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Professor Vanessa Kind

Honorary Professor

Honorary Professor in the School of Education
Honorary Professor of Education in the Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)


Vanessa studied biochemistry and worked in molecular biology prior to becoming a chemistry teacher. Teaching led to interest in the impact of teacher knowledge on student learning and achievement. Vanessa’s doctorate study investigated longitudinal changes in understanding occurring in post-16 chemistry students, leading to development of novel teaching strategies for specific concepts. Vanessa tested these as head of chemistry (and physics) in a Hull sixth form college, leading to a lectureship in science education at the Institute of Education. After headship of an international school in Norway, she joined Durham in January 2005. Vanessa’s research explores how teachers’ science subject knowledge, beliefs, views about science, self-confidence and attitudes impact on teaching and student learning outcomes. She contributes to international debate surrounding the nature of teacher knowledge and connections between science teacher education policy and practice. Projects include an ESRC-DfiD funded project Transforming Pedagogy of STEM Subjects in Ethiopia; a UK-wide study of practical work in science funded by Gatsby Charitable Foundation; development of chemistry teacher knowledge in South Africa, supported by a British Academy Newton Mobility Grant; and a Wellcome Trust People Award held with Durham Law School on students’ understandings of stem cell research and human cloning via the medium of law. Previous work includes: development of a diagnostic test of chemistry teachers’ subject knowledge for the Royal Society of Chemistry; and interdisciplinary projects in medieval history and archaeology. Vanessa has contributed to international doctoral training schools in Italy, Oslo, Austria and South Africa. She has directed practitioner research for secondary and primary teachers’ small-scale projects linked to school improvement.

Vanessa chaired the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Education Research Group from 2008 - 2015. She was appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2008 and served on the Society’s Education Division Council from 2012 – 2015. She was an Honorary Associate Professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education from 2009 – 2013. Vanessa is currently an Associate Editor of Research in Science Education and an Editorial Board member for International Journal of Science Education and School Science Review. Vanessa was appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2013.

Vanessa is currently Deputy Head of Faculty in Social Sciences and Health, holding the Postgraduate portfolio. She was Director, Science Learning Centre North East from 2011 – 2013 delivering continuing professional development for primary, secondary and post-16 science teachers and technicians.

Vanessa supervises PhD and EdD students in science, chemistry education, teacher knowledge and practice.

Completed Supervisions

A case study exploring developments in non-traditional potential undergraduates’ understandings of chemical language.

 Mapping the development of professional praxis of Higher Education work-based learners via a case-study approach.


Students' attitudes and career expectations in science: a cross-age case study of a specialist science school.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Vanessa would be interested in supervising prospective doctoral students in Teacher education; Science education - secondary and post 16; Misconceptions; Conceptual change; Pedagogical content knowledge and Teacher development.

Research interests

  • Science teacher knowledge, beliefs, pedagogical strategies
  • Science education including practical work and aspects of assessment and the nature of science
  • Chemical education including misconceptions, pedagogical practices and conceptual change

Esteem Indicators

  • 2018: Keynote Presentation: Hell Symposium on Science Education, Hell, Norway
  • 2018: Keynote Presentation: International Science Education Conference, Ministry of Education, Singapore
  • 2018: Invited Webinar: Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemical Education Research Group
  • 2017: Keynote Presentation: Singapore International Science Teacher Conference
  • 2016: Keynote Presentation: Dublin International Conference on Education
  • 2016: Visiting Professor: Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong
  • 2016: Keynote Presentation: South African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Conference, Pretoria
  • 2015: Invited Seminar: Faculty of Education, University of Georgia
  • 2015: Keynote Presentation: London International Conference on Education
  • 2015: Keynote Presentation: Variety in Chemistry Conference, University of Limerick
  • 2014: Keynote Presentation: University of Bogotá, Colombia Pedagogical Content Knowledge Symposium
  • 2013: Keynote Presentation: East-Asian Association for Science Education Conference, Institute of Education, Hong Kong
  • 2013: Keynote Presentation: Global Chinese Conference on Science Education, Guangzhou
  • 2011: Keynote Presentation: Eurovariety in Chemistry Conference, University of Bremen
  • 2009: Honorary Associate Professor: Institute of Education, Hong Kong, to 2013
  • 2008: Royal Society of Chemistry: Chair, Chemistry Education Research Group, to 2015
  • 2000: Associate Editor: Research in Science Education
  • 2000: Fellow: Royal Society of Arts
  • 2000: Fellow: Royal Society of Biology
  • 2000: Fellow: Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Chemist
  • 2000: Large Grants Reviewer: Templeton World Charitable Foundation


Authored book

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)



Supervision students