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Director, Pharmacy Foundation Year Programme 2009 - date

Director for Social Responsibility, School of Health Sciences 2016-2019

Acting Faculty Academic Lead for Widening Participation 2019 - date



David Allison is a Reader in Pharmacy Education in the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, University of Manchester. His first degree was in microbiology at Edinburgh University (1977-1981), as were his graduate studies (1981-1984) in microbial physiology. On leaving Edinburgh in 1984 he joined Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals for a three year postdoctotral period, followed by a further period of postdoctoral research (1987-1989), at Aston University, Birmingham. Since his appointment at Manchester in 1990 he has focused his research interests on the physiology and antimicrobial resistance properties of bacterial biofilms and the infectivity and virulence properties of opportunistic lung pathogens. He has successfully supervised a number of postgraduate students over the years, has over 100 publications in these areas and has acted as an editor to the on line journal 'Biofilm' and to J. Basic Microbiol. In addition, he has frequently acted as consultant to the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industries and has acted on behalf of the European Commission for the auditing of sterile medical device manufacture. He has also published in this area.

In addition to his current administrative role as Director for the Pharmacy Foundation Year programme (a bespoke Widening Participation initiative), David was also the School of Health Sciences Director for Social Responsibility and is currently the Acting Faculty Academic lead for Widening Participation.  He has also acted as MPharm external examiner to Nottingham and Wolverhampton Schools of Pharmacy, MRes external examiner to Brighton School of Pharmacy and has been a PhD external examiner on numerous occasions.

Research interests

Since appointment, David has focused his research interests on the physiology and antimicrobial resistance properties of bacterial biofilms and the infectivity and virulence properties of opportunistic lung pathogens.  In this respect his resarch crosses a number of different fields, including those of medical, industrial and ecological microbiology where he has attracted support from both private and public sector.  He has supervised successfully a number of postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, has over 100 publications in these areas and has been an editor to the on-line journal Biofilm and to J. Basic Microbiol.  In addition, he has frequently  acted as consultant to the Pharmaceutical and healthcare Industries and has acted on behalf of the European Commission for the auditing of  sterile medical device manufacture.  He has also published in this area.

More recently, David has diversified his interests by introducing and developing a Widening Participation and Public Engagement agenda for the School. The overall aim of these programmes of activities are to encourage and inspire young learners from educationally and socioeconomically deprived areas that they too have a right to attend University. Successful activities have included the Pharmacy in Primary Schools (PIPS) programme, introducing a contextual-based Foundation Year programme and more recently, development of a Service Learning in Pharmacy programme whereby all 3rd year MPharm students visit a local high school to delver a healthcare awareness message relevant to teenagres and their health future. Wherever possible, David has always tried to publish in this sociologically important area in order to promote the ethos of the University and to encourage the most able students, irrespective of background, to apply to University.


Foundation Year

  • Orientation to Pharmacy

First Year Undergraduate

  • The Public: Public Health Microbiology

Second year Undergraduate

  • The Patient: Controlled Environments, aseptic dispensing

Third Year Undergraduate

  • The Medicine:Sterilisation processing, quality assurance
  • Service Leaning Pharmacy: Healthcare in High Schools

Fourth Year

  • Microbial  Disease and Immunisation (Microbial pathogenicity, host defence, mechanisms, vaccination programmes)


My collaborations

Affiliated staff

  • Dr Andrew McBain - Microbial Biofilms and Pathogenicity
  • Dr Sarah Willis - Service Learning in Pharmacy
  • Dr Sally Freeman - Widening Participation and Outreach
  • Dr Julian Skyrme - Contextual Data and Undergraduate Admissions
  • Dr Roger Harrison - Antibiotic Resistance Awareness
  • Dr Christine Furber - Antibiotic Resistance in Healthcare

Memberships of committees and professional bodies


  • 2012 - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2007 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 1985 - Ph.D. Microbial Physiology, University of Edinburgh
  • 1981 - B.Sc Biological Sciences (Microbiology Hons)University of Edinburgh

Social responsibility

  • Director for Social Responsibility, School of Health Sciences (2016 - 2019)
  • Academic Lead & Deputy SAT Chair for School of Health Sciences Athena SWAN (2026 - 2019)
  • Faculty Academic Lead for Widening Participation (2019-date)
  • Pharmacy Lead for University Dementia Awareness Programme
  • Published 22 peer reviewd articles in the general area of Social Responsibility
  • National Science Chair, Realising Opportunities Programme, 2010-2014; 2016-2017

To date, David's direct input to Social Responsibility has mainly focussed on working with young learners of all ages from educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in an attempt to encourage and inspire them into higher education. Over the years he has been involved with a range of different activities, including the year 6 Pharmacy in Primary Schools (PIPS) programme which has been running since 2007, and stand-alone workshops such as “Chlamydia Awareness” aimed at year 11 pupils and “How Clean Are Your Hands” for all ages.  He also runs a workshop for parents and carers on the "Affordability of University".

Fastbleep Pharmacy comprises a trilogy of workshops aimed at years 8, 10 and 12 to not only introduce pharmacy as a potential career option but also help guide students through the university application process. The first two workshops take place in schools, the latter at the university. In addition, a stand-alone research experience day for year 12 pupils is offered to both pupils on the Fastbleep programme as well as to other year 12 pupils as part of the Schools - University Partnership Initiative (SUPI) and is held at the university.

In 2009 David launched the Pharmacy with a  Foundation Year programme in collaboration with Xaverian 6th Form College which uses contextual data (ie, takes into account an applicants background) to openly target students from educationally and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This course was the first in the university to use contextual data as selection criteria. 2014 saw the first MPharm students graduate from this programme.

In May and November 2014 Pharmacy hosted a Community Open Day entitled "From Bugs to Drugs", which despite the weather, was attended by around 700 visitors.The idea behind the event was to demonstrate the various stages involved in making medicines through a range of fun and informative activities. Set against a public health theme, children and their families were invited to journey through the different stages of the drug development process to find a cure for a new and highly infectious (and of course fictitious!) microorganism that turns human beings into zombies if infected. A significant feature of this Open Day which set it apart from other similar university events was engagement with the local community. Contributions of art work and theatre, for example, from local and the neighbouring communities and schools helped to make this an event by the community, for the community. Feedback from visitors that completed a feedback questionnaire was overwhelmingly positive.This activity won the award for Outstanding Public Engagement event in the 2015 Making a Difference campaign.

As part of his Social Responsibility role, David currently co-leads with his colleague Dr Roger Harrison on a cross-Faculty, public-facing programme of activities aimed at raising awareness about the rapidly growing problem of antibiotic resistance development. This includes visits by 3rd year pharmacy undergraduate students into high schools to deliver intercative awareness raising workshops, an approach that won the 2016 UK Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) award for best intitaitive. These workshops have now been extended to include a range of healthcare issues relevant to 14-16 year olds (eg diabetes, mental health, sexual health, party drugs, wellbeing, smoking etc) and are delieverd by all 3rd year pharmacy undergraduate students as part of their core curriculum, an excellent example of Social Responsibility in the curriculum. This Service Learning approach to higher education has also won a Making a Difference award for Outstanding Teaching Innovation in Social Responsibility and is partly funded by Health Education England. Analysis of feedback for the Service Learning mental health workshop from teachers, pupils and MPharm students forms the basis of a funded PhD programme.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

SFHEA, Higher Education Academy (Formerly Known As Learning & Teaching Support Network)

Award Date: 27 Nov 2012

Doctor of Science, PhD Microbial Physiology, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 11 Apr 1985

Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 11 Jul 1981


  • Service Learning
  • Social Responsibility
  • Widening Participation


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