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Dr Marion Birch - personal details

Contact details

Role: Senior Lecturer and Faculty Academic Lead (NAP)

Tel: 0161 275-0485





Marion Birch is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy and Academic Lead for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences New Academics Programme.

Marion is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Chartered Physicist, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is a member of the IOP HE Group Committee and the IOP Membership Committee. From 2008-11 Marion was the University of Manchester representative on EUPEN (European Physics Education Network) and is currently the representative on HOPE (Horizons of Physics Education), a new European Academic Network.

Marion graduated with a first class honours degree in Applied Physics from City University, London in 1975, and was awarded the Poynton Prize in Physics. She gained a studentship award to work at CERN on BEBC, the Big European Bubble Chamber for a short period before returning to the UK to do her Ph.D at the University of Liverpool. Following her doctorate studies on the mechanical properties of graphite, Marion spent eleven years in research and development with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) working specifically on the mechanical properties of both moderator and fuel sleeve graphite for the UK Civil Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (CAGRs). She then transferred to the Safety and Reliability Directorate where she worked for three years as a Senior Safety Consultant involved in probabilistic risk assessment for the nuclear industry. In 1994 she obtained a PGCE and moved to Bolton Institute (subsequently the University of Bolton) where she was a Senior Lecturer within the Engineering and Safety Department. She joined the University of Manchester in 2005.

In 1999, Marion set up the Bolton Institute Mentoring Scheme, part of the UK Athena Project, a UK-wide initiative funded by HEFCE, CVCP and the DTI to improve the participation and promotion of female scientists and engineers in HE. In 2003, she expanded the scheme and founded the North West Universities Mentoring Scheme, the first regional inter-university mentoring scheme in the UK. Marion has been a consultant on mentoring to several universities and has given numerous presentations on mentoring in the UK and the Netherlands.

At Manchester Marion has introduced innovative teaching approaches to teaching within the School of Physics and Astronomy, e.g. Just-in-Time Teaching and the use of interactive voting systems and Peer Instruction. In 2009 she won a University Teaching Excellence Award for this work. She also founded the Teaching Research and Innovation Group within the School of Physics and Astronomy in 2009.

Marion currently lectures on the first year  Properties of Matter course and is the Staff Co-ordinator of the School Student Peer Mentoring Scheme.