Environmental Change

Theme lead: Dr Alix Cage

Our internationally recognised researchers work on a multitude of time-scales and environments in order to better understand Earth processes and its climate, and contribute expertise towards the following areas:

Measuring soil properties Biogeochemistry and Global Change

Dr Ian Oliver

Using biogeochemical and ecological expertise, we study greenhouse gas fluxes, water quality and soil management, restoration ecology of wetland systems and the benefits this can have on carbon sequestration, the fate of a range of contaminants (e.g. agricultural, metals, radioactive substances) and the physical and ecological impacts of these contaminants, and environmental assessment and management.

Measuring ice properties Glacial and Periglacial Environments

Dr Peter Knight, Dr Zoe Robinson and Dr Richard Waller

A range of techniques are used to focus on glaciology, hydrogeology in glacial environments and geomorphological processes, with particular expertise in basal ice and permafrost processes.

Soil study Landscape Ecology

Dr Ian Oliver, Dr Sarah Taylor (Life Sciences) and Dr Peter Thomas (Life Sciences)

Researchers in this area study terrestrial ecotoxicology, soil remediation and restoration using novel materials, and  plant ecology, in particular tree and woodland ecology with special expertise in regeneration dynamics, invasive species and biosecurity.


testing lake water Quaternary Environmental Change

Dr Alix Cage, Dr Katie Szkornik, Dr Keziah Stott and Dr Richard Waller

Better understanding of our current geological period, the Quaternary (last 2.6 million years), is important when we consider our current and future climate. 

Researchers within this area utilise a range of palaeoecological, geochemical, dating, and mapping and modelling techniques to reconstruct processes occurring in marine, lake, coastal and glacial/past glacial environments, with particular focus on palaeoceanography, sea level change and polar/subpolar environments.

Research is supported by funding from sources including the UK Research Councils, the Environment Agency, the Royal Society, Natural England, The Nuffield Foundation,  the Royal Society of Chemistry and the European Commission. 

Our laboratory and field-based research kits are equipped to study water, soil, sediment, air, and bioform/biodiversity characteristics in varied environments, along with micropalaentological (including composite field of depth images), grain size and analytical SEM facilities.

If you would like to find out more about the research themes, research facilities or postgraduate opportunities, please visit the relevant links on this website.

For general enquiries, please contact Dr Alix Cage, or for more specific enquiries, please contact the relevant faculty member.


Tambora caldera

Theme lead: Dr Stuart Clarke

Geosystems research combines expertise in geophysics, petrology, volcanology, sedimentology, structural geology and palaeontology. It draws together experts from three internationally recognised research groups:

The Applied and Environmental Geophysics Research Group focuses on the application of geophysical techniques to engineering, environmental and archaeological problems.

Research by the Basin Dynamics Research Group ranges from sedimentary basins, their controls, fill, and subsequent deformation and inversion, to petroleum geoscience, palaeoecology and biogeography.

The Keele Petrology Group studies modern and ancient igneous (and metamorphic) systems, using a wide range of field, geochemical, isotopic, and quantitative textural techniques.

Geosystems research is supported by the Research Councils UK, charities, as well as European and Industrial sponsors. The Basin Dynamics Research Group is a member of the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas.

Mobilities, Identities and Culture

Welcome to the Mobilities, Identities and Culture research theme, which comprises five academic staff in Human Geography:

The members of the theme are actively involved in supervising a number of postgraduate research students across a range of topics and research areas. Interdisciplinary research with colleagues in the Humanities and Social Sciences is strongly encouraged at Keele.

The research of staff is focused around a number of inter-related issues:

  • Family health in relation to substance (mis)use
  • Family mobilties and young people
  • Citizenship and volunteering
  • The rescaling of the state and implications for urban and rural environments
  • Place-based experiences of globalisation and development
  • South Asian and cross-cultural world literature
  • Literary representations of place and space
  • Community-based planning in a devolved UK
  • Migrant communities and global cities
  • Postcolonial lifeworlds
  • Superdiversity and place and the politics and policies of migration
  • GIS and Human Geography, including:
    1. historical cartography
    2. geographies of food and eating
    3. the pedagogy of geography

For example, research on mobility includes Lau’s work on postcolonial lifeworlds, McKay’s writings on Filipino transnational migration; Pemberton’s research on EU migrant workers and Holdsworth’s scholarship on family mobility.

This research is strategically developed to engage with policy; for example, Pemberton’s research considers recent migration from EU A8 accession countries, with a particular focus on older migrants, and McKay’s research engages with the relationship between migration and care.

Nobajas’ work enhances the methodological and theoretical diversityof this research: for example, an engagement with cartographical and geographic information system (GIS) techniques to study mobility from different perspectives and obtain innovative results.

Direct engagement with communities has also been a priority of research in the Mobilities, Identity and Culture theme and this is often initiated through the ethnographic approach that has characterised research on Filipino diaspora (McKay), student experiences, family mobility and drinking in later life (Holdsworth), migrant place-making and mobility (Pemberton), South Asian women’s images and identities (Lau) and quality of life and well-being (Nobajas).

Primary and applied research by the theme members is supported by different funding agencies including the UK Research Councils, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, Higher Education Academy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, European Commission, Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry and the Australian Research Council.

If you have any queries or would like to find out more about the research themes, postgraduate studentship, research facilities, current projects, and publications, please, visit the relevant links on the left hand menu bar.

For general enquiries contact Prof Simon Pemberton. For more specific enquiries, contact the relevant faculty member listed above.

Sustainability and Green technology

Theme Lead : Dr. Zoe Robinson

Sustainability is one of the key overarching research themes at Keele University.  It is also an area that makes Keele distinctive in terms of its environment for teaching and research, as represented by Keele’s unique Sustainability Hub which is a home of sustainability–related outreach and business engagement. Sustainability-related research at Keele spans all three Faculties within the institution (Health, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences), facilitating many interdisciplinary collaborations. 

Research within the Sustainability and Green Technology theme spans several areas:

  • Environmental engineering and materials
  • Green energy
  • Education for Sustainability
  • Community action for sustainability
  • Public understanding of science

Environmental engineering and materials

There is a strong focus on application to real-world and industrial problems, specific research areas include:

  • Using magnetic resonance for the detection of corrosion on steel embedded within other materials, applied to health monitoring of concrete structures (Haycock)
  • Industrially relevant uses of multi-energy x-ray imaging (Haycock)
  • Development of data analysis techniques to process large data sets, especially those used in real-time monitoring, with many sustainability implications (Haycock)
  • Sustainability issues in thermochemical corrosion and high temperature materials chemistry (George)
  • Mathematical modelling of acoustic phenomena applied to noise control, non-destructive testing and low-pollution combustion systems (Heckl)

Public understanding of science

The Sustainability and Green Technology theme has a strong focus on the public understanding of science.  Our sustainability research feeds directly into our outreach programmes and into business engagement activities through Keele’s ground-breaking Sustainability Hub, directly increasing the impact of our research, and forming an arm of research in its own right (Robinson, George).

Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development research at Keele focuses on the formal curriculum and extra-curriclum approaches to developing sustainability literacy in higher education students.  Specific areas of focus include Student Activism for Sustainability and the development of sustainability as an academic field of study, and programme development (Robinson).

Community action for sustainability

An area of interdisciplinary sustainability research explores community-level responses to sustainability issues, including the development of community knowledge networks to reduce energy consumption (RECCKN; Robinson).

The full breadth of Sustainability research at Keele can be found here.


Professor Peter Haycock – Professor of Environmental Engineering

Professor Maria Heckl – Professor of Engineering Mathematics

Dr Zoe Robinson – Reader in Physical Geography and Sustainability 

Dr Sharon George – Lecturer in Green technology and Environmental Sustainability 

Nalini Mukherjee - Computing and Mathematics, TANGO Early Stage Researcher

Aswathy Surendran - Computing and Mathematics, TANGO Early Stage Researcher

If you have any queries or would like to find out more about the Sustainability and Green technology research themes, postgraduate studentships, research facilities, current projects, please visit the relevant links on the left hand menu bar.

For general enquiries please contact Dr Zoe Robinson, or for more specific enquiries please contact the relevant faculty member.