Researching Sustainability

There is a great deal of cross faculty interest in sustainability issues at Keele. Below are some of the areas that researchers are active in.


Fuel Cells

Keele University has a leading reputation for its research into solid oxide fuel cells, especially fuel processing reactions and internal catalytic reforming, and developing new catalysts and anode materials.

Wind energy

Keele has exceptional potential for wind energy generation.  Our industry-funded research on vibrations/ultrasound is crucial if wind energy is to be harnessed close to residential areas.  The University itself has invested in a full evaluation of the opportunities on campus.

We have recently worked with McCamleys to install a prototype turbine at the Sustainability Hub building.


Current research at Keele (located above 600 acres of unmined gassy coal) focuses on environmental geophysical monitoring of underground georeactors, allowing us to develop technology that is essential for understanding these processes.

Geothermal energy

The geology at Keele provides an excellent opportunity for us to explore the use of geothermal energy.

Green IT

The Software Engineering Group has expertise in the design and prototype development of distributed data-intensive service-oriented architectures – a key technology for Green IT.


We also have specialist facilities for the surface analysis of inorganic and organic materials, as well as expertise in the synthesis of light harvesting materials for use in organic photovoltaic cells.

Environmental biology

We have considerable research expertise in environmental biology, exemplified by a recent 3.1M euro project on the use of biofuel by-products in aquaculture.

The politics of international climate co-operation

Understandings of the development of international climate governance have been informed by rationality-based appraisals deriving from natural science and the discipline of economics, but they have also been shaped by a wider range of historical and institutional factors. Keele social scientists explore these factors so that a fuller understanding of the prospects for the future evolution of global climate governance can be developed.

Social movements

Keele social scientists have world-class expertise in the study of social movements.  One recent ESRC-funded project (‘Friends of the Earth International - Negotiating a North-South Identity’) examined the internal politics of Friends of the Earth International, one of the three major transnational environmental NGOs. Colleagues are now working on a book based on the findings which is due to be published by Palgrave in 2013.

Environmental citizenship

Keele political theorists have made a global impact on the idea and practice of environmental citizenship.  Recent research has focused on comparing environmental citizenship with policy tools such as fiscal incentives and behavioural economics (‘nudge’) in the field of ‘behaviour change’.

The socio-politics of biosecurity

Biosecurity systems including political legislation, institutional arrangements and practical enforcement have been developed by countries to protect themselves against these mobile biological risks. These systems demand behavioural changes amongst publics, the realigning and standardizing of local cultural associations to nature, and the justification of the penetration of policy into private arenas.  An interdisciplinary Keele team, in collaboration with Birkbeck College (London), ran 5 ESRC-funded seminars on this topic in 2010-12, and will be publishing a book with Routledge in 2013.

Indian Ocean environment research group

Keele social science research efforts have concentrated on both traditional and non-traditional IR and political science theory and practice, most specifically in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which includes both littoral and non-littoral states in this vast and understudied region.