Maja Elmgren

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory; Physical Chemistry

+46 18 471 13 32
Mobile phone:
+46 70 425 09 87
Visiting address:
Lägerhyddsvägen 1
751 20 UPPSALA
Postal address:
Box 523
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

My current research concerns higher education, from academic leadership to students understanding of scientific modelling. I teach chemistry for students, scholarly teaching for university teachers, and academic leadership. Since the start 2009 I have acted as director of the Council for Educational Development at the Faculty of Science and Technology (TUR).

Medal for Merit from Uppsala Science and Technology Student Union 2011
The Distinguished Teaching Award from Uppsala University 2001


  • academic teaching
  • chemistry education research
  • educational development
  • educational leadership
  • fysikens didaktik
  • kemins didaktik
  • pedagogisk utveckling
  • pedagogiskt ledarskap
  • physics education research
  • universitetspedagogik
  • ämnespedagogik


I am a senior lecturer in physical chemistry and an educational developer. I am also the director of the Council for Educational Development at the Faculty of Science and Technology (TUR).

Some of the research and development projects I am involved in concerns leadership in higher education, assessment in doctoral education, educational expertise in academia, student learning of thermodynamics and kinetics, and development of chemistry education through international cooperation. I have also written Universitetspedagogik, available in English with the title Academic Teaching, which is used in higher education teacher training at most large Swedish universities.

Awards: Medal for Merit from Uppsala Science and Technology Student Union 2011, The Distinguished Teaching Award from Uppsala University 2001.


My research profile has expanded, from research in physical chemistry, to chemistry and physics education research and also into the broad field of higher education.

Research in physical chemistry: I have studied photoelectrochemistry, fundamental characteristics of amperometric biosensors, as well as electrochemical properties and diffusion of redox active molecules in self-assembled systems, resulting in ten articles in international peer-review journals.

Chemistry and physics education research: I initiated and led an international research project, funded by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), with participants from seven countries in three continents, in which chemistry bachelor programs in Europe, Australia and the USA were compared, and critically evaluated. Cultural aspects has been studied in two different settings, one in which we explored how students’ encounter with quantum mechanics contributes to their development towards becoming physicists, and another where we in a VR-funded project investigate university science teachers as teacher educators and how science content and culture are manifested in teacher education. I have also initiated a study performed in collaboration with colleagues in physics education research, on student understanding of entropy the entropy concept before and after a course in chemical thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is also the focus of an ongoing project regarding how learning challenges can be overcome through exploration of thermal phenomena with infrared cameras. Finally I am involved in studies concerning students’ understanding of scientific modelling, especially in the areas of kinetics and thermodynamics. These projects have given rise to eight articles in international peer-review journals, a book chapter as well as several conference contributions.

Research in higher education: I am interested in the constant development and formation of academia, be it through collegial leadership, strategic efforts or gatekeeping functions. In line with that, I have investigated the roles of educational leaders at department level, strategic leadership and assessment in doctoral education, and the decisive processes as hiring and promotion of academics. This has resulted in an article, a book chapter, reports and papers in conference proceedings. Furthermore, I have authored a book on academic teaching, condensing research on academic teaching and learning.


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Maja Elmgren