Discovering Science: Global Challenges

FutureLearn Discovering Science: Global Challenges

University of Leeds
5 hours/week
2 weeks
Paid Certificate Available
Part of
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Find out how the Penicillin class of antibiotics has been a major breakthrough in the treatment of patients. However, with bacteria developing efficient ways of resisting antibiotic treatment, discover how scientists are treating patients with infections resulting from resistant bacteria.

The world’s population is approaching eight billion people, putting increasing strain on our ability to feed everybody. Explore the strategies currently being developed, and the role that chemistry plays in finding solutions to food security.

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in chemistry; no previous knowledge or experience is required.

If you are working in the field of science and would like to practice and improve your science writing skills, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

If you intend to complete the Discovering Science program, it is recommended that you complete Discovering Science: Science Writing before starting this course, however this course can still be studied independently.

What topics will you cover?
  • The origins of penicillin and the research behind antibiotic development.
  • The way in which pencillins kill bacteria.
  • Introduction to the molecular structure of the penicillins and how their structure underpins their antibacterial properties.
  • The ways in which some bacteria types are able to become resistant to antibiotics.
  • The clinical research of a consultant in infectious and travel medicine.
  • The challenges behind educating people in the proper use of antibiotics.
  • The ways in which chemists are making contributions to overcoming the problem of bacterial resistance.
  • The ethical issues associated with powerful medicines, and the appropriate uses of them.
  • Assignment: prepare interview questions to demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues behind a scientific topic.
  • The uses of chemistry in addressing the challenges of feeding a growing population.
  • The role of chemical crop protection agents and the development of agrochemicals.
  • The way agrochemical products are discovered and designed.
  • The discovery of the World’s most widely used fungicidal agent, Azoxystrobin.
  • The multidisciplinary nature of the discovery of new biologically active molecules.
  • The uses of natural crops and their genetically-modified alternatives.
  • Sustainable options for feeding a rapidly growing population.
  • Alternative methods of agriculture that complement the use of chemical crop protection agents.
  • Assignment: a peer reviewed task to write a blog post on a scientific topic.

Taught by
Paul Taylor
First release
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