Keele in context

Keele was founded as a University College in 1949 with the sponsorship of three local authorities, receiving its Royal Charter in 1962. Around 11,000 students now study at Keele, and with over 2,000 employees, the University contributes £0.22bn a year to the regional economy. Keele’s Science and Innovation Park is a fast-growing employment site and the main centre for high value employment locally.

97% of Keele’s research is rated as world leading or of international importance, and Keele is ranked in the UK Top 10 for its combined teaching and research excellence.

The priorities we share with our civic partners reflect the socio-economic challenges in the local area, and a commitment to driving innovation in sustainability, inclusion, health and wellbeing.

About the University

Keele was founded as a University College in 1949 with the sponsorship of three local authorities, receiving its Royal Charter in 1962.  Around 11,000 students now study at Keele, and with over 2,000 employees, the University contributes over £0.2bn a year to the regional economy. 

Keele’s teaching and research spans humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and health. Its  Medical School was founded in 2003 and now compares with the most highly ranked in England.

While our founding vision did not include traditional engineering we have developed strengths in areas of bioengineering, smart systems and artificial intelligence.

Keele was awarded Gold in the 2017 Office for Students Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) (the highest category). We currently rank joint 2nd in England for student satisfaction with course.  Keele’s international links include the Country’s first teaching partnership in International Relations, signed with the Bejing Foreign Studies University in 2018.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rated 97% of Keele’s research as world leading or of international importance, with notable strengths in Allied Health, Primary Care History, Politics and Philosophy.  Keele is ranked in the UK Top 10 for its combined TEF and REF results. 

At 250 hectares Keele’s campus is the largest single campus environment in Europe, A mixed-use environment, the campus has provided the setting for the unique Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) which uses the campus as a town-scale ‘living laboratory.’  Installed in partnership with Siemens, the demonstrator provides a platform for research, development and innovation in the smart energy technologies required to address climate change.

The campus includes a well-established University-owned science park.  The main centre for high value employment locally, the Park is home to six Innovation Centres, 53 companies and 750 employees. It contributes at least £40m a year in GVA, £23m from its health and medtech cluster, and has grown by 25% in the last 3 years.

Local context

Keele sits within the Borough of Newcastle-Lyme, part of the North Staffordshire urban conurbation which also includes Stoke-on-Trent. 

The University is an active partner in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with a seat on the Executive Board and a significant role in building innovation capacity, supporting strategy development and programme management.

Many parts of Staffordshire remain among the most economically challenged in the UK, with incomes well below those of the rest of the UK despite relatively high levels of employment. Levels of business R&D and innovation are among the very lowest nationally.  Keele has played a key role in addressing this, agreeing major strategic projects with civic partners via ‘Keele Deals’, leveraging research strengths to stimulate SME innovation in area’s significant industrial clusters in energy, healthcare and medical technologies, and more broadly.

The Council plans for our local authority partners Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire County Council, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council include shared priorities around outcomes for young people and families, health and wellbeing, economic growth and the future of urban centres. Keele is an actively contributing to the delivery of many of these aspirations.