Dr Emma Cochrane

Dr Emma Cochrane


I am a passionate physics educator, currently employed as a Lecturer in Teaching and Scholarship in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. I obtained my BSc in Physics from the University of Sheffield where I was awarded the Clarke Prize in Experimental Physics. I then moved to the University of Birmingham where I obtained a PhD in experimental nuclear physics, using laser spectroscopy to investigate the structure of nuclei in stable and short lived isotopes. After working as a postdoctoral Research Associate in the nuclear structure group I relocated to the University of Leeds where I was appointed as a Research Fellow working on spectroscopic techniques applied to Photodynamic Therapy, a cancer treatment which uses targeted drugs and laser light to destroy cancerous cells. During this time I realised that although I am an experimental physicist at heart, my true passion lies with teaching. I left the University and gained Qualified Teacher Status through the GRTP scheme while working at a school in East Leeds. I continued working at the same school for several years before returning to the University of Leeds in 2009 when I was appointed as a Teaching Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy. In 2012 I moved to the Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC) at the University where I developed and taught the Physics (and Mathematics) modules for the Science Foundation years when they were moved onto Campus. After working in the LLC for 9 years I returned to the School of Physics and Astronomy where I was appointed as a Lecturer in Teaching and Scholarship under the Curriculum Redefined initiative.


  • First Year Laboratory Module Lead
  • Co-Admissions Tutor
  • International Foundation Year Physics Lead

Research interests

I have been an active member of the the Physics Education Research Group in the School of Physics & Astronomy at Leeds since it was founded in 2016. I contributed to the initial BEST project and have carried out investigations into the current Physics and Maths A levels, as well as ways to make physics resources accessible under the 2018 Accessibility Act. Since moving back into the School of Physics and Astronomy I have led investigations into the prevalence and causes of Imposter Phenomenon in undergraduate physics students and I have been researching ways to increase creativity in undergraduate teaching labs. I currently hold a LITE Fellowship researching active learning among ‘quite’ physical science students.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc (Class I, Hons) Physics
  • PhD Experimental Nuclear Physics
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) obtained through the GRTP scheme

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Member of Institute of Physics

Student education

My research and scholarship in physics education is closely linked to my own teaching. The majority of my teaching is the undergraduate laboratory for both the first year and the international foundation year. I also teach on a foundation year module and have several final year project students each year.