Dr Samantha Pugh


Dr. Samantha Pugh is a National Teaching Fellow and the Faculty Lead for Teaching Enhancement. Dr. Samantha Pugh has an outstanding track record for developing context-based learning and working in partnership with students in the Physical Sciences. She is renowned for inspiring and mentoring colleagues to shape teaching through pedagogic research and scholarship at Leeds and beyond. Her contribution to the sector was recognised with the award of University Student Education Fellowships in 2012 and 2014.

She has secured over £300k in teaching development grants from the National HE STEM Programme (HE STEM), Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Institute of Physics (IoP), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Universities of York and Leeds, to lead educational enhancement.

Samantha’s teaching philosophy focuses on student employability. It emphasises the skills and attributes needed for a successful career and students’ ability to articulate those attributes. To this end, she has pioneered the use of reflective writing in Physical Sciences at Leeds. Samantha is sector-leading in embedding enterprise and entrepreneurship within the Maths and Physical Sciences curriculum gaining widespread recognition when she was a finalist for the NCEE Enterprise Educator in HE in 2014. She established innovative Industrial Advisory Boards (IABs) in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics - working collaboratively with employers, to inform curriculum development, increase the number of visiting lecturers, develop new learning resources and create summer internships for students with regional employers.

In 2015, Samantha co-established the Pedagogic Research in Science and Mathematics Group (PRiSM). The group consists of academics from across STEM that champion evidence-based curriculum development, pioneer undergraduate research in STEM Education, support undergraduate education research summer internships and organise practitioners’ seminars. Additionally, Samantha has created golden opportunities for students and less experienced colleagues to engage with externally-funded teaching development projects.

Looking ahead, Samantha has secured a prestigious ‘Leeds Excellence and Innovation Fellowship’ sabbatical at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence for 2017/18. Her flagship project will ‘Rethink Assessment in Higher Education by learning from Secondary Education.’ Samantha believes that synoptic assessment is the key to enhancing the career prospects of university graduates.


  • Teaching Excellence and Innovation Fellow
  • Leader - PRiSM Group
  • Programme Manager MSc Physics and Business Management

Research interests

My research interests are in pedagogic and educational research in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines. Some current projects include how students navigate their employability in Physics, developing synoptic assessment in undergraduate degree programmes, developing group work in undergraduate curricula, and the benefits and impact of employer engagement on the undergraduate curriculum.

I have a keen interest in developing commercially-focused, technology-based projects and case studies, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

I am a strong believer in developing commercial awareness within STEM degree programmes at all levels. I have also championed the development of Peer Assisted Learning at the University of Leeds, and beyond.


  • BSc Colour and Polymer Chemistry
  • PhD Colour Chemistry
  • PG Cert in Teaching and Learning in HE

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Member of the Association of National Teaching Fellows

Student education

Programme Manager: MSc Physics and Business Management

Module Manager: Physics Year in Industry

Module Manager: Physics Group Industrial Project


Current postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.