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Professor Glenn Hurst

Green Chemistry Education

+44 (0)1904 322842



Glenn Hurst completed a MChem from Durham University and PhD from Newcastle University. He was appointed as an Associate Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of York in 2014 and was made Full Professor in 2023. He is chair of the Board of Studies where he oversees the operation management, and review of the portfolio of programmes and related learning and teaching provision in Chemistry. He is a former chair of the Natural Sciences Teaching Committee where his role consisted of managing enhancements in teaching, learning and assessment for Natural Sciences students. He also led the institutional Learning and Teaching Forum, which nurtures and shares creativity and good practice in learning and teaching across the institution.

His research interests lie within chemistry education, specialising in adopting systems-thinking approaches within all levels of green and sustainable chemistry education, where he works within the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence. Hurst is also focused on utilising social media for technology-enhanced learning and developing new mobile applications for game-based learning. He regularly presents his work internationally and publishes in the chemistry education literature together with serving on the editorial board of multiple journals.

Hurst delivers multiple modes of teaching across the undergraduate curriculum with a focus on organic chemistry and green chemistry. At the postgraduate level he delivers transferrable skills training as part of MSc Green Chemistry and Sustainable Industrial Technology, together with delivery of a bespoke Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training programme in Chemistry and supervises postgraduate students completing the York Learning and Teaching Award. Hurst frequently delivers continuing professional development training for staff in teaching across the institution and beyond.

He was recognised by Jisc as one of the top ten social media superstars in higher education in 2017, was a finalist in the Times Higher Education ‘Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ category in 2018, highly commended for ‘Teaching Excellence’ in the Educate North Awards 2019, won the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement Award for Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemistry Education in 2019, given the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Higher Education Teaching Award in 2020, awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2021 and a JoVE Innovation in Instruction Award in 2021.

He has gained SFHEA status, is a Chartered Chemist and former chair of the RSC Higher Education Group.



Our research embraces a students-as-partners approach to use innovative pedagogical tools and methodologies, conferring a deep understanding of subject matter using holistic systems thinking frameworks. Through this, learners are enabled to visualise the interconnections and relationships among components of complex and dynamic systems together with being able to examine how the system may change over time and how systems-level phenomena emerge from interactions between associated constituents.

By utilising a blend of top-down and bottom-up approaches designed to engage students while providing them with rich contexts, learners can access a more integrated and interdisciplinary understanding. Such approaches have included programme and module design together with facilitating new technology-enhanced learning opportunities through social media and gaming.  

Systems thinking approaches are highly applicable towards addressing the most pressing global challenges such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals given the interconnected nature of the goals, requiring interdisciplinary collaboration at an international level and the consideration of entire dynamic systems. Through an integrated systems-level understanding, this can create opportunities to evoke change in accordance with the goals where the impact can be enhanced through demonstrating synergies and potential conflicts between goals as a result of system perturbations.

Systems thinking approaches to education are particularly well suited for integration with green and sustainable chemistry because applying the principles of green chemistry and devising molecular design strategies all depend upon considering the reliance of reactions and processes on one another with local and global systems. Much of our work is focused on employing an overarching systems thinking framework within green and sustainable chemistry education.

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