Keele University recognised in UK’s 'Best Breakthroughs' list

Researchers at Keele University have transformed back pain treatment, improving the lives of millions of people around the world.

An innovative approach for the treatment of low back pain has today been named as one of the UK’s 100 'Best Breakthroughs' for its significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

The 'STarT Back' approach from Keele University is honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list for its pioneering work to transform care for people with low back pain.

Low back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide. In the UK, 70% of people will experience a significant episode of back pain during their lives, and the condition costs society over £10bn each year.

Whilst effective therapies exist, finding the right personalised treatment used to be difficult. The new approach developed at Keele University changes that as it matches patients with the right treatment, at the right time.

Over the past 15 years, Keele researchers have pioneered new treatments and developed the easy-to-use STarT Back approach, which identifies those most at risk of future pain and then matches patients with the most appropriate treatment. STarT Back has been proven to:

  • Significantly decrease disability from back pain
  • Reduce time off work due to back pain - by 50% in trials
  • Save money - trials found a saving of £400 per person, which equates to overall savings of more than £700 million in the UK.

Professor David Amigoni, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Keele University said:

“It is fantastic to see the University featured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list. We’re extremely proud of the work of our academics and of the difference that they are making to people’s lives both here in the UK and overseas.”

Today’s list of breakthroughs demonstrates how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives. The list was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the MadeAtUni campaign to bring to life the differences that universities make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said:

“Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.

“The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”

You can find out more about the UK’s Best Breakthroughs and the MadeAtUni campaign at

Top 10 CUG 1st Guardian Athena SWAN