The Original Pioneer – 10 times that Keele led the way in 2020/21

As we look ahead to the new academic year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the events and achievements of the Keele community in 2020/21. The continuing disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic posed significant challenges, but the collective efforts of our students, staff and partners meant there was much to celebrate at Keele this year.

Keele has been the original pioneer ever since we were founded over 70 years ago, and with major international awards, high-profile commendations, and exciting new building projects getting underway on campus this year, we’ve continued to show what a forward-thinking, socially conscious university can achieve. Here, we take a look back at just some of the highlights from the 2020/21 academic year at Keele University.

  1. We began the new academic year by being shortlisted for the prestigious University of the Year award in the 2020 Times Higher Education awards, with the judging panel saying our work “was – and continues to be – of the very highest order.” They added that we and the other finalists had “set a series of incredibly high bars for the whole UK sector to analyse, admire and emulate”.

  2. We were proud to launch the latest Keele Deal this year, which is focused on helping the region recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Keele Deal Recovery brings together civic leaders from the culture, business and healthcare sectors to create a holistic approach to helping the region recover post-Covid-19.

  3. We welcomed our first cohort of veterinary students studying with the Harper Keele Veterinary School, a joint venture between ourselves and Harper Adams University. A new state-of-the-art vet school building is now open on our campus.

  4. Our world-leading credentials for sustainability were evidenced when we won Global Sustainability Institution of the Year 2020 at the International Green Gown Awards, just months after winning the same top prize at the UK and Ireland awards.

  5. Keele continued to score highly across multiple prestigious rankings this year, including Top 10 in England for Student Satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2021.

  6. Construction began on Keele’s Low Carbon Energy Generation Park, in partnership with EQUANS - part of the ENGIE Group - which will see 12,500 solar panels and two wind turbines built on Keele’s campus. The renewable energy generated will be used to provide up to 50% of the university’s power when it is complete.

  7. We have successfully reduced our carbon emissions from our operations by 39%, exceeding our 2020 target. Originally we had pledged to reduce our emissions by 34% by 2020, but thanks to our efforts to embed sustainability across campus this target was not only exceeded, but was done so a year ahead of schedule.

  8. We were pleased to welcome the Minister for Climate Change, Lord Callanan, to campus this year to showcase our pioneering work in sustainability, renewable energy and green technology, showing how the work done at Keele can be rolled out nationally and globally. During his visit Lord Callanan commented on how Keele “is truly leading the way to a low carbon, energy efficient future”.

  9. The pioneering HyDeploy project, blending hydrogen into our natural gas network in a bid to reduce carbon emissions, was successfully completed on campus this year, with similar schemes now being trialled more widely across the UK thanks to the success of the trial at Keele, paving the way for a low-carbon economy.

  10. Research England praised our contribution to the advancement of the local area with the release of their Knowledge Exchange Framework this year, which benchmarks universities in England on how they share knowledge with communities, organisations and other institutions. We were delighted to have ranked in the top 10% in two key areas – regeneration and research partnerships.