Biological Sciences Newsletter

  • Publication Date: 26-10-2011

In this edition:

  • Appointment of Discipline Lead for the Biological Sciences
  • Call for Academic Associates
  • Call to host workshops and seminars in partnership with the Academy
  • Academy's STEM conference announced
  • SEB/HEA Symposium
  • Academy's new UK travel fund
  • NUS and HEA Student-Led Teaching Awards
  • Society of Biology Teaching Award
  • Journal: Bioscience Education
  • Electronic resources for the Biological Sciences
  • General online resources from the Academy

Appointment of Discipline Lead for the Biological Sciences

Nathan Pike has been appointed to the Higher Education Academy's new post of Discipline Lead for the Biological Sciences.

Nathan's pedagogical interests are broad but, most recently, have included differentiated learning, enhanced teaching provision for advanced and graduate students, and improved training for students undertaking research degrees. Another of Nathan's key interests is the issue of internationalisation, particularly as it pertains to maintaining the UK's world-class HE environment. Nathan's biological research interests are centred within the fields of evolutionary ecology and animal behaviour.

Nathan welcomes email contact at

Call for Academic Associates

The Higher Education Academy is building a community of Academic Associates to deliver and develop support for learning and teaching in higher education. If you would like to work on Academy-funded projects to enhance learning and teaching in the Biological Sciences, please register your interest in becoming an Academic Associate.

Academic Associates will represent all levels of higher education.

N.B. If you have a potential project in mind (and regardless of whether you've had time to formally register as a prospective Associate), we are eager to hear about it so please get in touch.

Call to host workshops and seminars in partnership with the Academy

The Academy has launched an ongoing call for bids from partners in Higher Education to host workshops and seminars that will enhance learning and teaching. Participating institutions will each receive a grant of £500 to host and deliver a workshop or seminar that promotes better learning and teaching.

We would like to encourage those working in the Biological Sciences to take advantage of this opportunity to run an event (or a series of events) with the Academy's financial and advisory support.

Full details, including information on how to submit a proposal, can be found on the HEA's workshop and seminar series page.

If you would like to informally discuss the possibilities before submitting a proposal, please get in touch without delay.

Academy's STEM conference announced

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academic group of the Higher Education Academy has announced that its annual conference will be held in London on 12-13 April, 2012.

The Biological Sciences will be well represented during this two-day conference. Please get in touch if you would like to give a presentation or to nominate possible speakers. Please also diarise these conference days: we look forward to seeing you there! (Further details will follow.)

SEB/HEA Symposium

The Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) will run its Education Symposium in association with the Higher Education Academy from 27-29 March, 2012. The Symposium is entitled "Researchers, Teachers, Learners: We're all in it together!" and it will be held at Charles Darwin House, London. A number of eminent national and international speakers have been confirmed and further presentations are being actively sought. More details can be found on the Symposium's website.

Academy's new UK travel fund

The Higher Education Academy has launched a new fund to provide financial support for travel to events within the UK that facilitate professional development and capacity building. There is an open call for applications throughout the 2011-12 academic year.

Full details, including how to apply, can be found on the HEA's Travel Fund page.

Learning and Teaching Enhancement Grants for Wales from the HEA and the Welsh National HE STEM Programme

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the National HE STEM Programme (Wales) are seeking applications from staff at eligible Welsh higher education institutions for projects that (1) enhance or support learning and teaching in higher education, (2) are of use or relevance beyond applicants' own institutions, and (3) address an HE STEM subject area. Four grants of up to £2500 are available and the call for proposals closes 30 November 2011. To find out more, please visit this HEA Wales page.

NUS and HEA Student-Led Teaching Awards

Following a very successful two-year pilot programme of the Student-Led Teaching Awards in Scotland, the award scheme was launched on a UK-wide basis on 30 September, 2011. This awards scheme is run jointly by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Higher Education Academy and it involves students nominating their lecturers and tutors in categories such as "outstanding teacher", "innovative teacher" and "excellent teaching in an international context".

Student-Led Teaching Awards on the HEA's website

Student-Led Teaching Awards website (which is scheduled for an imminent update)

Society of Biology teaching award

The Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award (which was formerly run by the Higher Education Academy's UK Centre for Bioscience) will now be administered by the Society of Biology with continued sponsorship from Oxford University Press. The award recognises outstanding learning and teaching practice in the biosciences and the winner will receive the Ed Wood Memorial Prize which includes a monetary payment of £1000, a year's subscription to an Oxford University Press journal, and a year's free membership of the Society of Biology.

Entry into the competition involves self, peer or management nomination before the deadline of 02 December, 2011.

Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award on the website of the Society of Biology

Journal: Bioscience Education

Plans are being enacted to support the continuation of the popular Academy journal Bioscience Education. (This journal was established by Higher Education Academy's UK Centre for Bioscience and the Centre will continue to run the journal until the end of 2011.) For now, please continue to make your submissions using the guidelines provided at the journal's current site.

Electronic resources for the Biological Sciences

On the Academy's website, the Biological Sciences page is the starting point for information relevant to the discipline.

The HEABio email discussion list has been established to provide a forum for teaching practitioners in the Biological Sciences to engage and discuss with support from the Higher Education Academy. Please subscribe to this list using this web form.

Once you have registered, you will be able to communicate with all subscribers by emailing

A web archive of discussions will also be available.

General online resources from the Academy

We take this opportunity to remind you of two of the Academy's key online resource repositories.

The Resources Centre provides comprehensive access to teaching and learning resources that are relevant within and across disciplines or which have been categorised by themes including Assessment and Feedback, Education for Sustainable Development, Employability, Flexible Learning, Internationalisation, Retention and Success, and Reward and Recognition.

EvidenceNet provides extensive information on current research-based evidence relating to good practice in teaching and learning in higher education.

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