• University of Leeds

Discovering Science: Global Challenges

Can chemistry help to feed a growing population, or overcome increasing bacterial resistance?

10,929 enrolled on this course

Discovering Science: Global Challenges

10,929 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 5 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

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.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Examine today’s global challenges with leading academics, and explore possible solutions to some of the greatest threats we face today. In week one, Professor Colin Fishwick introduces the rise of the superbugs and the challenge of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Understand how bacteria have developed a resistance, which scientists fear could lead to a return to a pre-antibiotic era. Find out how advances in research are helping to overcome this resistance. In week two, Professor Steve Marsden highlights some of the challenges of feeding a growing population, presenting two alternative methods of agriculture. He explores the use of GMOs and organic farming and discusses the effects of changing diets on food production.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds As part of the Discovering Science programme, this course will demonstrate how science is communicated and will further develop your science writing skills, helping you reach a wider audience.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds Sign up now for Discovering Science: Global Challenges.

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.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the origins of antibiotic development and how some bacteria are able to become resistant to antibiotics.
  • Explore the challenges behind educating people in the proper use of antibiotics.
  • Identify uses of chemistry in addressing the challenges of feeding a growing population.
  • Explore the uses of natural crops and their genetically-modified alternatives.

Who is the course for?

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 collection of online courses, it is recommended that you complete Discovering Science: Science Writing before starting this course, however, this course can still be studied independently.

Who will you learn with?

I'm from West Yorkshire. I'm a Professor at the University of Leeds & Dean : Student Education. I research cancer & evolution https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/210/professor-paul-taylor

I'm a research scientist/Teaching Fellow within the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, interested in the structure-based design of novel medicines for infectious diseases.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 7 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
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  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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