (2016), Chemical linguistic demand in multiple dimensions and implications for developing understanding in non-traditional students, Durham University Teaching and Learning conference. Durham University.
  • Rees, S.W. (2014), Improving chemical language comprehension for adult learners: a data-driven learning approach to chemistry teaching, 23rd IUPAC International Conference on Chemistry Education. Toronto, Canada, Toronto.
  • Rees, S.W. & Bruce, M. (2013), The FOCUS project – Applications of Corpus Linguistics in Chemistry Teaching, Gordon Research Conference - Chemistry Education Research and Practice. Salve Regina University, Rhode Island, USA.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Rees, S.W. (2014). Chemistry unearths the secrets of the Terracotta Army. Education in Chemistry 51(2): 22-25.
  • Rees, S.W. (2014). What is the connection between the halogens and salami? Science Spotlight 3: 16-17.


  • Rees, SW (Published), Reimaging Faraday, International Conference on Chemistry Education. Sydney, Australia.
  • Rees, S.W. & Kind, V. (2018), Chemical linguistic demand in multiple dimensions, 25th International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE 2018). Sydney, Australia.

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2018: EEF - The SaLT Programme - Science and Literacy together
  • 2013: FOCUS Diagnostics – the development of a chemical language student assessment tool - Durham University ESLE grant
  • 2013: HEA Individual Teaching Grant - Development of a suite of teaching and learning activities for the FOCUS project
  • 2013: RSC Activating Research Bursary
  • 2017: Developing primary science subject leaders (£3000.00 from )