Do we really need to wait another generation for Clean Air?

By Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development

Poor air quality is responsible for over 35,000 deaths in the UK every year and hundreds of thousands of ill-health episodes.

Last Autumn the World Health Organization (WHO) released new standards for air quality as a result of research showing that air pollution causes problems in every part of the body. Furthuremore, air pollution is worst in the most deprived areas across Europe and these are also often populations that are more vulnerable as well.  

WHO have set an annual mean target of 5 ugm3 for Particulates (PM2.5) and WHO states “Exceedance of the air quality guideline levels is associated with important risks to public health”.

What has been the government’s response? As it happens the Environment Bill is going through Parliament and they are currently out to consultation on what the targets should be – their suggestion a target of 10 ugm3 by 2040! Note the consultation closes 27th June

So, they propose a target that is twice the WHO standard to be met in a generation. Why does air pollution have such a low priority in Britain? In part because there has been a marked political reluctance to change policy and behaviours – failures include:

a. Deregulation of buses outside London which led to a steep fall in bus use.

b. The lack of cheap, reliable and extensive mass transport in most cities outside London.

c. A failure to develop active transport including dedicated integrated cycle lanes in towns and cities

d. Failure to regulate or ban wood burning stoves which now account for 40% of PM2.5 emissions and which continue to grow in use.

e. A virtual complete lack of air quality enforcement by local authorities. (The Guardian report in 2021 there had only been 19 penalities in 6 years by local authorities).

If you want to find out your local level of pollution have a look a this site

The University is a partner in #CleanAirDay

I maintain an air quality list on twitter here

The House of Commoms Public Affairs Committee is currently calling for evidence to tackle local air quality breaches – closing deadline 20th June

New Tourism paper from Dr Muddasar G Khwaja and colleagues

Linking Regenerative Travel and Residents’ Support for Tourism Development in Kaua’i Island (Hawaii): Moderating-Mediating Effects of Travel-Shaming and Foreign Tourist
Attractiveness in Journal of Travel Research

by U Zaman, M Aktan, J Agrusa & M G Khwaja


“Leaving the place behind, better than before” is the regenerative state-of-mind approach to reset, rethink and move forward, beyond sustainable tourism. Despite growing global attention, empirical evidence supporting tourism developments through regenerative travel remains extremely rare. Moreover, rampant incidents of travel-shaming across tourism destinations undermine foreign tourist attractiveness, ultimately affecting residents’ support for tourism developments. To address this overlooked and potential research gap, the present study develops and tests a holistic moderated-mediation model of resident’s support for tourism development, involving regenerative travel, travel-shaming and foreign tourist attractiveness.
Drawing on study data from 463 islanders in Kauai (Hawaii) and the use of structural equation modeling via Mplus, the study provides pioneering evidence on the effects of regenerative travel on residents’ support for tourism development, under moderating-mediating influence of travel-shaming and foreign tourist attractiveness. The present study implications extend to the development and validation of a new scale for regenerative travel. The study findings offer strategic insights and directions for imagining new business models, resources, and relationships within regenerative tourism in the post-pandemic world.

Congratulations on this publication in a prestigious Q1 journal!

Muddasar teaches on a range of courses in the Business School including the MBA and the MSc in Digital Marketing Management

Business Warfare with Francis Jackson

Tom Lovelock, Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student

On 13th May 2022, second year students from the Visitor Attraction and Resort Management course at Staffordshire University attended an engaging business strategy talk at Alton Towers from the General Manager, Francis Jackson.

This honest review talk and Q & A from Francis is part of the students strategy module with the university. Alton Towers and Staffordshire University have a successful partnership which is 6 years strong, and this talk is just one of the many opportunities the students get.

Francis started the meeting by giving brief information about his career background and history. He explained about his transfer from a humble Ski Resort in Australia to the theme park giant that is Alton Towers. Francis believes that Merlin is a “Juggernaut in the visitor attraction industry”, but what gives them the competitive advantage?

The group was taught how important the delivery of the Merlin product can be to being one step ahead of competition. From guest experience and satisfaction to how immersive and impressive the theme park looks, Francis covered how important these high standards are to staying on top. However, he also explained how the core values of the company can sometimes get lost. For Alton Towers, ‘joyful’ should be the absolute minimum that guests get out of their day.

Merlin is primarily driven through marketing and Francis revealed to students just how competitive the tourism industry can get. “Business isn’t cozy” – (Francis Jackson 2022) Gaining the competitive advantage can be brutal, companies can use aggressive war-like tactics to overwhelm their competitors. For Alton Towers: third parties, new and innovative products and tactical marketing are all major factors in their strategy to stay on top and be a world class destination.

As the talk came to a close, Francis gave some advice for students as future leaders. Tourism is one big turf war and Francis let students know this. He explained how academic studies and knowledge mixed with heart and passion will make for amazing opportunity and can take you anywhere you want to go.

Business and Management REF 2021 Results

By Prof Jon Fairburn – Lead for Business and Management UoA

Business and Management research has been highly rated by peers and stakeholders in the HE sector. Our work is interdisciplinary and highly collaborative with members in several research centres across the University. Our research has focused on:

  • Emerging markets
  • Inequalities, employment and welfare
  • Innovation and leadership

The results

4* research is defined as ‘Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.’

3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence

4*3*2* 1*
Full results including case studies can be found at

As a group of Applied Researchers we are especially pleased to have our work so highly rated on impact (our Environment statement documents many examples of this) including work at the local, regional, national and international level. We have made extensive contributions to the tackling austerity, economic development in the Balkans and environmental justice nationally and internationally as well as a range of projects for sustainable businesses. In terms of Impact we are now ranked 17th in the country.

106 units were submitted to the Business and Management panel and Staffordshire Business School now ranks joint 51st in the sector overall.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the staff submitted to the unit, the team at RIIS including Tim Horne, Jackie Reynolds, Cathal Rogers, Emma Davies, Holly Hoar, Yolanda Granja-Rubio. For research and review Ema Talam, Sarah Beighton and Bella Reichard. Thank you also to Deans and senior managers during the REF period including Susan Foreman, Peter Jones, David Williamson, June Dennis, Hazel Squire and Angela Lawrence.

If you would like to see our current research in the School then please have a look at this blog

Find out about our Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Business courses here

Jon Fairburn tweets @ProfJonFairburn or email him at

Some examples of outputs during the period

Student visit to Alton Towers Hotel

Studying Visitor Attraction & Resort Management opens up a wide range of roles for students from working on rides at Scarefest, to working in the hotels over the Christmas period. This allows me to gain new and exciting experiences in a fast paced industry, which also allows us to network with industry specialists. As part of the course students complete 10 weeks of paid placement with Alton Towers Resort. Placement is important for studying Visitor Attraction & Resort Management, as this allows students to apply the theory learnt in lectures to practice. There are a range of modules in Visitor Attraction & Resort Management; for example business based modules such as Human Resources, Operations management, to more creative based modules e.g. Brand Me presentations and Strategic Management, where students get to design and market a theme park.

As part of our course, this week we attended the Hotel & Hospitality tour and Q&A session with the Alton Towers reception, housekeeping and leisure team to discuss the operations behind the hotels. Visits are important as it allows students to learn on the job, students have the amazing opportunity to talk directly to heads of departments and apply this to our assignments. For example, In year 1 students undertake a Hotel and Hospitality module.  From the Q&A session students were able to ask “How does Alton Towers compete with their competitors?” and “How do hotels use capacity management to keep the hotels profitable?”.

Attaining a degree with Staffordshire University “can help fast track your career at Alton Towers to help progress to a managerial role” the Head of Front of office exclaimed. With a degree, students can learn the theory behind resort strategy and allows students to go in any direction in the future. With being a student in a small group of individuals, this helps differentiate yourself from other more traditional courses. As this is the only course in the country that allows students to attain a degree and work in conjunction with one of the UK’s most popular theme park.

New member of staff – Dr. Joe Hazzam, Lecturer in Digital Marketing

Dr. Joe Hazzam has joined as a  Lecturer in Digital Marketing in the Department of Business and Law, School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom.

He holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marketing from the British University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He possesses corporate experience of more than eighteen years, and teaching experience of more than four years. He has designed and delivered Digital Marketing Professional courses supporting 38 entrepreneurs and marketing practitioners to develop and execute digital marketing strategies including SEO, PPC search and display campaigns, social media and email campaigns.

photo of Dr Joe Hazzam
Dr Joe Hazzam has extensive experince of digital marketing and also publishes research on this theme

Before joining Staffordshire University, he has served as Lecturer and the Head of the Marketing department at The British University in Dubai, and as an adjunct Lecturer at University of Wollongong Dubai. He is a Certified Practising Marketer from the Australian Marketing Institute. He is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Australian Marketing institute.

His research portfolio includes several research papers published in the top-tier marketing journals such as Journal of Strategic Marketing and Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice among others. His scholarly interests are broadly within the field of international and digital marketing. He is particularly interested in the development of cross-cultural, digital and social media marketing capabilities that may play a role in improving customer experience and organisational performance.

Moreover, he is an expert in data analysis using SPSS and AMOS statistical packages, Structural equation modelling and multi-group moderation analysis, Search engine marketing including search engine optimisation and pay per click search, display google campaigns, Social media campaigns including Facebook business manager and LinkedIn, Email campaigns using Mailchimp and constant contact, Website optimisation using WordPress content management system.

Dr Hazzam will be teaching on the MSc in Digital Marketing Managment and the BA in Digital and Soical Media Marketing

He will be presenting some of his research in an online seminar (all welcome) – register on the link The impact of social media technologies on organization cultural intelligence and new product development in international market  by Dr Joe Hazzam March 30 2022

Google scholar       LinkedIn    ResearchGate   ORCID

New member of staff – Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing

Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja has joined as a Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing in the Department of Business and Law, School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom.

He holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marketing from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Malaysia. He possesses corporate experience of more than seven years, and teaching experience of more than five years. He has worked in different capacities at leading multinational corporations such as the British Council, Nestle, the Coca-Cola Company and Marriott Hotel.

New member of staff - profile photo
#Digital marketing specialist

Before joining Staffordshire University, he has served in senior academic positions at University of Westminster in Tashkent, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Webster University, SZABIST University, and UCSI University Malaysia. He had been a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

He has published more than twenty research studies in reputed academic research journals. He has also presented his research papers in leading international and national research conferences.

Moreover, he has been providing trainings on quantitative and qualitative research-based tools like SPSS, AMOS, R, Mplus, SmartPLS and NVIVO. He is a proficient user of digital marketing tools like Power BI, Alexa and Tableau. His research interests include digital marketing, marketing analytics, tourism marketing, technology management, and consumer psychology

Dr Khwaja will beteaching on the MSc in Digital Marketing Managment and the BA in Digital and Social Media Marketing

He will be presenting some of his research in an online seminar (all welcome) – register on the link Factors leading to Sustainable Consumption in the Digital Context: Empirical evidence from the emerging markets by Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja April 27 12-1

Linkedin  ResearchGate   Google Scholar   ORCiD  Publons  Scopus ID

Creating a visitor attraction in 10 weeks!

Heather Wingfield – Second year Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student

On Friday the 28th of January the second year Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Students had the opportunity of presenting a Visitor Attraction to members of the senior leadership team at Alton Towers Resort. As part of the Business Development and Sales Management module we were tasked with creating a feasible visitor attraction in just ten weeks! Working in small groups we designed everything from logos to rollercoasters and even the small details of the operational features.

The group I worked in created the Highlandia Resort. This would be Scotland’s first indoor theme park, located in Livingston, aimed at the family market. Week one consisted of deciding which of our dream rollercoasters we wanted to put into our theme park, from there we developed six themed areas, 14 food and beverage outlets and a yearlong event schedule. After completing several placements at the Alton Towers Resort and visiting many theme parks over our lifetimes this didn’t feel like a university assignment!

By week four we had decided upon the basics for the Highlandia Resort and began to use our knowledge acquired from the first year of our degree to write a 2,000-word feasibility report. This report consisted of market research, a competitor analysis and even a marketing strategy for our theme park!

Before we knew it, it was week ten. We had compiled our theme park into a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel, we were joined by Kate McBirnie, Head of Guest Excellence at Alton Towers Resort. After many rehearsals we began our presentation, a nerve wracking yet rewarding experience. We knew our product inside out and presented it while the judging panel enjoyed afternoon tea with a Scottish twist! After the presentation we felt very proud at what we had been able to achieve in just ten weeks, but also a little bit sad that it was all over! This module has definitely been my favourite on the Visitor Attraction and Resort Management course, on what other degree do you get to design your own theme park?!

FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management is a unique course taught in partnership with Alton Towers Resort, part of the World renowned Merlin Group. It includes 20 weeks paid work experience, and the opportunity to top up to a BA (Hons) degree in your third year. Sessions Now Available at Staffordshire University

We are currently exploring the use of with learners and are now in a position to be able to run playful, creative bespoke workshops with your students (and staff). These sessions range from icebreakers, team building, students modelling their futures, event overviews and timeline journeys and lots more. is based around the iconic Playmobil figure, which has served as an educational toy encouraging imaginative play, now it is being used by adults in the frame of a professional context. is a complete modelling system for professionals, and by applying a playful pedagogy, great facilitation, and specific methodology the kit can be used in a wide range of fields.

Interested? Contact us and we will give you a demonstration and explore how we can use it with your students. 

Recent research from Staffordshire Business School

Staff in the School are currently awaiting the results of the REF 2021 exercise that will be announced in May of this year UPDATE Results now out and we did great see more here . In the 2014 REF exercise staff were entered into both the Business and Management UoA and the Education UoA. Here we provide an overview of research activity in the academic year 2021-2022 so far.

Book Chapters

Dr Bharati Singh has a chapter “What can young Social Entrepreneurs tell us about Environmental Leadership? Perspectives from Brazil and India” in Rethinking Leadership for a Green World edited by Andrew Taylor published by Routledge.

Vanessa Oakes and Adam Bronstone also have a chapter in the same book – The ‘Interesting’ Case of EU Commission Leadership and the Emission Trading Scheme in
in Rethinking Leadership for a Green World edited by Andrew Taylor published by Routledge

Dr Bharati Singh and Vanessa Oakes both have chapters in this new book

Carol Southall has a chapter in a new book with Dr Cai – Cai, W. and Southall, C. (2021) Managing Sexuality for Gay and Lesbian Parents in Heterosexual Family Holiday Spaces: Setting an Agenda for Research in Vorobjovas-Pinta, O. (Ed) Gay Tourism: New perspectives. Bristol: Channelview

Duncan Adam has a new chapter – Simms, M and Adam D. (2021) Precarious Solidarities. Unions, Young Workers and Representative Claims pp 69-90 in Cuzzocrea, V., Gook, B. and Schiermer, B. (eds) (2021) Forms of Collective Engagement in Youth Transitions: A Global Perspective. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

Etherington D and Jones M (2022 forthcoming) Political Economy of the Inclusive Labour Market Welfare through Work Revisited in  P McGurk and J Ingold eds Employer Engagement: Making Active Labour Market Policies Work, Bristol Policy Press

Daguerre A and Etherington D (2022) Austerity, the Covid Crisis and Welfare Policies under the Conservative Government in Martin Powell and Hugh Bochel eds Conservative governments and social policy Bristol Policy Press (contract signed with publishers to deliver this chapter).


Dr Karen Castle and Richard Kelly have published Signposts for Civvy Street: A comprehensive guide for all military service leavers and veterans

Visiting Professor Mark Gregory had published More than a game: saving Football from itself

Beel D, Jones M, Jones I (2021), City Regions and Devolution in the UK: The Politics of Representation (Policy Press, Open Access, Bristol)

Jones M (2021, paperback version, updated with new preface) Cities and Regions in Crisis: The Political Economy of Subnational Economic Development (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham) 

Peer review papers

Nebojša Stojčić (Visiting Professor) has a new publication – Stojčić N, Mikulić J, Vizek M, (2022) High season, low growth: The impact of tourism seasonality and vulnerability to tourism on the emergence of high-growth firms, in Tourism Management, Vol. 89.

Meardi, G., Simms, M. and Adam, D. (2021) ‘Trade unions and precariat in Europe: Representative claims’, European Journal of Industrial Relations, 27(1), pp. 41-58. doi: 10.1177/0959680119863585.

Viol M & Southall C (2021) A conceptual framework for understanding Western-centrism in transnational education in tourism, Current Issues in Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2021.2019203

Vujanović, N & Stojčić, N & Hashi, I, 2021. “FDI spillovers and firm productivity during crisis: Empirical evidence from transition economies,” Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 45(2).

Macleavy J and Jones M (2021) ‘Brexit as Britain in Decline and its crises (revisited)’ Political Quarterly 92, 444-452

Beel D and Jones M, ‘City region limits: questioning city-centric growth narratives in medium-sized cities’ Local Economy 36, 3-21

Dimos C, Pugh G T, Hisarciklilar M, Talam E & Jackson I (2022) The releative effectiveness of R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies: A comparative Meta-Regression Analysis in Technovation

Lami E, Imami D, Pugh G T and Hashi I (2021) Fiscal Performance and Elections in the context of a Transition Economy in Economic Systems

Etherington D and Jones M (2022) The Challenges of Levelling Up in England’s North Midlands: Post-Covid Precarity in Stoke-on-Trent  to be submitted to Local Economy

Dodds K, Broto VC, Detterbeck K, Jones M, Mamadouth V, Ramutsindela M, Varsanyi M, Wachsmuth D and Woon CY (2022) ‘10th anniversary of Territory, Politics, Governance: achievement and prospects’ Territory, Politics, Governance

Jones M (2022) ‘For a “new new regional geography”: plastic Regions and more-Than-relational regionality’ Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography

Fred Nyakudya is working on a paper “How do institutions affect entrepreneurs in South Africa” for submission to the Technological Forecasting & Social Change

Fred Nyakudya is working on a paper “The effect of gender and resources on entrepreneurial activity: Evidence from the UK East Midlands region. For submission to the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research

Other outputs

Etherington D, Jones M, Harris S, and Hubbard S, (2021) Powering up or reducing inequalities? Assessing the impact of benefit cuts and withdrawal of (Furlough) support on Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire University/Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke on Trent,

Etherington D, Jones M, Harris S, and Hubbard S, (2021) Post COVID-19 Crisis and its impact on Poverty and Destitution in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire University/Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke on Trent.   

Book review by Duncan Adam of The Politics of Social Inclusion and Labor Representation: Immigrants and trade unions in the European context. Connolly, H., Marino, S. & Martinez Lucio, M., 15 May 2019, New York: Cornell University Press. 200 p. forthcoming in Transfer

Prof Jon Fairburn has a long Interview with Environmental Protection Scotland reflecting back on 20 years of environmental justice research.(pdf)

Prof Jon Fairburn is a contributor to an Environmental Protection Scotland leaflet that was designed for COP26 in Glasgow.

Visiting Professor Mark Gregory gave a speech at the NHS Conferederation entitled “Identifying how health impacts economic and social outcomes – A bottom up view from Stoke-on-Trent”

M A Wasim & K Mitchell “The role of technology in student learning and engagement: the case of the webinar” for Springer’s series Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics (EBES conference proceedings).

M A Wasim & K Mitchell “Investigation of higher education teacher adoption of Microsoft teams: managing behaviour through online delivery and promoting positive usage” for Springer’s series Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics (EBES conference proceedings).

John Middleton, Paul Southon and Jon Fairburn are working on a paper for PETRA with the working title “Environmental provisions in trade agreements”

Jones M (2021) ‘Is the government missing the real levelling up value of HE?’ Mediafhe 10th May

Jones M (2021) ‘Driving the digital skills agenda in Staffordshire’ Total Telecom 28th April

Etherington D, Telford L, Jones M, Harris S and Hubbard S (2022) The Pending Poverty Catastrophe in Stoke-on-Trent: How Benefit Cuts and the Cost of Living Crisis impacts on the poor.  Staffordshire University/Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke on Trent,

Bids and funded research

Prof Jon Fairburn and Dr Gordon Mitchell (University of Leeds) are carrying out research for the Environment Agency into environmental equity policy.

Ema Talam has won a bid to produce a literature review on ‘the potential of R and d tax credits to support the Creative industries’ for the West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Prof David Etheringon with Dr Luke Telford submitted to the British Academy under the small grants schemes The UK Government’s levelling up agenda in the Covid-19 era: Assessing the lived experience of poverty in ‘left behind’ Stoke – awaiting decision

Phd/DBA completions

  1. PhD: Arbresh Raveni (10-2020). Fiscal Policy in small open economies in transition, with particular reference to Macedonia. Supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh
  2. PhD: Berat Havoli (04-2021).Determinants and Economic Consequences of the Cost of Government Borrowing: With Particular Reference to Selected European Transition Economies. Supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh
  3. PhD: Simon Milosheski (08-2021). The Detection and Quantification of House Price Bubbles for (i) United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany (ii) a Panel of East European countries. Supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh
  4. DBA: Andrew Stephenson (03/2021). Using the Net Promoter System Methodology to Deliver Cultural Change in Retail Organisations:  Impacting both the Customer and Employee Experience. Supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh

Research seminar series (recordings) organised by Ema Talam

“Innovation policies: How to enable firms to innovate more?”, delivered by Ema Talam

“The effect of gender and resources on entrepreneurial activity”, delivered by Dr Fred Nyakudya

“Promoting innovation by SME’S in traditional manufacturing industries: Why and how?”, delivered by Professor Geoff Pugh

Spatial impact of entreprenurial zones: Firms, city and inter-city evidence by Visiting Professor Nebojsa Stojcic

Upcoming online seminars (sign up on the links)

Levelling up on purpose – putting place back into business by Visiting Professor Mark Gregory 23rd Feb 12-1

The impact of social media technologies on organization cultural intelligence and new product development in international market by Dr Joe Hazzam 30th Mar 12-1

Factors leading to Sustainable Consumption in the Digital Context: Empirical evidence from the emerging markets by Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja April 27 12-1

If you are interested at presenting in our research series please email

Help to grow Staffordshire – business support for SME’s – delivered by staff and Entrepreneurs in residence from the business School.