2017: A Year in the News

A hot and steamy atmosphere around an Earth-like planet, swearing, a viral video about procrastination, research into PoW escapees, and a rare treatment for arthritis that won NHS approval – 2017 has been a bumper year for Keele in the news, with our research and expert comment featured in almost 3,000 news articles around the world and reaching over half a billion people. Read on for our review on the year.


We started the year in celebratory style when Dave Emley, a former geology technician at Keele, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list, whilst Keele alumna Lynn Saunders was awarded an OBE. We also celebrated being ranked 1st in the world for our ‘green setting’, and launched the £70m Keele Deal to create 700 jobs in the region.  




In February, the National Collaborative Outreach Programme Higher Horizons+ officially launched, encouraging young people from economically disadvantaged areas to enter Higher Education. February also saw one of our most popular Conversation articles of the year - “Think swearing isn’t big or clever? Think again” - which was read by over 370,000 people! The accompanying video reached thousands more on YouTube.



Keele's innovative stroke research and a major pre-eclampsia study also both made headlines this month.



With spring on its way, we enjoyed a Royal Visit, saw the School of Law climb into the global top 300, and published results of a first-of-its-kind trial in physiotherapy. We celebrated funding successes from HEFCE and Arts Council England, and on World Book Day, we celebrated stories of the World’s Oldest Children’s Book , which was featured in national media, and a White Water Writers book launch - which both reached large audiences on our social media channels.

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We began the month with one of our biggest news stories of the year - the discovery of an atmosphere around an earth-like planet which was featured  in over 350 news articles worldwide, including The Guardian, BBC and The Washington Post, reaching 70 million people globally!

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In the run-up to exams, our video How to stop wasting time was a viral success, reaching over half a million people.


At the end of the month, we celebrated retaining our position in the National Top Ten of the Times Higher Education Survey, having the number one Library in the UK, and being First for Forensic Science.



Research findings that heart failure is more fatal than common cancers made national news in May.

Being ranked number 1 for health professions in the Guardian University Guide was our most popular post on Facebook, followed closely by our May the 4th Star Wars video.

We were also ranked No.1 in England for Course Satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide.

Research that swearing can make you stronger became one of our major stories of the year, reaching over 70 million people through over 600 news articles - including in The Guardian, The New York Times and on British and Australian TV.

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Being awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework was a highlight of the year, with celebrations taking place across campus and generating national media attention

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We also launched our brand new TV advert in June - watched by thousands around the UK. 



June also saw us join Midlands Innovation, be awarded a major grant to support research into malaria, and join forces with Oxford and Southampton Universities to tackle pain.



July was a bumper month for news, with graduation success stories making regional news, honorary graduates in local news, and our graduation films and coverage reaching thousands on social media. Plans for a new joint Veterinary School were warmly received by regional media and veterinary press.

July was also a stellar month for Astrophysics - with news stories of the smallest star discovery making headlines, and a new hot jupiter discovery. Also, a research study into the use of statins as a cancer treatment made national news, and funding was awarded for new innovative research into arthritis.



Our academics had their most prolific month on The Conversation this month, publishing ten articles on a wide variety of subjects, making Keele the number three contributor to The Conversation in August. Articles were republished far and wide, including by BBC Brasil and the Independent - and also covered in a major editorial feature in The Times.

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These articles subsequently led to  many broadcast opportunities for the authors, including with BBC Radio 4, BBC Wales, and BBC World Service

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Research news included a new study into survival rates following heart procedures, and a major antibiotic resistance project.



September began with a Keele professor being awarded a major grant to study the Old Poor Law, and ended with the launch of the Cultural Observatory. In-between, Keele academics made television appearances nationally and internationally, including two appearances on the BBC Breakfast sofa, Al Jazeera and France 24.

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September also saw a new study into giving stroke patients oxygen, and research into an ancient tree providing insights to climate change reached New Zealand.



A rare treatment for arthritis winning NHS approval was our most popular news story on Facebook ever, and also featured on BBC Midlands Today.  A study revealing a steep rise in self-harm amongst teenage girls made national headlines.

Generous Keele students donated three tonnes of food to our local foodbank, we were awarded the NUS Alcohol Impact Accreditation, and we won funding from HEFCE to develop a Health Apprenticeships Hub and RCUK to enrich public engagement with research. We also received Athena Swan Bronze awards for the School of Law and School of Pharmacy.

Following the Catalan Referendum, Dr Rebecca Richards was interviewed by France 24


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A popular article on The Conversation about animal sentience by Dr Jan Hoole was republished by several outlets online, and also in print in the i newspaper:

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After a Science Media Centre briefing, Keele’s Professor Toby Bruce featured in The Guardian and the Financial Times, and also recorded a piece for BBC Radio 4.

Several academics took part in radio interviews in November, via local and national stations - with Dr Masi Noor discussing his research around forgiveness live on all 39 local BBC radio stations, reaching over one million people in the process!

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Following volcanic eruptions in Bali, Dr Ralf Gertisser gave several live TV interviews, including with Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle, from our campus television studio.

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We ended the year on a high, with Dr Russell Crawford named ‘Most Innovative Teacher of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards, and Professor Clifford Stott discussing his research into crowd psychology on BBC World Service and BBC Radio Four, reaching tens of millions of people.


Almost 3,000 news articles and broadcast interviews from Keele have reached over half a billion around the world this year. Here’s to an even busier 2018!

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