Research Awards

Funding is fundamental for our research activities which span across a wide range of subjects at Keele University.  Research at the University is funded from a variety of sources from Research Councils to commercial and public partners.  Our research accounts for around 17% of the University’s annual income.

The following projects represent a sample of our most prestigious and recent funding awards. This list also provides an overview of the variety of research at Keele University.  A full list of funding awards is available by year from the menu on the left.

Leverhulme Grant

Dr Chris Stiff, School of Psychology, and his collaborator, Dr Harriet Rosenthal at Durham University, have been awarded a Research Project grant of £71,291 from the Leverhulme Trust for a project entitled "Campus Citizen Behaviours: Predicting students' pro-social behaviours". 

This project will examine what factors influence students' positive on-campus behaviours (e.g. recycling), and will ascertain whether it is possible to increase the likelihood of these behaviours occurring to enhance the University experience. 

The project take place over the next academic year at four Higher Education sites across the UK, and the findings will be presented at the 2014 British Psychological Society Social Section conference.

Double grant success for Ages and Stages

Professor Miriam Bernard, Ages & Stages Project Leader and Director of Keele's Centre for Social Gerontology, has been awarded two grants by the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) under their 'Cultural Value Project' scheme. 

A Research Development Award, exploring 'the cultural value of older people's experiences of theatre making', will enable Prof Bernard and Dr Jill Rezzano (Head of Education at the New Vic Theatre) to extend their research partnership and continue their innovative work with the Ages and Stages Theatre Company.

Members of the Company will conduct research with each other about their experiences of being involved with 'Ages and Stages' since 2009, and about their understanding of the cultural value of theatre making. It will lead to the devising of a new small scale performance piece to be shared at an invited symposium at the New Vic in May 2014.

Alongside this Prof Bernard, and Research Associate Dr Michelle Rickett, will undertake a Critical Review on 'ageing, drama and creativity'. The review will document what is known more broadly about older people's experiences and understandings of the cultural value of theatre making, and its findings will also form part of the event in May 2014.

Sydney Collaboration on Leaning Disability Project

Professor Sue Read has collaborated with colleagues from the University of Sydney on a learning disability research project awarded £183,914 by the ARC.

Professor Read, Professor of Learning Disability Nursing, School of Nursing & Midwifery, RISS, is the UK PI on a successful grant application for a 36 months research study entitled 'A toolkit to build the capacity of disability staff to assist adults with intellectual disability to understand and plan for their end of life'. This collaborative research study, led by Professor Roger Stancliffe, University of Sydney, has been awarded £183,914 by the Australian Research Council (Linkage fund) in conjunction with the Sunshine organisation (an Australian charity).

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are living much longer than previously, yet this welcome news has various consequences. Because adults with ID now frequently outlive their parents (who have been their primary care providers), rarely have children to support them in old age, and typically have limited care from siblings, they rely heavily on continuous support from disability services in later life, and throughout associated ill health experiences. Preliminary research shows that adults with ID often lack access to pertinent information about death and have limited opportunities to discuss their concerns and wishes around end of life care preferences. The thrust of this research project is to design and trial a toolkit to train disability staff to assist adults with an ID to better understand and plan for their end of life. This mixed methods study will determine whether, following intervention, people with an ID are better able to understand and plan for the end of life. Assessing depression, anxiety and fear of dying over time will yield the first robust research evidence regarding concerns that discussing death could lead to emotional distress

Untitled Stories of Volunteering

Professor Mihaela Kelemen (PI) and Dr Anita Mangan (CI), KMS/RI for Social Sciences and Humanities, have been awarded an AHRC follow on grant (£90K) for Phase 2 of their project entitled 'Untold Stories of Volunteering: A Cultural Animation Approach'.

Working closely with volunteers from Staffordshire and beyond and other stakeholders involved in volunteering, particularly the New Vic Theatre and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the project co-designs and co-produces untold stories of volunteering coming from a variety of sources: 'voluntolds', professional volunteer managers, disabled volunteers, Roma volunteers, volunteers with bad experiences and corporate volunteers including civil servants and MPs.

A documentary drama will be performed at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, University of Leicester, and the Houses of Parliament, London.

Seeing the sun in a new light

On behalf of Keele Observatory, astronomers, Jacco van Loon, and Joana Oliveira have been successful in securing funding for a large (15cm aperture) solar telescope, equipped with a special hydrogen-alpha filter that allows one to see the eruptions in the solar atmosphere.

After awards had been made towards the project by the Royal Astronomical Society (£1,000) and Keele Key Fund (£5,000), the Science and Technology Facilities Council have pledged the remainder of the £10,000 project.

The telescope will be taken to public places to reach people who may not otherwise have engaged with science, but it will normally reside at Keele Observatory for the benefit of visitors and students.

AHRC Early Career Research Fellowship

Dr Anthony Carrigan, Research Institute for Humanities, has been awarded a prestigious AHRC Early Career Fellowship for a project entitled Representing Postcolonial Disaster: Conflict, Consumption, Reconstruction.

The project's overarching aim is to complete a comparative study on literary representations of postcolonial disasters that will bring interdisciplinary disaster studies into sustained dialogue with humanities-based research, and seeks to inform future developments in post-disaster policy and practice.

The award, which lasts for 24 months, will fund the writing of a monograph and other collaborative academic outputs, alongside a range of leadership development and international networking activities, public engagement and impact events. 

Bridging the gap

Professor Mihaela Kelemen (PI) and Anita Mangan (CI), KMS/RI for Social Sciences, have been awarded £19K by the AHRC to showcase the results of their AHRC collaborative grant to the Connected Communities Showcase in Edinburgh (July 4) and to further display their installation in cultural venues in Stoke-on-Trent, Sheffield and Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The starting point of this interactive audio-video installation is that academic theories are not ends in themselves; rather that they must serve the needs of the communities studied.  The interactive audio-visual installation designed in collaboration with Sue Moffat, from the New Vic Theatre (Newcastle-under-Lyme), takes people on an imaginary voyage where they experience lost worlds and imagine new ones.  They step into a specially constructed boat decorated with images of the lost worlds of coal, steel, earth and water - images created by participants in the Keele/New Vic Theatre workshop, entitled 'Bridging the gap between theory and practice'.

There will be an audio projection of the stories collected at the workshop, along with a music and light display to suggest that vessels may encounter storms but they come out strongly at the other end and are able to build bridges between past, present and future and get to the shore safely.

Prestigious Senior Lectureship

Dr Kika Konstantinou, a physiotherapist and clinical academic based at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre and the Haywood Hospital, has been awarded a prestigious Senior Clinical Lectureship by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

This award provides support for sustained personal and clinical academic development at a high level.

Dr Konstantinou's award will also facilitate high quality physiotherapy research and leadership in clinical practice as well as develop further research capacity within allied health professionals. Her research focuses on back pain and sciatica.

She is currently leading the first primary care clinical observational cohort of patients with back and leg pain including sciatica and/or suspected sciatica (the ATLAS study; Konstantinou K et al (2012) in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:4).

The study will describe the characteristics of patients with sciatica and suspected sciatica and identify the key factors that predict clinical outcomes over 12 months.

The award will support Dr Konstantinou over the next five years.

NIHR Funding for Keele's Research Design Service guaranteed for another five years

Since 2008 Keele has been part of the NIHR funded RDS national network. By offering free specialist methodological advice in areas including statistics, health services research, mixed methods research, health economics, and patient and public involvement in research, the RDS helps health and social care researchers to formulate high quality research grant proposals. The Keele RDS serves researchers from across Staffordshire and Shropshire and since 2008 the support offered has led to grant successes (mainly for researchers from Keele and/or UHNS) that have generated income in excess of £3 million. Thanks to the NIHR, RDS support is now guaranteed for a further five years from October 2013.

The Keele RDS is hosted by the Institute of Primary Care and Health Sciences and the core RDS team includes Roger Beech (Director), Julius Sim (Assistant Director), John Bankart, Clare Jinks, Faye Foster, Lucy Riley and Debbie Cooke (other Keele staff who supported the bid for ongoing funding were Peter Croft and Rhian Hughes).

The RDS team are available to offer advice on formulating research questions; building an appropriate research team; designing a study; involving patients and the public in research; appropriate methodologies (quantitative (including statistics), qualitative, health economics); identifying the resources and costs required for a successful project; identifying suitable funding sources; regulatory issues and writing lay summaries.

Researchers who are preparing grant submissions can access RDS support, by going to and registering a query.



MRC Centenary Awards

As part of the Medical Research Council's Centenary celebrations, Keele received an extra award of £30,000 for the benefit of newly-recruited scientists and medics at the start of their independent research careers.  Keele received the award due to the number of MRC research students it hosts and the training environment it offers in biomedical sciences.
Following two competitions, connected to the well-established "Bridging the Gaps" grants and Keele ACORN scheme, the following members of the Research Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine (ISTM) have received funding for their medical research ideas (in alphabetical order):

- Dr Ed Chadwick, Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, for a new collaborative project on "Continuous control of advanced myoelectric prostheses" involving Dr Theo Kyriacou & Dr Cath Bücher.

- Dr Ruoli Chen, Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology, for a PhD project on "Proteomic Analysis of Thrombi Retrieved from Cerebral Arteries of Patients with Acute Ischaemic Stroke"

- Dr Wen-Wu Li, Lecturer in Analytical Biochemistry, for his novel work on "Plant-derived anti-infective molecules: a Keele-based nexus for their identification, characterisation and development" involving Dr Paul Horrocks, Prof Trevor Greenhough and Dr Tony Curtis.

- Dr Mark Skidmore, Lecturer in Biochemistry, for a PhD project on "Next generation, anticoagulant, low molecular weight heparins".

Professor Mark Ormerod, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise), who is leading the activity on behalf of young researchers in biomedical sciences, congratulated them by saying "Keele is very grateful to the MRC for providing this extra support for some of our outstanding early-career researchers recruited into the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Life Sciences. They have put forward some truly novel, high quality medical projects and we want to encourage them to develop these into new publications and new strengths in Keele's research over the next few years."