Keele’s Year in the News – 2023
Keele expertise and research has once again made headlines all over the world this year, with academics sharing their knowledge and cutting-edge studies with media locally, nationally, and around the globe. Working with our academic colleagues, the SCB team reached almost 500 million people worldwide with hundreds of broadcast interviews, thousands of news articles published in print and online, and millions of social media engagements. Here are just a few highlights from Keele University’s year in the news.
We started the year with new research from Dr Sue Sherman which made headlines throughout the country. We secured coverage for her study looking at parental attitudes towards a proposed chicken pox vaccine with PA Media, resulting in articles in over 200 news outlets both national and regional, with the research even being cited later in the year when the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations recommended the vaccine be offered on the NHS.
In February, Keele research and new funding awards made headlines across the country and the world. Dr Ruoli Chen’s work with the British Heart Foundation, which aims to develop the first treatments for patients with a debilitating brain disorder, was covered by BBC News online and BBC West Midlands TV. Later in the month, a report published by a panel of academics including Professor Clifford Stott – examining police failures at the 2022 Champions League Final – was covered extensively by the UK and the world’s media, with Professor Stott giving interviews to BBC Breakfast, Sky Sports News, the Today programme on Radio 4, and TalkSPORT to name just a few. Elsewhere Dr Afshin Shahi also spoke to Sky News, BBC News, Iran International and France 24, about the tragic earthquake in Turkey and the international community’s response.
The opening of our new Harper Keele Veterinary School building on Keele’s campus was the big story of March this year, with the official opening event receiving positive coverage in the local/regional press across the West Midlands including the Stoke Sentinel, Shropshire Star, and Insider Media, as well as coverage secured in specialist trade press outlets serving the farming and veterinary sectors, including a special interview for the Head of School Professor Matt Jones in Vet Times. Elsewhere, psychologist Dr Alex Scott spoke to BBC Science Focus about the science behind “overtiredness” and how to fix it.
April saw Keele expertise in high demand across the UK. Dr Colin Rigby from Keele Business School provided his expertise for an article about a new study out of Lithuania looking at the effectiveness of short breaks during the work day. After speaking to PA Media his expertise featured across the UK’s regional and national media, including the Daily Mail, the Independent, and the London Evening Standard, reaching almost seven million people. A new report was also published which outlined Keele’s enormous positive contribution to the regional economy, and was covered all over the region including on BBC Midlands Today, Daily Focus, and the Stoke Sentinel, with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan OBE also speaking to BBC Radio Stoke about the report’s findings.
The local elections in Stoke-on-Trent this May provided an excellent opportunity for our experts to share their knowledge, and thanks to the press team’s work to get Dr Philip Catney a spot as an on-location expert at the election count, his expert reaction and analysis was featured all over the county including BBC Radio Stoke, Signal 1, and the Stoke Sentinel, as well as further afield on Birmingham Live. Dr Szu Shen Wong was also a guest on the internationally broadcast Science Vs podcast, speaking from our on-campus studio discussing the science of skincare and cosmetics.
The world was gripped in June by news of the Titan submersible craft which went missing during an expedition to the wreck of the Titanic and was sadly found destroyed days later. As the world’s media sought as much information as possible about the tragedy, forensics expert Dr Jamie Pringle spoke at length to journalists all over the world, including NBC, ITV News, BBC Breakfast, France 24, and took part in a Science Media Centre briefing attended by journalists from all over the UK and the world. In total there were 1,500 articles and broadcasts published which featured his quotes, with over 138m people reached worldwide. Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham OBE also published important new research with colleagues in Manchester about increasing rates of self-harm and eating disorders among teenage girls, which was featured on news outlets throughout the country including BBC News, Sky News, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Telegraph. Finally, after an unexpected earthquake struck the village of Tean in Staffordshire, Dr Ian Stimpson was quoted on BBC News and the “i” newspaper, with Emeritus Professor Peter Styles speaking to BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Derby, Signal Radio, The Sentinel, Staffordshire Live, BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central the following day.
July saw the return of our graduation ceremonies which made headlines throughout the region, with news about our honorary graduates and our inspiring students featuring on outlets such as BBC News, the Stoke Sentinel, and BBC Radio Stoke. We also announced our new Keele in Town development with coverage secured throughout the region including BBC News, BBC Midlands Today TV, Daily Focus, and The Business Desk.
Keele research was featured around the world in August, with the communications team strategically targeting, pitching, and securing coverage for new astrophysics research on one of the top astronomy news websites in the world – Space.com - ensuring Professor Robin Jeffries and PhD student George Weaver’s findings were seen by millions of space enthusiasts and fellow astronomers around the world. Senior staff were also prominent in the regional and national media in August thanks to Clearing/A-Level results day, with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan OBE featuring on BBC Midlands Today TV, while Director of Global Student Recruitment and Admissions Robbie Pickles spoke to LBC and BBC Radio Shropshire to advise students getting their results on the next steps they should take.
As local authorities in Stoke and Birmingham threatened or declared bankruptcy in September, Dr Philip Catney spoke to the nation’s media to offer his expert analysis of the situation, and how local authorities are managing their finances, featuring on BBC News online, BBC 5 Live, and BBC Radio Stoke. Research by Professor Mamas Mamas also made headlines around the world after being covered by America’s Associated Press, leading to coverage on Fox News, and the communications team secured an interview on NBC for Dr Afshin Shahi, commenting on the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in Iran.
The month began with a successful media campaign to celebrate the opening of Garden Vets at Keele, a new veterinary surgery within the Harper Keele Vet School building on campus. Coverage was secured on BBC News online, BBC Midlands Today TV, BBC Radio Stoke, and influential business news outlet Daily Focus. We also secured coverage on BBC News online for a new study led by Dr Tamsin Fisher and colleagues in the Medical School, highlighting the role that firefighters could play in helping to identify mental health issues in older people.
November began as the war between Israel and Gaza intensified, with Keele experts offering their expert analysis on multiple aspects of the conflict. Dr Gabriella Legrenzi spoke to BBC 5 Live about the impact of the war, while Professor Clifford Stott spoke to the BBC News at 10, with his comments also featured on BBC Breakfast. In other news, an exhibition of Punk photography held at Keele was featured on BBC News online, while research by Dr Sue Sherman featured in The Guardian, after the JCVI recommended that a chickenpox vaccine be added to the childhood vaccination schedule.
Rounding out 2023, Keele research and expertise continued to make headlines across the country and the region. As well as launching a new campaign celebrating our academics’ contribution to the NHS which was featured on influential business news outlet Daily Focus, research by Professor Clifford Stott and colleagues on police use of taser weapons featured in The Guardian and The Daily Mirror. Dr Jamie Pringle lent his expertise to an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science podcast about how forensics teams might search for hidden tunnels, and finally Dr Jacco van Loon hosted a crew from BBC Midlands Today live from the Keele Observatory, discussing the history of our telescopes and the Geminids Meteor Shower.
Thank you to all of our academics who have engaged with the media throughout 2023!
- Keele University malaria research receives $750,000 backing from prestigious philanthropic foundation
- Keele University helping prepare Staffordshire for net zero future
- New purpose-built insectary will enhance Keele's world-leading research
- Keele degree leads to Daniel working with Premier League stars
- Keele University supports £2m climate education expansion for England's young learners