Dr Samantha Pugh

Dr Samantha Pugh


Dr. Samantha Pugh is a National Teaching Fellow, the Director of Student Education in Physics and Astronomy, and Institutional Academic Lead for Digital Assessment. She has an outstanding track record for developing context-based learning and working in partnership with students in the Physical Sciences. She is also recognised 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 £900k 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), the Office for Students (OfS) and the Universities of York and Leeds, to lead educational enhancement.

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. The group expanded in 2022 to include the Engineering schools, becoming Pedagogic Research in Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Samantha completed a ‘Leeds Excellence and Innovation Fellowship’ sabbatical at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence in 2017/18. Her institutional project isl ‘Reimagining Assessment in Higher Education by learning from Secondary Education.’ Samantha believes that a programme-level understanding of assessment is the key to enhancing the career prospects of university graduates.


  • Director of Student Education
  • Leader - PRiSME Group
  • University Academic Lead for Digital Assessment

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, evaluating the impact of outreach activities, and the benefits and impact of employer engagement on the undergraduate curriculum. I am also interested in research relating to digital pedagogies, and in particular digital assessment. 

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.


<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 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

  • Director of Student Education (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Module Manager: Physics into Work
  • Module Manager: Physics Group Innovation Project
  • Module contributor: Professional Skills in Physics and Chemistry: Idea to Market; 

Research groups and institutes

  • Physics Education

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>