Staff profile

Professor Ian Turner

Professor in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education


Biology and Zoology, Biomedical Science and Human Biology, Forensic Science


Learning and Teaching




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Professor of Higher Education in Learning and Teaching of Higher Education, a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I co-run three national communities of practice #DryLabsRealsScience, #RemoteForensicCSI and Dungeons and Dragons in Higher Education. I am an experienced pedagogic researcher. My specific research interests are around game-based learning and using games as pedagogic tools in HE.

Teaching responsibilities

I lead and teach a module on science communication, which is about how science and its relationship with the general public. I also support some teaching and project students in the College of Science and Engineering. I sneak in a bit of teaching where ever I can, it is the part of my job I love the most.

Research interests

I am interested in all aspects of pedagogy, especially around the topics of gamification, game-based learning and playful pedagogies.

Membership of professional bodies

The Higher Education Academy

Royal Society of Biology

 Chartered Society of Forensic Science

 The British Science Association

 Association of Lego® Serious Play®


Recent conferences

I am fortunate to be invited to speak at external events and teaching symposiums. Talks since the end of 2022 include:

Additional interests and activities

Co-founder of #DryLabsRealScience. A collaborative network sharing best practices in remote teaching in life science. Originally based on fortnightly seminars attended by 50-200 members. It has grown to be an international pedagogic network for sharing best practice in the biological sciences. The network has been shared in peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, blog articles and even government publications. Recently the network has been reformed as Bioscience Education Scholarship and Teaching (BEST) to reflect it broader pedagogic role. #DLRS was a Pearson Innovation Awards 2022 – Most Innovative Approach to Supporting Students finalist

Co-founder of #RemoteForensicCSI. A collaborative network for practitioners in forensic and crime scene science. Original focused on monthly seminars are attended by both HE and FE practitioners. Grown to me a international network for sharing best pedagogic practice in the forensic sciences. #RemoteForensicCSI was a finalist in the 2021 Advancing Academic Development event and Global Academic Development Good Practice Awards.

Co-founder of Dungeons and Dragons in Higher Education a network that explores the broader potential of table-top roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons in Higher Education and other spaces. We host regular events to out international audience and are undertaking research and community work.

In the media

I have had the pleasure of working with local and national media including radio, newspapers and TV. A highlight was appearing on ITV’s ‘The Forensic Casebook’ hosted by Matthew Kelly. I look forward to future opportunities.

Abstract image representing artificial intelligence

The use of AI is increasing fast and it is likely to have a huge impact on our working and personal lives in the future. Professor Ian Turner, from the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Derby, looks at what AI is, and how we can prepare to live with it and get the most out of it.

white mug on a wooden table

Dr Ian Turner explains what a foundation year is and how study on one can help you to build a strong foundation on which to build your career on.

Wooden board game with counters and a dice

As we enter an extended period of lockdown many of us are looking for ways to entertain ourselves and our families at home. Dr Ian Turner, Professor at the University of Derby, explores the benefits of boardgames and provides 10 top tips for making your own.  

Two excited children using a laptop

With many people taking to home schooling their children for the first time at the moment, Dr Ian Turner, Professor at the University of Derby, shares his top online learning resources for children.

A person presenting at a TED Talk, pointing to a large screen on a stage in front of an audience.

You may have heard about your tutors and the academic staff who support you, going to conferences to present and learn about the latest research and thinking. Perhaps you have been to a conference yourself? But if you have not, what are they? And why should you want to go?

Lego pieces with storm trooper from star wars

In this article, Dr Ian Turner talks about the global phenomenon of Star Wars and explains some of the science fiction behind the science fact.

A pile of Brussels sprouts

No doubt you know people who have a pile of them on their dinner plate, and other people who go ‘eeewwww’ at the mere thought of sprouts. But why is this? Dr Ian Turner, Head of Forensic Science, investigates.

Recent publications

For my most recent research, take a look at my ResearchGate profile.

  • Turner, I. J., Siddiqui, Y. H., & Ball, C. The learnt curriculum: adapting Culturally Sensitive Curricula Scales to develop a module level curriculum toolkit in Thomas, D. S. P., & Quinlan, K, M. (Eds) The learnt curriculum: adapting Culturally Sensitive Curricula Scales to develop a module level curriculum toolkit. Palgrave MacMillan. Published 19 July 2024 
  • Quinlan, K. M., Thomas, D. S. P., Hayton, A., Astley, J., Blackwood, L., Daramy, F.K., Duffin M., Forey, G., Haider, M. A., Husbands, D., Joiner, R., Kay, H., Mosoeunyane, M., Turner, I.J., Walsh, C., West, D. (2024) Promoting higher education students’ interest through culturally sensitive curricula. Higher Education. 
  • de Andrade, A. F. B. & Turner I.J (2023) Enrichment of Forensic Science Employability Skills through a Turning Placement Opportunity in Brazil.  Journal of Forensic Science Education. 5(2), 1-6 
  • Turner, I. J., & Robinson (2023), L. A. A Table-Top Role-Playing Game (TTRPG) for developing Higher Education employability skills. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 5(1) 
  • Morgan, L., & Turner, I. J. Who stole the biscuits? (2023) A forensic science activity for the primary school science curriculum. Primary Science. 178, 24- 29  
  • Francis, N J., Smith, D. and Turner, I. J. (2022). Practical approaches to delivering pandemic impacted laboratory teaching. In: DOMENECH, Josep, (ed.) 8th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’22) Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Valencia, 2022. Valencia, Spain, Editorial Universitat Politécnica de Valéncia, 521-529
  • Baker, I. S., Turner, I. J., & Kotera, K. (2022) Suggesting Roleplay Games (RPGs) for Mental Health (Why Not?): A Personal Perspective.  International Journal of Mental Health and Guidance.  
  • Turner, I. J., Bolton-King R. S., Francis N. J., Nichols-Drew, N. J., Smith, D. P. (2022) Collaborative Online Communities of Practice. JISC Digital Culture Forum: Digital Collaboration. 9 March 2022. Commended in for PW Allen Award 2022 
  • Bolton-King, R., Nichols-Drew, L. J., & Turner, I. J. (2022) #RemoteForensicCSI: Enriching Teaching. Training and Learning through Networking and Timely CP. Science & Justice 62(6):768-777    
  • Morgan, L., & Turner, I. J. (2021) Can playing table-top role-play games help children learn? Primary Science, 170, 30-32 – Reprinted in Assoc. Science Education Int. Journal, 15 (1), 10-13
  • Francis, N. J., Smith, D. P., & Turner, I. J. #DryLabsRealScience Case Study in Barber, M., Bird, L., Fleming, J., Titterington-Giles, E., Edwards, E., & Leyland, C. (2021). Gravity Assist: Propelling Higher Education Towards a Brighter Future. Report of the digital learning and teaching review. London: Office for Students
  • Turner, I. J., Norton, S., Moody, J. (2021) #52etc - 52 Engaging Toolkit Cards for enhancing student engagement. Advance HE, ISBN 978-1-9163593-3-8
  • Maurer, T. W., Woolmer, C., Powell, N. L., Sisson, C., Snelling, C., Stalheim, O. R., & Turner, I. J. (2021). Sharing SoTL Findings with Students: An Intentional Knowledge Mobilization Strategy. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 9(1), 333-349
  • Turner, I. J (2020) #DryLabsRealScience: Teaching practical’s without labs.  Laboratory News. 16th November
  • Stafford, P., Henri, D., Turner, I. J, Smith, D., & Francis, N. (2020). Reshaping education. Part 1: Practical Thinking in a Pandemic. The Biologist, 67(5), 24-29
  • Turner, I. J. Bringing Pantomime into Education (Case Study) in de Main, L., Wolstencroft, P., & Cashian, P. (2020). Achieving Teaching Excellence: Developing your TEF profile and beyond. Open University Press  
  • Turner, I. J  (2020) Assessment: The Game and supporting guide published in “Transforming Assessment” as part of the “Essential Framework for Enhancing Student Success Series by Advance HE, May 2020