Staff profile

Professor Ian Turner

Professor in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education


Biology and Zoology, 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 two national communities of practice #DryLabsRealsScience and #RemoteForensicCSI and 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 2019:

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. Shared in two Advanced HE Blogs (It’s a brave new (educational) world) and (#DryLabsRealScience – together stronger), an article in The Biologist, the magazine of the Royal Society of Biology (Practical thinking in a pandemic), a web article in Laboratory News (#DryLabsRealScience: Teaching practicals without labs), a case study for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for their Nation publication (joint publication from HEFCW and Universities Wales in partnership with the Welsh government), a presentation at the Annual Bioscience Summit, a case study in the Office for Students (Gravity assist: propelling higher education towards a brighter future).

Co-founder of #RemoteForensicCSI. A collaborative network for practitioners in forensic and crime scene science.  Monthly seminars are attended by both HE and FE practitioners.  Successfully launched a student-focused lecture series with the Chartered Society of Forensic Science.  Networks have their own YouTube channel and website.  #RemoteForensicCSI was a finalist in the 2021 Advancing Academic Development event and Global Academic Development Good Practice Awards.

Both networks’ outputs; talks, videos, guides and materials are hosted on the Lecturemotely website (Lecturemotely website) which has had over 16,500 views. 

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.

  • Baker, I. S., Turner, I. J., & Kotera, K. (2022) Suggesting Roleplay Games (RPGs) for Mental Health (Why Not?): A Personal Perspective. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling
  • 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
  • Bolton-King, R., Nichols-Drew, L. J., & Turner, I. J. (2022) #RemoteForensicCSI: Enriching Teaching. Training and Learning through Networking and Timely CP. Science & Justice
  • Morgan, L., & Turner, I. J. (2021) Can playing table-top role-play games help children learn? Primary Science, 170, 30-32
  • 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 practicals without labs. Laboratory News.  16 November
  • Stafford, P., Henri, D., Turner, I. J, Smith, D., & Francis, N. (2020). Reshaping education. Part 1: Practical Thinking in a PandemicThe Biologist67(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
  • Turner, I. J. Experimental Science in Fry, H., Ketteridge, S., & Marshall, S. (Eds.). (2019). A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice. Routledge
  • Turner, I. J., & Robinson, L. (2019 – Present) Tale of Two Games – Regular Feature in Laboratory News (9000 labs, a readership of 40,000 scientists and 33,000 website hits per month.) beginning July 2019
  • Robinson, L., & Turner, I. J. (2019). Tabletop Gaming in Wildlife Conservation—‘Park Life’. In The Power of Play in Higher Education(pp. 291-293). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • Robinson, L. A., Turner, I. J., & Sweet, M. J. (2018). The use of gamification in the teaching of disease epidemics and pandemics. FEMS microbiology letters, 365(11), fny111
  • Beaumont, E. S., Mudd, P., Turner, I. J., & Barnes, K. (2017). Cetacean frustration: the representation of whales and dolphins in picture books for young children. Early Childhood Education Journal45(4), 545-551
  • Turner, I. J., & Plant, C. H. (2016). The Simpsons in Higher Education. Innovative Practice in Higher Education2(3)
  • Turner, I. J., Plant, C. H., Whiffin, A., & Newton, C. (2015) Teaching Forensic Handwriting Analysis Using The Simpsons. Ian James Turner, Cristina Helen Plant, Ashleigh Whiffin, and Chloe Newton, The Forensic Examiner August 2015
  • Turner, I. J. (2015) ‘Engaging large audiences’ – Toolkit developed for the Higher Education Academy, 2015.
  • Turner, I. J. (2014) Lecture Theatre Pantomime: A creative delivery approach for teaching undergraduates. Innovative Practice in Higher Education1
  • Turner, I. J., & Beaumont, E. S. (2013). Lonely heart columns: A novel and entertaining way of teaching students abstract writing skills. Innovative Practice in Higher Education1(3)
  • Turner, I. J., & Day, L. (2012). Engaging Biological Sciences Students in the Development of Employability Skills through Creative Teaching and Peer Reviewed Action Plans. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (4)
  • Turner, I. J. (2009). Study Promoting Undergraduate Student Conference Attendance Has Benefits for All! Student Research Projects: a Case Study For the HEA Bioscience Subject Group, 2009
  • Turner, I. J. (2008). Who wants to be a biologist? An excellent quiz tool for students. Bioscience Education11(1), 1-3
  • Kazmierczyk, Z., & Turner, I. J. (2021). Self-identification of electronically scanned signatures (ESS) and digitally constructed signatures (DCS). Forensic Sciences Research, 1-4
  • Thandauthapani, T. D., Reeve, A. J., Long, A. S., Turner, I. J., & Sharp, J. S. (2018). Exposing latent fingermarks on problematic metal surfaces using time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy. Science & Justice58(6), 405-414
  • Roloff, B., Offa, B., & Turner, I. J. (2017). Indentation recovery threshold using the Electrostatic Detection Apparatus®. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal50(1), 23-29
  • Turner, I. J., & Turner, Y. T. A. (2010) Nanotechnology in Forensic Science. the Report - Journal of the Westminster and Holborn Law Society - September 2010
  • Bradley, J., & Turner, I. J. (2010) Forensic science and the attribution of 19th-century stereoviews. John Bradley and Ian J Turner, Stereoscopic World, Vol 35 (8)
  • Mehrban, N., & Turner I. J. (2008) A Comparison of the identifying features in Signatures and Digitally Scanned Signatures, American Journal of Questioned Document Examiners – Volume 11, No. 1. June
  • Turner, I. J., Sidhu, R. K., & Love, J. M. (2008). A preliminary study investigating class characteristics in the Gurmukhi handwriting of 1st and 2nd generation Punjabis. Science & Justice48(3), 126-132