Professor Neil I. Ward

Professor in Analytical Chemistry

Email:
Phone: Work: 01483 68 9303
Room no: 02 AZ 03

Further information

Biography

Professor Neil I. Ward lectures on Analytical and Environmental Chemistry and Scientific Communication (Personal and Professional Development) at both UG and PG levels. He is Director of Employability for Chemistry leading to the enhancement of career development for graduates and postgraduates.


Stop Press: Professor Ward has been invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The invitation is in recognition of Prof Ward's significant contribution to the chemical sciences, most notably to the field of analytical and environmental chemistry. The list of Fellows who have recently been admitted to the RSC was announced in The Times on Wednesday 14 March. 

Stop Press: It has been announced by St James’s Palace that the University of Surrey has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the Diamond Jubilee round for 2010-12. Prof Neil Ward from Chemistry is part of the team of researchers.

The award recognises in particular the University’s ‘in depth research expertise for improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation worldwide’. Representatives of the University will receive the award at Buckingham Palace on 24th February 2012.

The Vice-Chancellor commented: “The Queen's Anniversary Prize is the most prestigious honour open to a UK university. We're delighted to have won the prize again. It acknowledges that Surrey's research in crucial fields such as safe water and sanitation is second to none.”

Click here to read more.



His research interests centre on instrumental method development and quality control validation for analysing a wide range of sample types for total multi-element and metal speciation, cations/anions using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), neutron activation analysis (INAA) and hyphenated techniques (IC- or HPLC-ICP-MS). He is interested in elemental speciation: (1) using field-based solid phase extraction (SPE) devices and methods of elemental removal (especially As, Sb, V and U) from ground and surface waters; and (2) biomedical applications relating to health diagnosis and treatment, e.g. Se and Zn in blood serum and infertility cases.

He has studied the involvement of trace and ultra-trace elements in human fluids and tissues for more than 35 years in relation to many human disorders, especially pre-conceptual problems, birth defects, infertility, hyperactivity and anti-social behaviour in children, and numerous metabolic and neurological diseases.

The ICP-MS Facility he oversees (since 1990) has been involved in many international environmental incidents, including Chernobyl, Camelford, the Gloucester chemical fire (2000), the London Orbital (M25) motorway and the Newbury (A34) bypass. One of his main research areas has been the study of heavy metal pollution from motorways in many countries around the world since 1973; especially the long term effects of Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Pt in storm water drainage facilities and motorway corridor surface soils and plants. In recent years, the group has evaluated the chemical characterisation and dispersion of elements relating to volcanic eruptions in Chile and Argentina.

He sits on the editorial board of the 6 international journals on analytical/environmental or trace element medical research and is a member of Council for ISTERH (International Society For Trace Element Research in Humans).

In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Donald MacLaren Award by WACE for innovation, administration and international development of work integrated learning programmes. He was for 20 years the Senior Professional Training (or Industrial Work-based Learning/Cooperative Education) Tutor for Chemistry and since 1997 a University of Surrey representative of WACE (World Association for Cooperative CooP Education). In 2007 he became the Chairman of the Professional Training and Careers Committee (PTCC - until 2015) which oversees the delivery of the PTY placement programmes for more than 800 UG students. He is an enthusiastic supporter of personal development, especially incorporating skills and competency activities into all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate education. He has been actively involved in the development and administration of global student exchange programmes for work-based learning over the last 30 years and is involved in student CooP exchange programmes with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Japan and in the near future, South America.

Research Interests

Below you can download a selection of posters detailing some of Prof. Ward's recent research projects.
 Poster Title
Poster 1 (12132.5KB)Field-Based Arsenic Speciation in Water Samples and the Relationship to Human Health
Poster 2 (1880.0KB)Arsenic Speciation Analysis of Geothermal
Waters in New Zealand
Poster 3 (901.0KB)The Measurement of Boron in the Environment and Human Hair in relation to Argentina, South America
Poster 4 (1708.2KB - Requires Adobe Reader)"Water for Life" Project
Poster 5 (1663.02KB - Requires Adobe Reader)Arsenic Species in the Río Agrio, Neuquén Province,Argentina
Poster 6 (1784.0KB)State General Laboratory of Cyprus and ICP-MS Facility Collaboration for Environmental Research, Learning and Teaching

 

  • Analytical method development for trace element total and/or speciation analysis using field-based SPE devices and  laboratory chromatography – inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for bioinorganic, biomedical and environmental analysis;
  • Trace element total and/or speciation analysis (especially, Se, I, B, As, Cu/Fe/Zn) of human tissues and fluids in relation to human health status, with specific interest in diabetes, infertility conditions, neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, bipolar, Alzheimer’s);
  • Heavy metal (Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn, Pt, etc), cation/anions), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) mobilisation and accumulation in environmental media through contamination by motorway run-off stormwater and atmospheric dispersion onto surface soils and plants;
  • Trace element status of children (ADHD, hyperactivity) and young adults (including antisocial behaviour and young offenders) with developmental problems in relation to their diet and environmental exposure;
  • Heavy metal (As, Cd, Cu, Pb, Pt, Sb, Sn, U, etc) and boron contamination of the environment through natural and anthropogenic (agrochemical, geochemical, mining, agricultural, transportational and industrial) activities, especially in South America (Argentina and Brazil), New Zealand, Greece and Cyprus: and bioremediation technologies for environmental clean-up using electro-deposition or solid phase/biological remediation (zeolites, iron oxide/iron hydroxide/carbon-based materials, plants, fungi);
  • Quality control analysis, including inter-laboratory comparisons for evaluating new instruments, methods of sample preparation and for the validation of procedures relating to the detection of specific elements in varying types of samples;
  • Co-operative Education, virtual Learning or e-learning personal and professional development planning (PPD), Chem-PT administrative and management website for Professional Training in Chemistry, VORCHEM Co. virtual learning site, Postgraduate Skills for the World of Work virtual learning course; industry-based learning in South America, Global Co-operative Student Exchange Programs.

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was developed in Chemistry by Dr Alan Gray (in collaboration with Dr S. Houk) during the early 1980s. In 2010, a new Agilent 7700X instrument was installed in the ICP-MS Facility, the forth instrument in Chemistry, maintaining the longest history of academic research in this analytical field in the world.  The new instrument has many exciting features, including a collision cell that enables many trace elements that are of clinical and environmental interest, namely Se, Cr, V, As, Cu, Zn and Mo to be determined at very low ultra-trace levels (µg/l), without concerns about polyatomic interferences. The enhanced sensitivity across the mass range (from boron to uranium) provides an excellent opportunity for researchers across the university and on an international level to undertake collaborative research projects in many fields, from materials, food quality, forensic, drug discovery, bioinorganic (chemical speciation), water/environmental and clinical/health diagnosis and treatment, etc. At present the new instrument is the focal point of supporting projects in Chemical Sciences relating to collaborators from Brazil, Argentina, Greece, Cyprus, Canada, Iraq, Singapore and Pakistan.

Some of Prof. Ward’s research publications in this area are:
(i) RAYMAN, M.P., ABOU-SHAKRA, F.R., WARD, N.I., 1996. Determination of Selenium in Blood Serum by Hydride Generation Inductively Couples Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 11(1), 61-68.
(ii) DURRANT, S.F., WARD, N.I., 2005. Recent biological and environmental applications of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 20, 821-829.
(iii) WATTS , M.J., WARD, N.I., “Enzymatic Pre-digestion of Human Breast Milk and Infant Formula for Total Iodine and Speciation Analysis by Ion Chromatography-Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS).” 2nd Int. Conf. on Trace Element Speciation in Biomedical, Nutritional and Environmental Sciences, GSF, Munich, Germany . (7-10th May, 2001).
(iv) WARD, N.I., ADAIR, J., ABOU-SHAKRA, F.R., “Selenium Speciation Analysis of Human Seminal Plasma Following Selenium Supplementation.” 3rd International Conference on Trace Element Speciation in Biomedical, Nutritional and Environmental Sciences, GSF – National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Munich-Neuherberg, Germany . (May 10-13, 2004).
(v) GOUBATCHEV, A., ZETTEL, V.H., WARD, N.I., “Cadmium Speciation of Motorway Drainage Stormwaters and Sediments by IC and ICP-MS: Impact on Cd Leaching and Mobilisation After Thawing Salt Application.” 3rd International Conference on Trace Element Speciation in Biomedical, Nutritional and Environmental Sciences, GSF – National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Munich-Neuherberg, Germany . (May 10-13, 2004).
(vi) KAMALAKKANNAN, R., ZETTEL, V., GOUBATCHEV, A., STEAD-DEXTER, K., WARD, N.I., 2004. Chemical (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals) levels in contaminated stormwater and sediments from a motorway dry detention pond drainage system. J. Environ. Monitor. 6(3), 175-181.
(vii) DURRANT, S.F., WARD, N.I., 2005. Recent biological and environmental applications of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 20, 821-829.
(viii) WATTS, M.J., O’REILLY, J., MARCILLA, A.L., SHAW, R.A., WARD, N.I., 2010. Field based speciation of arsenic in UK and Argentinean water samples. Environ. Geochem. Health. 32(6), 479-90.

A major feature of the ICP-MS Facility is the training of young analytical chemists who are introduced to the ‘real world’ of ICP-MS. This involves being able to understand all the major components of the instrument, including modifications to the hardware so as to be fit for the purpose of the specific analysis being undertaken, instrument maintenance and software/data manipulation and interpretation.

Special Analytical Features: Field based SPE Arsenic Speciation Analysis
In 2006, a collaborative research study was started to apply a new field-based solid phase extraction (SPE) methodology for the separation and quantification of arsenic (total and the 4 main species – As3+, As5+, MA and DMA) in ground waters from various regions of central/Andes Argentina. Moreover, data was obtained for physiochemical parameters (pH, electric conductivity, total dissolved solids, temperature) and arsenic (total and speciation) in filtered and unfiltered groundwater samples from San Juan, La Pampa, Rio Negro and Neuquén provinces. The unique features of this study, when compared with previous research in the field of arsenic speciation analysis of ground water, relate to the SPE methodology used. Field-based separation and preservation of the As species at the time of sample collection in Argentina eliminates any concerns arising from the conventional determination of arsenic species in ground water (O’Reilly et al., 2010; Watts et al., 2010).

Sample collection, preservation, transport and storage stages, before arsenic species separation and detection using HPLC-ICP-MS (or other hyphenated techniques), are still fraught with potential problems. Moreover, many studies use mathematical calculations or pre-analysis chemical modifications to estimate the arsenic species levels in ground waters. For example, in two major studies reporting As speciation data of groundwater in Argentina: (1) “at the time of collection samples for As3+ analysis were acidified to pH 4 (HCl) and subsequently to 2% v/v (HCl) for total As. As3+ analysis (in the United Kingdom) was completed as soon as possible, that is within 2 weeks of collection in Argentina”; (2) “analyses for As3+ were carried out using samples filtered through Disposable Cartridges® and acidified with 14M HNO3. The concentrations of As5+ were later determined by calculating the differences between total As and As3+ in the samples. Since the samples were acidified with 14M HNO3, the possible ICP-MS interferences of the atomic masses of ArCl and As were eliminated”. Interestingly, no validation data was reported for these methods. The field based SPE methodology for arsenic speciation in the 2006-9 study utilises two solid phase extraction cartridges, namely, a Varian 500 mg Junior Bond Elut® strong cation exchange (SCX) and strong anion exchange (SAX).  All samples (typically 30 cm3) were filtered with a 0.45 μm filter before separation.  Validation of the SPE field-based arsenic speciation method was undertaken using HPLC-ICP-MS (Watts et al. 2010), to confirm the presence of the individual arsenic species in their respective fractions. Filtered and acidified (F/A) water samples for total arsenic analysis and fractionated water samples from the SPE field-speciation method were analysed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS, Agilent 7500 Series, Agilent Technologies, UK).  Arsenic detection was performed in collision cell mode using 4 l /min He to minimise polyatomic interferences at m/z 75 such as 40Ar35Cl+. The limit of detection (LOD) for arsenic by ICP-MS for each of the 4 arsenic species by HPLC-ICP-MS was reported as As3+: 0.14 μg/l, DMA: 0.15 μg/l, MA: 0.12 μg/l and As5+: 0.10 μg/l.

This methodology confirmed that for the first time arsenic speciation analysis of ground water could be undertaken with a high level of confidence because errors from conventional sample collection and laboratory analysis technologies were reduced or eliminated (Watts et al., 2010). Moreover, with the detection of arsenic using ICP-MS at a detection limit  of 0.1 µg/l, 100 times below the WHO recommended drinking limit of 10 µg/l As, it was possible to obtain accurate data on arsenic (total and species) for a variety of different ground waters in Argentina (O’Reilly et al., 2010).

Quality Control Assessment of Analytical Procedures Used for Determining Trace and Ultra Trace Element Levels


The ICP-MS Facility regularly evaluates all analytical activities by measuring reference materials, and is involved in inter-laboratory and inter-analytical method comparisons for trace element measurements. Recent studies have explored the development of "in-house" reference samples to evaluate the accuracy and precision of sample preparation and calibration procedures when investigating complex biological materials, such as, human nails, tear drops, foodstuffs, mineral supplements and tea and/or yerba mate.

Some of Prof. Ward’s research publications in this area are:

(i) WARD, N.I., ENTWISTLE, A., ZETTEL, V.H., 2003. Human nails for assessing trace elements. The Nutrition Practitioner, 4(2), 41-2.
(ii) WARD, N.I. 2004 Trace Element Composition and Bioavailability of Human Breast Milk and Infant Formula. The Nutrition Practitioner, 5(1), 11-3.
(iii) DURRANT, S.F., WARD, N.I., 2005. Recent biological and environmental applications of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 20, 821-829.
(iv) WATTS, M.J., O’REILLY, J., MARCILLA, A.L., SHAW, R.A., WARD, N.I., 2010. Field based speciation of arsenic in UK and Argentinean water samples. Environ. Geochem. Health. 32(6), 479-90.
(v) WATTS, M.J., O’REILLY, J., MARCILLA, A., COLEMAN, A., ANDER, E.L., WARD, N.I., 2010. A snapshot of environmental iodine and selenium in La Pampa and San Juan provinces of Argentina. J. Geochem. Exploration 107, 87-93.

Chemical Contamination of Motorway Environments

Prof. Ward and numerous UG and PG students of the ICP-MS facility have been undertaking extensive studies on evaluating the multi-element and chemical speciation forms of surface waters, sediments, soils, and animal tissues and fluids in order to assess the degree of contamination of motorway environments, especially the London Orbital M25 and the Newbury Bypass (A34)  in the UK; Thessaloniki (Greece); Nicosia-Larnaca - Ayia Napa (Cyprus); Sao Paulo (Brazil); Buenos Aires and General Roca/Neuquen (Argentina). In the last 10 years he has developed analytical methods for the detection of platinum in roadside dust samples, and then used these methods to quantify the levels of platinum and other metals in dust samples taken from alongside the M25 motorway.

Using sequential extraction methods and HPLC-ICP-MS Prof. Ward has been measuring the changes in metal species in motorway run-off as it is transported through natural watercourses. This has focused on evaluating the mobilisation of heavy metals, anions and cations from salt application and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in storm water drainage pond sediments. Prof. Ward has also investigated the use of solid phase materials (zeolites, iron oxide/hydroxide and carbon-based) for the in-situ remediation of run-off waters before discharge into detention ponds or agricultural land.

Some of Prof. Ward’s research publications in this area are:

(i) HARES, R.J., WARD, N.I., 1999. Comparison of the Heavy Metal Content of Motorway Stormwater Following Discharge into Wet Biofiltration and Dry Detention Ponds Along the London Orbital (M25) Motorway. The Science of the Total Environment, 235, 169-178.
(ii) STEAD-DEXTER, K., WARD, N.I., 2004. Mobility of heavy metals within freshwater sediments affected by motorway stormwater. Sci. Tot. Environ. 334, 271-277.
(iii) WARD, N.I., DUDDING, L.M., 2004. Platinum in motorway (M25 London Orbital) dust samples. Sci. Tot. Environ. 334, 457-463.
(iv) PITCHER, S. K., SLADE R.C.T., WARD, N.I., 2004. Heavy metal removal from motorway stormwater using ion exchange materials. Sci. Tot. Environ. 334,161-166.
(v) HARES, R.J., WARD, N.I., 2004. Sediment accumulation in newly constructed vegetative treatment facilities along a new major road. Sci. Tot. Environ. 334, 473-479.
(vi) KAMALAKKANNAN, R., ZETTEL, V., GOUBATCHEV, A., STEAD-DEXTER, K., WARD, N.I., 2004. Chemical (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals) levels in contaminated stormwater and sediments from a motorway dry detention pond drainage system. J. Environ. Monitor. 6(3), 175-181.
(vii) EWAN, C., ANAGNOSTOPOULOU, M.A., WARD, N.I., 2009. Monitoring of heavy metal levels in roadside dusts of Thessaloniki, Greece in relation to motor vehicle traffic density and flow. Environ. Monit. Assess. 157, 483-98.

Chemical Factors in Human Health and Disease


The role and interaction of trace elements in relation to human health and disease is important as a possible means of diagnosis and evaluation of the nutritional, chemical and biochemical factors relating to disease. Our research focuses on assessing various biomonitors (blood serum, CSF, breast milk, hair, nails, placental tissue, seminal fluid, tear drops), methods of sample collection, preparation, and validation, and establishing databases of elemental data in relation to normal and numerous social or disease-related individuals (stillbirths, spina bifida, pre-eclampsia, cystic fibrosis, hyperactivity, allergy, criminal behaviour, diabetes, bipolar, obesity, etc).

Special areas of research involve the detection of trace element imbalances in relation to hyperactivity disorders in children, especially in relation to food colours, antibiotic history and dietary or environmental factors.

Some of Prof. Ward’s research publications in this area are:

(i) WARD, N.I., 1997. Assessment of Chemical Factors in Relation to Child Hyperactivity. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 7, 333-342.
(ii) WARD, N.I., 2001. Hyperactivity and a Previous History of Antibiotic Usage. The Nutrition Practitioner, 3.3, 12-3.(iii) WARD, N. I., HAMMOND , N., MARCILLA, A., DURRANT, S.F., “Elemental Status of Individuals from Rio Negro, Argentina : Use of Scalp Hair as a Biomarker of Environmental and Dietary Sources”. 8th Rio Symposium on Atomic Spectrometry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil . (August 1-6, 2004).

Boron and Arsenic Speciation in a Semi-Arid Region of Argentina – Water Quality and Impact on Human Health

In April 2006, Prof. Ward co-organised an international conference on Boron. The 1-day conference was held at INTA.E.E.A., San Juan, Argentina and had more than 120 delegates.

The province of San Juan, Argentina has a desert-continental climate with very little rainfall. The main agricultural activity is the wine industry with grape production being of fundamental importance to the local economy. The Andes mountain range provides, via a series of river systems, the major source of water to support this agricultural activity. In particular, the Rio San Juan and Rio Jachal are very important sources and as such the water quality is vital to support the grape, and other food crop, production of the province. The region of Jachal has a major network of rivers and dams providing the water supply for the area. The water contains higher than normal levels of various elements (boron, arsenic) and electrolytes (Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, etc) and as such has brought about a scientific need to research the quality of the regional water supplies and the potential impact on agriculture and human health.

Throughout 2005-10 the ICP-MS Facility has started undertaking a major environmental impact assessment of boron and the other chemicals in this region. In collaboration with scientists from INTA, INA, local universities and commercial companies a ‘Boron Network’ has been established to undertake future research studies on the impact of boron on water quality, agricultural production (especially wine) and human health.

In 2006, a major research programme was started in relation to field based arsenic speciation analysis of waters in Argentina in collaboration with Dr Michael Watts of British Geological Survey (and subsequently in Greece, New Zealand, Cyprus and Iraq).

Arsenic Speciation Data for Groundwater in Argentina

In summary, the 2006-9 study focused on the arsenic speciation analysis of ground waters from two agricultural towns in La Pampa, the rural community of Encon (San Juan) and an agricultural community in Rio Negro. In all cases the water samples were obtained directly from wells. Total arsenic levels in La Pampa (central Argentina within the Chaco-Pampean Plain) ranged from 3 – 1326 μg /l As.  The highest total arsenic levels were found in well waters (from both rural farms and pre-treated urban sources), particularly with high pH (typically > 8.2), conductivity (> 2600 μS/cm) and TDS (> 1400 ppm). La Pampa ground waters displayed As3+ and As5+ levels of 100 – 466 μg/l and 1.5 – 132 μg/l, respectively.  Monomethylarsonic acid was detectable in some ground waters (up to 79 μg/l MA).  Very low levels of dimethyl arsinic acid ranged from < 0.15 – 1.4 μg/l  DMA.

Encon (southern San Juan) is predominantly set upon Quaternary continental deposits.  The geological composition of the sampling area would suggest similar arsenic levels to those found in La Pampa. The well water pH conditions ranged from 9.3 – 9.7; conductivity levels of 972 – 1603 μS/cm and TDS, 526 – 1346 ppm. The total As levels were 21 – 353 μg /l As.  Encon well waters contained a significantly higher percentage of As3+: community drinking water 86% As3+ (mean 323 μg/l) and 7 % As5+ (mean 27 μg/l); rural farm livestock watering/ irrigation  99 % As3+ (mean 57 μg/l), with the remaining 1 % made up of the three other species. Previous studies on the levels of arsenic in waters in La Pampa have mainly reported As5+ as the main species. This finding was deduced from the subtraction of As3+ from the total arsenic level. This subtraction method does not account for organoarsenic species and may provide false positive concentrations for As5+.  The use of SPE cartridges that have the ability to separate and retain the individual aqueous arsenic species (inorganic and organic) in the field provides a much more reliable method for their detection in environment samples.

Chemical Evaluation of the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado, Patagonia, Argentina
During 2005-8, two major chemical research investigations were made of the water quality of the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado systems in northern Patagonia, Argentina. A detailed programme of water and sediment sampling resulted in the production of two Rio Negro newspaper supplements:
    Río Colorado     http://www1.rionegro.com.ar/diario/nuestraagua/2009/03/31/

    Río Negro          http://www1.rionegro.com.ar/diario/nuestraagua/2007/01/07/

Some of Prof. Ward’s research publications in this area are:

(i) WARD, N.I., “Boron in the Environment and Human Health”. Boron Conference, INTA.E.A.A. San Juan, Argentina (April 6th, 2006).
(ii) HILL, S., WARD, N.I., “Boron Analysis”. Boron Conference, INTA.E.A.A. San Juan, Argentina (April 6th, 2006).
(iii) WARD, N.I., HILL, S., MARCILLA, A.L., ALLENDE, D., “Boron in Jachal – Preliminary Studies”. Boron Conference, INTA.E.A.A. San Juan, Argentina (April 6th, 2006).
(iv) WATTS, M.J., O’REILLY, J., MARCILLA, A.L., SHAW, R.A., WARD, N.I., 2010. Field based speciation of arsenic in UK and Argentinean water samples. Environ. Geochem. Health. 32(6), 479-90.
(v) O’REILLY, J., WATTS, M.J., SHAW, R.A., MARCILLA, A.L., WARD, N.I., 2010, Arsenic contamination of natural waters in San Juan and La Pampa, Argentina. Environ. Geochem. Health. 32(6), 491-515.
(vi) WATTS, M.J., O’REILLY, J., MARCILLA, A., COLEMAN, A., ANDER, E.L., WARD, N.I., 2010. A snapshot of environmental iodine and selenium in La Pampa and San Juan provinces of Argentina. J. Geochem. Exploration 107, 87-93.

Publications

Journal articles

  • Karatela S, Ward NI. (2016) 'Trace elements and human obesity: An overview'. Manipal Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences, 2 (2), pp. 50-59.

    Abstract

    The human body requires certain amount of trace elements to function properly (especially those that are classified as essential to health). Most elements are co-factors in the molecular mechanisms within the body but when in excess can also cause toxicity. Concentrations of some elements in excess (above optimum) or deficient amount can progress to some types of metabolic abnormalities which could lead to obesity. Obesity is a multifactorial condition with multiple pathways including environmental, dietary, and genetic. All these factors, including elemental abnormalities can disrupt the molecular mechanisms. Whilst there is evidence that obesity causes several elemental deficiencies, there is lack of knowledge on how these elemental deficiencies are related to an obese individual. This review examined the literature to determine if there are biological reasons to believe that low or increased concentrations of certain trace elements, namely, copper, magnesium, iodine, cobalt, molybdenum, boron, antimony, aluminium, chromium, selenium, manganese, calcium, zinc and iron might be associated with increased body fat.

  • Ward NI, Lord G, Farnfield H, O'Reilly J, Al Rawahi W, Watts MJ, Marcilla AL. (2014) 'Arsenic speciation analysis of water in Argentina'. One Century of the Discovery of Arsenicosis in Latin America (1914-2014): As 2014 - Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment, , pp. 201-203.

    Abstract

    The arsenic speciation analysis of water (surface and ground) was undertaken in thirteen provinces of Argentina. A field-based method utilizing solid phase extraction cartridges enabled the selective retention of iAs III, iAsV, MAV and DMAV. All fractions and a 'total' arsenic acidified sample were analyzed by ICP-MS using a collision cell. Total arsenic levels varied from <0.2 to 6754 μg L -1, with the highest levels in Neuquén (surface) and in Santiago del Estero and La Pampa (ground). The lowest total As levels were found in Misiones and Chubut (surface; <0.2 μg L-1). Speciation levels varied depending on water type, pH and redox potential. In San Juan and Neuquén, the predominant species is iAsIII (surface) whereas in La Pampa (ground) there is variation: Eduardo Castex (iAsIII > iAsV), Ingeniero Luiggi (iAsIII ∼ iAsV), San Martin (iAsIII < iAsV). In Buenos Aires and Santa Fe (ground), the main As species is iAsV. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group.

  • Romolo FS, Christopher ME, Donghi M, Ripani L, Jeynes C, Webb RP, Ward NI, Kirkby KJ, Bailey MJ. (2013) 'Integrated Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) in Gunshot Residue (GSR) characterisation'. Forensic Science International, 231 (1-3), pp. 219-228.

    Abstract

    Gunshot Residue (GSR) is residual material from the discharge of a firearm, which frequently provides crucial information in criminal investigations. Changes in ammunition manufacturing are gradually phasing out the heavy metals on which current forensic GSR analysis is based, and the latest Heavy Metal Free (HMF) primers urgently demand new forensic solutions. Proton scanning microbeam Ion Beam Analysis (IBA), in conjunction with the Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with an Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer (SEM-EDS), can be introduced into forensic analysis to solve both new and old problems, with a procedure entirely commensurate with current forensic practice. Six cartridges producing GSR particles known to be interesting in casework by both experience and the literature were selected for this study. A standard procedure to relocate the same particles previously analysed by SEM-EDS, based on both secondary electron (SE) and X-ray imaging was developed and tested. Elemental Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) mapping of the emitted X-rays allowed relocation in a scan of 10μm×10μm of even a 1μm GSR particle. The comparison between spectra from the same particle obtained by SEM-EDS and IBA-PIXE showed that the latter is much more sensitive at mid-high energies. Results that are very interesting in a forensic context were obtained with particles from a cartridge containing mercury fulminate in the primer. Particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) maps of a particles from HMF cartridges allowed identification of Boron and Sodium in particles from hands using the 10B(p,α1γ)7Be, 11B(p,p1γ)11B and 23Na(p,p1γ)23Na reactions, which is extraordinary in a forensic context. The capability for quantitative analysis of elements within individual particles by IBA was also demonstrated, giving the opportunity to begin a new chapter in the research on GSR particles. The integrated procedure that was developed, which makes use of all the IBA signals, has unprecedented characterisation and discrimination power for GSR samples. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  • Bright NJ, Willson TR, Driscoll DJ, Reddy SM, Webb RP, Bleay S, Ward NI, Kirkby KJ, Bailey MJ. (2013) 'Chemical changes exhibited by latent fingerprints after exposure to vacuum conditions'. Forensic Science International, 230 (1-3), pp. 81-86.

    Abstract

    The effect of vacuum exposure on latent fingerprint chemistry has been evaluated. Fingerprints were analysed using a quartz crystal microbalance to measure changes in mass, gas chromatography mass spectrometry to measure changes in lipid composition and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) to determine changes in the content of water, fatty acids and their esters after exposure to vacuum. The results are compared with samples aged under ambient conditions. It was found that fingerprints lose around 26% of their mass when exposed to vacuum conditions, equivalent to around 5 weeks ageing under ambient conditions. Further exposure to vacuum causes a significant reduction in the lipid composition of a fingerprint, in particular with the loss of tetradecanoic and pentadecanoic acid, that was not observed in ambient aged samples. There are therefore implications for sequence in which fingerprint development procedures (for example vacuum metal deposition) are carried out, as well as the use of vacuum based methods such as secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation (MALDI) in the study of fingerprint chemistry. © 2013 .

  • Christopher ME, Warmenhoeven JW, Romolo FS, Donghi M, Webb RP, Jeynes C, Ward NI, Kirkby KJ, Bailey MJ. (2013) 'A new quantitative method for gunshot residue analysis by ion beam analysis.'. Analyst, England: 138 (16), pp. 4649-4655.

    Abstract

    Imaging and analyzing gunshot residue (GSR) particles using the scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDS) is a standard technique that can provide important forensic evidence, but the discrimination power of this technique is limited due to low sensitivity to trace elements and difficulties in obtaining quantitative results from small particles. A new, faster method using a scanning proton microbeam and Particle Induced X-ray Emission (μ-PIXE), together with Elastic Backscattering Spectrometry (EBS) is presented for the non-destructive, quantitative analysis of the elemental composition of single GSR particles. In this study, the GSR particles were all Pb, Ba, Sb. The precision of the method is assessed. The grouping behaviour of different makes of ammunition is determined using multivariate analysis. The protocol correctly groups the cartridges studied here, with a confidence >99%, irrespective of the firearm or population of particles selected.

  • Bright NJ, Willson TR, Driscoll DJ, Reddy SM, Webb RP, Bleay S, Ward NI, Kirkby KJ, Bailey MJ. (2013) 'Chemical changes exhibited by latent fingerprints after exposure to vacuum conditions.'. Forensic Sci Int, Ireland: 230 (1-3), pp. 81-86.

    Abstract

    The effect of vacuum exposure on latent fingerprint chemistry has been evaluated. Fingerprints were analysed using a quartz crystal microbalance to measure changes in mass, gas chromatography mass spectrometry to measure changes in lipid composition and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) to determine changes in the content of water, fatty acids and their esters after exposure to vacuum. The results are compared with samples aged under ambient conditions. It was found that fingerprints lose around 26% of their mass when exposed to vacuum conditions, equivalent to around 5 weeks ageing under ambient conditions. Further exposure to vacuum causes a significant reduction in the lipid composition of a fingerprint, in particular with the loss of tetradecanoic and pentadecanoic acid, that was not observed in ambient aged samples. There are therefore implications for sequence in which fingerprint development procedures (for example vacuum metal deposition) are carried out, as well as the use of vacuum based methods such as secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation (MALDI) in the study of fingerprint chemistry.

  • Lord G, Kim N, Ward NI. (2012) 'Arsenic speciation of geothermal waters in New Zealand'. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14 (12), pp. 3192-3201.

    Abstract

    Total arsenic and four arsenic species; arsenite (iAsIII), arsenate (iAsV), dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV) and monomethylarsonic acid (MAV), are reported in 28 geothermal features from the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) and Waikato region of New Zealand. Samples were collected for arsenic speciation analysis via a solid phase extraction (SPE) kit allowing the separation, stabilisation and pre-concentration of the species at the time of sample collection in the field. This is the first research to present data for arsenic species collected by this technique in geothermal waters from New Zealand. Total arsenic concentrations, determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), ranged from 0.008 to 9.08 mg l-1 As. The highest levels were discovered in three features in Tokaanu (Taumatapuhipuhi, Takarea #5 and #6), with arsenic concentrations of 8.59, 8.70 and 9.08 mg l-1 As, respectively. Inorganic arsenic species were predominant in the geothermal waters, with arsenite contributing to more than 70% of the total arsenic in the majority of samples. Organic species were also determined in all samples, indicating the presence of microbial activity. A potential risk to human health was highlighted due to the high levels of arsenic, mainly as arsenite, in geothermal features linked to bathing pools. Further research is needed into dermal absorption as a potential route of arsenic exposure whilst bathing in these hot pools, as it may contribute to an occurrence of acute arsenic-related health problems. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.

  • Ugarte M, Grime GW, Lord G, Geraki K, Collingwood JF, Finnegan ME, Farnfield H, Merchant M, Bailey MJ, Ward NI, Foster PJ, Bishop PN, Osborne NN. (2012) 'Concentration of various trace elements in the rat retina and their distribution in different structures'. METALLOMICS, 4 (12), pp. 1245-1254.
  • Lord GM, Kim N, Ward NI. (2012) 'Arsenic speciation of geothermal waters in New Zealand'. Journal of Environmental Monitoring,

    Abstract

    Total arsenic and four arsenic species; arsenite (iAsIII), arsenate (iAsV), dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV) and monomethylarsonic acid (MAV), are reported in 28 geothermal features from the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) and Waikato region of New Zealand. Samples were collected for arsenic speciation analysis via a solid phase extraction (SPE) kit allowing the separation, stabilisation and pre-concentration of the species at the time of sample collection in the field. This is the first research to present data for arsenic species collected by this technique in geothermal waters from New Zealand. Total arsenic concentrations, determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), ranged from 0.008 to 9.08 mg l−1 As. The highest levels were discovered in three features in Tokaanu (Taumatapuhipuhi, Takarea #5 and #6), with arsenic concentrations of 8.59, 8.70 and 9.08 mg l−1 As, respectively. Inorganic arsenic species were predominant in the geothermal waters, with arsenite contributing to more than 70% of the total arsenic in the majority of samples. Organic species were also determined in all samples, indicating the presence of microbial activity. A potential risk to human health was highlighted due to the high levels of arsenic, mainly as arsenite, in geothermal features linked to bathing pools. Further research is needed into dermal absorption as a potential route of arsenic exposure whilst bathing in these hot pools, as it may contribute to an occurrence of acute arsenic-related health problems.

  • Christodoulidou M, Charalambous C, Aletrari M, Nicolaidou Kanari P, Petronda A, Ward NI. (2012) 'Arsenic concentrations in groundwaters of Cyprus'. Journal of Hydrology, 468-469, pp. 94-100.

    Abstract

    Cyprus being a Mediterranean island with long dry summers and mild winters suffers from water deficiency and over exploitation of its water resources. Groundwater in Cyprus is a valuable natural resource as approximately 50% of the total water needs come from underground water supplies. According to the Directive 118/2006/EC, groundwater should be protected from deterioration and chemical pollution, this is particularly important for groundwater dependent ecosystems and for the use of groundwater as a water supply for human consumption. During 2007 to 2009, as part of a national monitoring programme, 84 boreholes were sampled in Cyprus and subsequently analysed for total arsenic by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The groundwater concentrations ranged from <0.3 to 41μg/L As. Several boreholes located in a rural farming district near Nicosia had concentrations above the World Health Organisation (WHO) Drinking Water Guideline limit of 10μg/L As. Evaluation of the groundwater sampling procedure for boreholes provided data recommending that water samples should be collected after an initial borehole washout for 5min. Further sampling of these boreholes in 2010, revealed total arsenic concentrations of <0.3-64.2μg/L As, with the predominant arsenic species (determined using a novel field-based methodology) being arsenate (As V). The maximum total arsenic concentration is 6-fold higher than the WHO Drinking Water Guideline limit (10μg/L As) and approximately half of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO) irrigational limit of 100μg/L As. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

  • Ugarte M, Grime GW, Lord GM, Geraki K, Collingwood JF, Finnegan ME, Farnfield H, Merchant M, Bailey MJ, Ward NI, Foster PJ, Bishop PN, Osborne NN. (2012) 'Concentration of various trace elements in the rat retina and their distribution in different structures'. Metallomics: integrated biometal science,
  • Farnfield HR, Marcilla AL, Ward NI. (2012) 'Arsenic speciation and trace element analysis of the volcanic río Agrio and the geothermal waters of Copahue, Argentina.'. Sci Total Environ, Netherlands: 433, pp. 371-378.

    Abstract

    Surface water originating from the Copahue volcano crater-lake was analysed for total arsenic and four arsenic species: arsenite (iAs(III)), arsenate (iAs(V)), monomethylarsonic acid (MA(V)) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA(V)) and other trace elements (Fe, Mn, V, Cr, Ni, Zn). A novel in-field technique for the preconcentration and separation of four arsenic species was, for the first time, used for the analysis of geothermal and volcanic waters. Total arsenic levels along the río Agrio ranged from <0.2-3783 μg/l As(T). The highest arsenic levels were recorded in the el Vertedero spring (3783 μg/l As(T)) on the flank of the Copahue volcano, which feeds the acidic río Agrio. Arsenite (H(3)AsO(3)) predominated along the upper río Agrio (78.9-81.2% iAs(III)) but the species distribution changed at lago Caviahue and arsenate (H(2)AsO(4)(-)) became the main species (51.4-61.4% iAs(V)) up until Salto del Agrio. The change in arsenic species is potentially a result of an increase in redox potential and the formation of iron-based precipitates. Arsenic speciation showed a statistically significant correlation with redox potential (r=0.9697, P=0.01). Both total arsenic and arsenic speciation displayed a statistically significant correlation with vanadium levels along the river (r=0.9961, P=0.01 and r=0.8488, P=0.05, respectively). This study highlights that chemical speciation analysis of volcanic waters is important in providing ideas on potential chemical toxicity. Furthermore there is a need for further work evaluating how arsenic (and other trace elements), released in volcanic and geothermal streams/vents, impacts on both biota and humans (via exposure in thermal pools or consuming commercial drinking water).

  • Bright NJ, Webb R, Hinder SJ, Kirkby KJ, Ward NI, Watts JF, Bleay S, Bailey MJ. (2012) 'Determination of the deposition order of overlapping latent fingerprints and inks using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).'. Anal Chem, 84 (9), pp. 4083-4087.

    Abstract

    A new protocol using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) has been developed to identify the deposition order of a fingerprint overlapping an ink line on paper. By taking line scans of fragment ions characteristic of the ink molecules (m/z 358.2 and 372.2) where the fingerprint and ink overlap and by calculating the normalised standard deviation of the intensity variation across the line scan, it is possible to determine whether or not a fingerprint is above ink on a paper substrate. The protocol adopted works for a selection of fingerprints from four donors tested here and for a fingerprint that was aged for six months; for one donor, the very faint fingerprints could not be visualized using either standard procedures (ninhydrin development) or SIMS and therefore the protocol correctly gives an inconclusive result.

  • Bright NJ, Webb RP, Bleay S, Hinder S, Ward N, Watts JF, Kirkby KJ, Bailey MJ. (2012) 'Determination of the deposition order of overlapping latent fingerprints and inks using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)'. Analytical Chemistry,

    Abstract

    A new protocol using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) has been developed to identify the deposition order of a fingerprint overlapping an ink line on paper. By taking line scans of fragment ions characteristic of the ink molecules (m/z 358.2 and 372.2) where the fingerprint and ink overlap and by calculating the normalised standard deviation of the intensity variation across the line scan, it is possible to determine whether or not a fingerprint is above ink on a paper substrate. The protocol adopted works for a selection of fingerprints from four donors tested here and for a fingerprint that was aged for six months; for one donor, the very faint fingerprints could not be visualized using either standard procedures (ninhydrin development) or SIMS and therefore the protocol correctly gives an inconclusive result.

  • O'Reilly J, Watts MJ, Shaw RA, Marcilla AL, Ward NI. (2010) 'Arsenic contamination of natural waters in San Juan and La Pampa, Argentina'. ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY AND HEALTH, 32 (6), pp. 491-515.
  • Watts MJ, O'Reilly J, Marcilla AL, Shaw RA, Ward NI. (2010) 'Field based speciation of arsenic in UK and Argentinean water samples'. ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY AND HEALTH, 32 (6), pp. 479-490.
  • Watts MJ, O'Reilly J, Maricelli A, Coleman A, Ander EL, Ward NI. (2010) 'A snapshot of environmental iodine and selenium in La Pampa and San Juan provinces of Argentina'. J GEOCHEM EXPLOR, 107 (2), pp. 87-93.

    Abstract

    Soil and water samples were collected from farmsteads and provincial towns across the provinces of La Pampa and San Juan in Argentina. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used for the determination of iodine in water following addition of TMAH to 1% v/v and soils extracted with 5% TMAH. Iodine in agricultural soils was in the range of 1.3–20.9 mg/kg in La Pampa located in central Argentina and 0.1–10.5 mg/kg in San Juan located in the northwest Andean region of Argentina, compared to a worldwide mean of 2.6 mg/kg. Mean selenium concentrations for soils from both provinces were 0.3 mg/kg, compared to a worldwide mean of 0.4 mg/kg. The majority of soils were slightly alkaline at pH 6.7 to 8.8. The organic content of soils in La Pampa was 2.5–5.9% and in San Juan 0.1–2.3%, whilst, mobile water extractable soil-iodine was 1–18% for La Pampa and 2–42% for San Juan. No simple relationship observed for pH and organic content, but mobile iodine (%) was highest when organic content was low, higher for lower total iodine concentrations and generally highest at pH > 7.5. Water drawn for drinking or irrigation of a variety of crops and pasture was found to range from 52 to 395 µg/L iodine and 0.8 to 21.3 µg/L selenium in La Pampa and 16–95 µg/L iodine and 0.6 to 8.2 µg/L selenium in San Juan. The water samples were all slightly alkaline between pH 8 and 10. Water–iodine concentrations were highest at pH 7.8 to 8.8 and in groundwaters positively correlated with conductivity. Raw water entering water treatment works in La Pampa was reduced in iodine content from approximately 50 µg/L in raw water to 1 µg/L in treated drinking water, similar to levels observed in regions experiencing iodine deficiency.

  • Ewen C, Anagnostopoulou MA, Ward NI. (2009) 'Monitoring of heavy metal levels in roadside dusts of Thessaloniki, Greece in relation to motor vehicle traffic density and flow'. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, 157 (1-4), pp. 483-498.

Books

  • McCormac C, Davis J, Papakonstantinou P, Ward NI. (2012) Research Project Success The Essential Guide for Science and Engineering Students. Royal Society of Chemistry

    Abstract

    This is the industry and government standard and was introduced to address the common causes of project failure i.e. not delivering projects on time, within budget, within scope or to the right quality.

Reports

  • Al Rawahi W, Marcilla AL, Ward NI. (2015) Arsenic Speciation Anallysis of Ground Waters in Southern La Pampa and Buenos Aires Proviinces, Argentina. in (ed.) NITAJ (Leading Omani Research in United Kingdom) UK : Omani Scientific Committee Article number 1 , pp. 20-21.

    Abstract

    The arsenic speciation analysis of ground water was undertaken in southern La Pampa and Buenos Aires provinces of Argentina. These regions have been reported to have high levels of arsenic in waters resulting from the layers of volcanic ash within the Chaco-Pampean plain. Forty wells were sampled adjacent to ruta 35 between San Martin (La Pampa) and San German (Buenos Aires). A field-based method utilising solid phase extraction cartridges enabled the selective retention of iAsIII, iAsV, MAV and DMAV. All fractions and a ‘total’ arsenic AsT acidified sample were analysed by ICP-MS using a collision cell. Total arsenic levels varied from 23.0 to 289.0 μg L-1, with the highest levels in La Pampa. Urban well waters from San Martin and San German were well above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for drinking water (10 μg L-1 AsT). Speciation levels varied depending on province, type of well, conductivity and redox potential (Eh); but not pH. In this study for rural wells arsenite (iAsIII) was the predominant species, whereas for urban wells in Buenos Aires it was arsenate iAsV.

Books


1. WARD, N.I. 1988. Environmental Analysis using ICP-MS. Chapter 8, in Applications of ICP-MS. A.R. Date, A.L. Gray (eds), Blackie, Glasgow, p 189-221.
2. WARD, N.I. Multi-Element Analysis of Natural Water using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Source Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), Watershed 89. The Future for Water Quality in Europe, Ed. Wheeler, D., Richardson, M.L., Bridges, J. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 197-204, April 1989.
3. HAMILTON, R.S., HARRISON, R.M., McCREA, I.S., WARD, N.I., 1991. Chapter 2, Highway Pollutant Monitoring. Studies in Environmental Science 44 Highway Pollution, R.S. Hamilton, R.M. Harrison (eds), Elsevier, Amsterdam, p 48-99.
4. VEGA-RANGEL, E., ABOU-SHAKRA, F.R., WARD, N.I., 1993. Evaluation of an Ion Exchange Separation of Cs, Sr and Y by ICP-MS, Applications of Plasma Source Mass Spectrometry II, Holland, G., Eaton, A.N. (Eds), Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 102-107.
5. WARD, N.I., 1995. Trace Elements, Chapter 15 in Environmental Analytical Chemistry, Fifield, F.W. and Haines, P.J. (eds), Chapman and Hall, London.
6. WARD, N. I., 2001. The Potential Role of Trace Elements in Child Hyperkinetic Disorders, Food Allergy and Intolerance, 2E: Chapter 50, Section D Central Nervous System, Challacombe, D., Brostoff, J. (eds), Harcourt Publishers, London, pp101-116.
7. BROWN, M., EDMONDS, T., EDWARDS, M., HALL, L., NICHOLSON, F., PRICHARD, E., WARD, N., WILLIAMS, J., PERKINS, J., JONES, J., 2000. Help@postgrad-studies.ok. Guidance For Postgraduate Students on How to Approach Research and Ensure Conclusions are Based on Valid Measurements. LGC Valid Analytical Measurement, Teddington, pp1-27.
8. WARD, N.I., 2000. Trace Elements, Chapter 15, in Analytical Environmental Chemistry, Fifield, F.W., Haines, P.J. (eds), Second Edition, Blackie Science, Oxford, pp 360-392.
9. WARD, N.I., 1999. Professional Training in the Chemical Industry: The University of Surrey Experience. In: The New Zealand Association For Co-operative Education, Hodges, D., Eames, C., (eds), UNITEC Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, pp54-59.

Teaching

  1. Since 1986 Prof. Ward has been responsible for the coordination and principle teaching of analytical, environmental and scientific communication (skills) modules in Chemistry.

    For 9 years he was the degree coordinator of two UG BSc (Hons)/MChem degrees in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry and Chemistry with Instrumentation and Analysis. These degrees include:

    1. Incorporating new self-learning analytical practicals (using major instrumental methods);
    2. 'Real' practical hands-on experience of the major analytical techniques, including instrument performance maintenance and the analysis of quality control standards and 'real' unknown samples;
    3. Enhancing the ´real world´ laboratory competencies of analytical chemists through undertaking on-site industrial practicals at major chemical companies.
    4. Field trips to sites where existing research activities are being undertaken by the members of the ICP-MS Facility, including the London Orbital M25 storm water runoff drainage facility, and
    5. Establishing the “Analytical Club” (Asia-Pacific J Cooperative Educ., 2004, 5(1), 15-18).

The Analytical Club
“The Analytical Club” provides a unique collaboration between the University of Surrey and the chemical industry. The members of the club have an advisory role in overseeing the design and operation of degrees in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry and helping with the design of experiments and the provision of samples/QC standards for specific practicals in analytical technique or environmental analysis modules.

The collaboration between the Chemistry Department and more than 16 chemical companies of the 'Analytical Club' has to date resulted in many graduates being employed by these companies (or continuing on to do MSc or PhD programmes. Industrialists have found students who have undertaken this type of educational training to be highly motivated, good problem-solvers and ideally suited for employment.
Personal Development Planning and Skills Training

VORCHEM Co (Virtual Oil Refinery and Chemical Company)
In collaboration with Dr Philip Holmes and several leading industrial colleagues who work for international chemical companies in Europe and UK, Prof. Ward has developed VORCHEM Co., a virtual learning facility that explores the operation of an oil refinery and the chemistry involved in oil processing and quality control assessment. This facility is still being expanded to include EH&S sites and analytical departments but at present is being used in UG and PG modules for chemists and chemical engineers at the University of Surrey.

Personal and Professional Development Planning (PPD)
Personal Professional Development Planning (PPD) is defined as 'a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development' (The Higher Education Academy web pages on Personal Development Planning), and through this develop one’s professional skills and abilities, to enhance learning and career opportunities.
Professor Ward’s teaching during the last 20 years has been actively involved in the development of skills or competencies as an important component of all undergraduate degree programmes in Chemistry. There is a direct link between effective personal development planning, learning and employability. He developed and teaches two specialist undergraduate degree modules on Scientific Communication for chemists, which cover many topics and activities relating to effective planning, doing, traceability/recording and reflection. These modules are an integral component of the level 1 and 2 lecture programme in helping the student become an effective learner in terms of both core chemistry modules and practicals. Moreover, it is essential to train a student for the 'World of Work', and with the Professional Training programme at the University of Surrey, PPD plays a key role in linking academic teaching with the real life experience of working in a major chemical company laboratory.

Post-Graduate Skills for the World of Work
Professor Ward has developed a website as the focal point of a 1-day training course for PhD students. The World of Work site was developed in collaboration with various HR and chemical staff at leading European Chemical Companies. By undertaking various activity-based challenges the website introduces PhD students to the ‘real world’, of decision making, problem solving, multi-tasking and meeting deadlines (from minutes to hours).

Professional Training

Professional Training in Chemistry
Prof. Ward was responsible for the Professional Training Year programme in Chemistry since 1987 when the Department of Chemistry placed students in some 20 companies (mainly UK), undertaking degrees with no formal programme of pre-training, on-site assessment (P-credits) or post-industrial skills or academic assessment. Now Chemistry places about 60 students per year with a database of 85 chemical companies offering placements for students studying for a MChem in Chemistry, or associated ‘niche’ degrees. In addition, several students are placed in European and Worldwide chemical companies.

Since 1987, the key components developed by Prof. Ward are:

  • Two unique modules on Scientific Communication to develop and enhance student proficiency in the main core competencies used in Professional Training and for future careers;
  • P-credit schemes for BSc(Hons) and MChem degree programmes, involving the assessment framework for both academic and industrial partners;
  • Industry Day as a formal post-industrial student assessment programme involving industry, Careers/CLD and other PT tutors;
  • The development of a web-based administrative system for the operation of the Professional Training programme in Chemistry;
  • Incorporation of student PT management and self-assessment (logbook), and in 2004, Development of PT Research Project Competencies.
  • He has presented papers at nine WACE (World Association for Cooperative Education) and three NZACE (New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education) conferences, and published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education. He has also presented workshops on the International Coop Student Exchange Programme with a view to using the University of Surrey model for establishing a good practice for ‘Global Network Development of Cooperative Education.’

In recent years Prof. Ward has been very interested in the development of cooperative education in Argentina, and has presented two papers on work-related learning in South America at WACE conferences.
He is at present on the editorial board of the APJCE and an editorial contributor to the International Handbook on Cooperative Education. Since 1997 Prof. Ward has been a University of Surrey representative on WACE (World Association for Cooperative Education) and was, until January 2015, the Chairman of the Professional Training and Careers Committee (PTCC).

Professional Training or Cooperative Education Publications

  1. WARD, N.I., JEFFERIES, A. 2004. ‘The Analytical Club’: A unique cooperative education link between industry and academia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 5(1) 15-18.
  2. WARD, N.I., LASLETT, R.L. 2004. International Cooperative Education Student Exchange Program: Lessons from the Chemistry Experience. Asia- Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 5(1) 18-21.
  3. WARD, N.I., FROST, R., YONGE, L. 2004. International Co-operative Education: The European experience for students in Chemistry. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 5(1) 27-34.
  4. WARD, N.I., HAMMOND, N., MARCILLA, A., BRION, V., MUJICA, M.G., 2004. Community-based Research Projects: A New Educational Link Experience for Academia and Industry in Rio Negro, Argentina. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 5(1) 50-59.

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