Keele University Keele was the first higher education institution established after the Second World War in the United Kingdom, gaining degree-giving powers in 1949 as the University College of North Staffordshire. University status, as the University of Keele, followed in 1962. Its founders espoused radical educational principles and the University was founded to promote interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary scholarship.

Building on its founding tradition, Keele’s distinctive mission is to provide a high quality educational experience for students, shaped by outstanding research, contributing positively to social, environmental and economic agendas locally, nationally and internationally.  

With 7,500 FTE students, Keele is a relatively small University, but it has growth potential and ambitions, and continues to make a unique contribution to higher education by emphasizing the strength of broad education and innovative learning environments.

Keele is a residential university, and is the UK’s largest integrated campus occupying an attractive 617acre estate, of which a hundred acre area adjacent to the 19th century Keele Hall has designated conservation status, confirmed by Newcastle Borough Council. Many architectural and landscape features dating from the 19th century are of regional significance.

Almost three quarters of full time students live on campus, along with a number of postgraduate students. Some 720 study bedrooms have been built since 1992 in award winning residential centres. Uniquely, Keele also has a significant proportion of staff living on campus, with a total of 172 houses and apartments.

Located centrally within the UK, in North Staffordshire, Keele is a major contributor to its local economy. With a turnover in excess of £85m, and a total staff of around 1,700, the University generates around £40m of business in the region.  

Research at Keele

Keele is a research-based university and has significantly increased its research profile in the last five years. Research grant and contract income was £12million in 2010-11, having grown from £8million 2006-07.  To enhance its research position, Keele is focusing its research profile further, building on areas of recognised national and international strength across its three faculties: Health, Natural Sciences, and Humanities & Social Sciences. The REF 2014 found that 97% of the University's research is now classified as world leading and of international importance with the health research institutes achieving the highest results within the university.

Within the Faculty of Health, teaching is within the School of Medicine whilst research is undertaken in 3 institutes:

Institute of Primary Care and Health Sciences

The Institute hosts the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, which delivers a world-leading research programme through:

    • Highlighting the importance of musculoskeletal conditions by demonstrating the extent, frequency and impact of pain and disability on individuals, and their increasing health and social care burden and costs on society.
    • Researching ways of preventing musculoskeletal conditions from starting, getting worse, or limiting people in their daily lives and activity.
    • Researching the provision of effective assessment, self-management and treatment of these conditions, in the community and in primary care.
    • Shifting the perception that musculoskeletal conditions are an inevitable consequence of growing old, to take a more positive approach where the symptoms of pain and disability can be addressed more directly.

In REF 2014, over 90% of its research was judged to be of international quality, and was rated 3rd nationally out of primary care centres.


In 2009, the Centre was proud to be awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, for Pioneering early intervention and primary care in the management of chronic pain.


The Centre is one of only eight members of the National School of Primary Care Research.


Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine

The Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine has evolved from Keele’s internationally respected strength in biomedical engineering and expanded rapidly over the last ten years.  In the REF 2014 report, ISTM’s submissions in applied biomedical research achieved a 42% score in world-leading 4* rating, and ISTM’s biomedical engineering research doubled its’ world leading 4* score. Both units achieved ~90% across the top two ratings 4* and 3*. The Institute bridges the interface between new advances in basic science and medicine, with an excellent integration of the skills and knowledge of engineers, mathematicians, biologists, physicists and clinicians. 


Clinically there are strong areas in orthopaedics, renal and respiratory medicine, cancer, pathology, neonatal medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology which exist across hospitals in North Staffordshire and Shropshire that include the University Hospitals of North Midlands, RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry and the Heywood Hospital, Burslem.  The Institute’s “bench to bedside” approach also fosters excellent working relationships with worldwide medical and biotechnology industries.


Research in the Institute is grouped into six major themes, totaling over 110 academic and clinical staff:


Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine

Biomagnetics and Nanomedicine

Cell & Molecular Medicine

Diagnostics, Engineering and Proteomics

Applied Entomology & Parasitology

Sustainable Pharmacy


The Institute has laboratories at the University’s Hartshill campus where Keele and the NHS have invested £3million in The Guy Hilton Research Centre to provide a patient treatment facility alongside state-of-the-art equipment for translational research, which includes cell therapy suites, genomic facilities, and advanced laser and diagnostic laboratories.

The Institute attracts major research grant funding of almost £4million per year from the UK Research Councils, the European Union, National Institutes for Health USA, Department of Health, the Royal Society, and many major UK funding charities.  It currently has in training around 100 doctoral students and supports four successful Masters courses.  The Institute has developed an international profile for its recent work at the cutting edge of stem cell therapies, and is a Centre of Excellence in Tissue Engineering at national and European level.  Institute members have active collaborations with universities throughout the UK, and over 35 countries in Europe, USA and the developing world.

Institute for Applied Clinical Sciences

Recently established, the Research Institute for Applied Clinical Sciences provides the focus and infrastructure for secondary care research at Keele. To achieve this it works closely with its key partners, which include not only the Faculty’s Schools and RIs but also the local NHS Hospital Trusts in the development and delivery of their investigator led research portfolios. The Institute is underpinned by the strong performance by Keele in the REF 2014 submission to Unit 3 (Allied Health Professions), notable for its exemplary approach to research impact.

The Institutes’ research encompasses a wide range of applied methodologies, including clinical trials and observational cohort studies, analysis of big data sets, data linkage and systematic reviews as well as epidemiology and health services research. Although the focus is on research that translates innovative approaches to treatment into clinical practice in secondary care settings, research that crosses the primary/secondary care and bench to bedside interfaces by working collaboratively with our sister Institutes is strongly encouraged. Equally important is the emphasis on developing multidisciplinary research teams.

Examples of the Institute’s most developed research programmes are with our longest standing partner, the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust. One of the largest acute hospital Trusts in the UK it hosts a national Trauma Centre and leading cardiac and stroke intervention services to which the Institutes’ research strategy is closely aligned. This includes research groups in cardiovascular epidemiology, early stroke interventions, kidney dialysis, multimorbidity, respiratory medicine and rehabilitation. Through collaboration and co-investment, it has been possible to develop a clinical research career pathway along with NIHR funded lectureships and fellowships across the health disciplines.

Our research is directly relevant to the local health economy and the wider NHS as well as having international impact. Key to this success is the involvement of patients in the design, conduct and dissemination of our research and the support we receive from the Keele hub of the West Midlands Research Design Service and the Faculty based, NIHR accredited, Clinical Trials Unit.

Located at the Guy Hilton Research Centre the Institute is within a few minutes walking distance of the Royal Stoke Site of the University Hospital of North Midlands. Co-location with the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine affords opportunities to develop the translational pipeline into applied clinical studies. Our research is supported by the NIHR, including national trials in Stroke and Dialysis Medicine, funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme, the American National Institute for Health and the European Union Framework 7 programme.

School of Medicine, Keele University

The School of Medicine was created in September 2001 as a further development of the School of Postgraduate Medicine, which had been established in 1978.  The School is part of the Faculty of Health which includes the School of Health and Rehabilitation, the School of Pharmacy and the School of Nursing & Midwifery. Other health-related academic units in the University include the Centre for Health Planning & Management, the Centre for Medical Statistics, the School of Life Sciences, Social Gerontology located in the School of Criminology, Education Sociology and Social Work, and the Centre for Professional Ethics.

Undergraduate medical education commenced in September 2002 (see below). Postgraduate medical education includes the organisation and delivery of professional, postgraduate award-bearing courses and continuing medical education.  University award bearing courses have been established as the Master of Medical Science Degree, Diploma and Masters Degree in General Psychiatry and Masters Degrees in Geriatric Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Cellular Engineering, Rheumatology Nursing and Adolescent Addiction.

The development of the undergraduate school of medicine

The Keele undergraduate school of medicine started as a satellite of Manchester medical schools, receiving its first 50 students who moved to Keele for their three clinical years in September 2002.

Following the successful first bid, it was announced on 30th March 2001 that the second bid from Keele and Manchester Universities to establish a free-standing School of Medicine at Keele had been successful.

The University built a new, state of the art Medical School building on the University Campus which was ready for September 2003 and where the students spend their first two years. The University Hospital of North Midlands Trust has built a new Medical School building and a Clinical Education Centre on the City General Hospital site to enhance its £200m rebuilding programme.  

The Keele mission statement is to “graduate excellent clinicians”. The first students receiving a Keele MBChB graduated in July 2012. The School now trains 130 students per in a five-year course on the Keele campus and in local Trusts. The course is a spiral, highly integrated course, utilising blended learning methods. Students develop clinical skills and meet patients from the first year of the course. They complete over 100 weeks of clinical placements over the five years of the course. The School is committed to fostering the development of skilled, globally aware, socially responsible graduates. Since first implementation of the Keele MBChB the course has scored well in the National Student Survey (joint third in 2012) and in national league tables (currently 4th in the Guardian League Table for Medical Schools).

Hand in hand with the development of the Keele course has been the development of an academic pathway for medical students, including research based student selected components, student summer internships and a portfolio of intercalated options, with emphasis on intercalated Masters degrees after year 4 of the curriculum. With respect to intercalated degrees, we have moved from 1% students intercalating from the Manchester-validated programme to >20% in 2013/14.   

Keele University Academic Foundation Programmes

These academic posts are designed to encourage the best and most motivated medical graduates to consider clinical academic careers from an early stage. They will provide excellent clinical experience and supervision, together with protected time and high level support to learn about different aspects of research and medical education. Applications for subsequent Academic Clinical Fellow posts are strongly encouraged and supported.

All aspects of training in Research methodology including consent, ethics, protocol design and development and being part of a multi disciplinary research team will be taught during this time. Robust methodological support is also provided by the Health Services Research Unit for project planning.

The academic trainees will have a mentor whilst based in the academic department, and will be given the opportunity to undertake their own project within a friendly multi-disciplinary academic environment.  Core training in research methods will be provided and a range of project options can be offered, depending on the individual's interests and career aspirations. 

Whilst configured to provide all the required experiences to achieve the clinical competencies, these academic programmes will ensure protected time to participate in specific research and/or educational programmes and personal supervision and support associated with this component.

The Academic Foundation training programme provides an opportunity to allow doctors to undertake further study and acquire a higher level postgraduate qualification then previously awarded in this type of programme. All academic trainees on Keele University rotations will obtain core skills in research methods by attending a 5 day Masters level course that attracts 15 M level credits. This course is highly valued by previous trainees and covers pertinent aspects of study design, research ethics and statistical analysis.

Doctors will be able to undertake more modules from within the Master of Medical Science course to focus on the three core elements of the foundation programme i.e. leadership, research and education. Modules are available in all these speciality areas to extend the learning of the doctor. This can then be extended to a full Masters if suitable. The modules are available on the Keele website under "Postgraduate Taught courses" in the medicine section.

This scheme is the first step to a higher level qualification leading to greater job opportunities and career development.

Page updated: 30 August 2016