PGR Space @Cadman – We’ve had a Make-Over!

We are pleased to share with you that the PGR spaces in the Cadman Loft have had a make-over and we think it looks fantastic!  You don’t have to take our word for it though, but ask the cohort of January 2022 who attended the first induction social of the year there, on the afternoon of 3rd March, as well as some of our PGRs who regularly use the space and have voiced their delight.


An induction Social Event

The dedicated PGR space now boasts a separate Quiet Working area which is situated at the far end of the corridor to the right as you come up the stairs (or indeed the lift). It is the large room next to the kitchen, and has toilets and lockers for your use, nearby. 

The space which previously housed the desks and computers now looks very different, and we hope, you find, far more inviting.  It now boasts a combination of soft seating (a large corner sofa), café style seating, a pod as well as few desks with workstations which are still being retained for those who prefer the ‘not so quiet’ working.  This is your ‘Collaborative Working’ area, and also has a large conference table for you to gather around to discuss everything from research methodologies to vegan (or otherwise) recipes.

‘What else is coming up’, you ask?

  • A mobile TV/monitor to get the latest updates from the Graduate School, watch the news, or use to test drive your PowerPoint presentations with your peers in practice sessions ahead of a conference you may be speaking at;
  • A meeting room, which, although we will be using to hold your vivas in, you could request for your meetings, via a booking system held by the Graduate School; and last, but certainly not the least..
  • A prayer room which also offers a space for rest or silent reflection.

We call upon you to visit – and use – your new spaces, and whilst there, come and see us, and give us your ideas about further things we could do to make it feel more inviting.  We do still have bare walls on which we will be adding some photo frames and poster holders to host your photographs and posters of your research.

If you want to combine your visit with an event we are hosting, the first of these will be the Student Union Doctorates and Donuts event on Tuesday, 8th March at 3.00 PM, which will also be combined with us thanking the participants of the Enhance PGR exercise and having conversations about what we have done, are currently doing, and what is in the pipeline of the things you have requested.   You should not need an excuse to visit though – this is your space to use – your space to meet and network with your peers. Take it!

Top Award for Staffs Uni Researcher

The Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union at Yad Vashem selected Daria for a Research Scholarship as part of their Doctoral Students and Young Scholar’s grant program.

Her research, which focuses on the application of forensic archaeological methods for the investigation of Holocaust killing sites in Ukraine, was chosen from a competitive field of candidates from around the world.

Daria said:

“It is a real honour for me to receive this award and it is really important for my research”

Daria is supervised by Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls and Kevin Colls, an Associate Professor, both from the Centre of Archaeology.

Professor Sturdy Colls said:

“This award recognises the significance of Daria’s research for Holocaust Studies. It is a very prestigious and Daria truly deserves it as she is very dedicated and passionate about her important research. We are very proud of her achievement”

For Further information on the award and Daria’s Research please Click Here

Research and Enterprise Excellence Week

This event invites all colleagues interested in research to engage with both staff and students in the celebration of Research and Enterprise opportunities available at Staffordshire University through interactive online sessions taking place over the week of 14 June 2021.

We will also be launching 5 of our newest research centres and there will be several open discussion sessions where we will explore how you can get involved in the research and enterprise environment.

Event Programme

Events will take place online and you can register your attendence and navigate to each session using the links in the programme below.

Monday 14 June 10:00-12:30 – Setting the Strategic Direction

This session introduces the week and sets our cross-disciplinary research and enterprise activities in the context of the REF, the university’s research strategy to 2030, the funding landscape, postgraduate research, the professoriate and the university’s programme of civic engagement.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Monday 14 June 14:00-16:30 – Launch of the Staffordshire Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Engineering

This session is designed to highlight the activities of this new research centre on emerging technologies related to renewable energies. At Staffordshire University we have always been conscious of the environmental impact from greenhouse gases and have promoted research and development in technologies to address that.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Tuesday 15 June 10:00-12:30 – Launch of SCoLPP: Staffordshire Centre of Learning and Pedagogic Practice

SCoLPP is a new Research Centre committed to pedagogic practice which connects learning and teaching to social mobility. At the event, you will hear about how you can bid for a SCoLPP Innovators Award (the Golden Ticket item) which will provide opportunity for 2 years’ project funding and support to take forward your exciting pedagogic ideas. We will also have a bit of fun with some disruptive thinking about learning and teaching from some very special and irreverent guests and founder members.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Tuesday 15 June 14:00-17:00 – Working in Partnership

This session will be led by the Professoriate, focusing on researchers working in partnership, the importance of internationalisation, developing international collaboration and working with visiting titleholders.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Wednesday 16 June 10:00-12:30 – Postgraduate and Early Career Research Opportunities

This session will focus on and discuss the experiences of PhD/Prof Doc students and those of early career researchers. The session will also include a panel on academic publishing and, not least, the Three Minute Thesis® competition, and will conclude with reflections and initial findings from the Enhance PGR project and the announcement of the winner of the Photograph your PhD competition.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Thursday 17 June 10:00-12:30 – Launch of Centre for Smart Systems, AI and Cybersecurity (SSAICS)

SSAICS is a multidisciplinary research centre with a specific focus on Smart Systems, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity and their applications in different sectors and domains. The centre promotes research excellence in some important emerging technologies and supports business partners and other stakeholders in implementing cutting edge solutions to solve real world problems. Learn more about our current projects and future directions at this session and get to know members of the centre and their expertise.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Thursday 17 June 14:00-16:00 – Research Impact – Maximising Opportunities

The session continues the week with a summary of where we are regarding opportunities afforded by the REF and the importance of building in impact from an early stage in research. The session will also include lessons learned from the current REF from a panel of impact case study authors, and an introduction to the impact tracker for those not yet familiar with it.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Friday 18 June 10:00-12:30 – Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange

This session focuses on the interface between research, enterprise and knowledge exchange through our Innovation Enterprise Zone, the knowledge exchange framework (KEF), enterprise projects and student and graduate enterprise.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

Friday 18 June 16:00-20:30 – Launch of C3 Centre

The C3 Centre is one of the newest of Staffordshire University’s Research Centres and focusses on the Creative Industries and Creative Communities. It provides a single overarching structure for all staff working with our creative partners through the medium of arts in relation to the creative and cultural economy, society and sectors. This session will explore research, innovation and cutting edge technology via panel debates, showcases and online spaces for networking.

If you missed the event then click here for our recording

My Research in a Photograph

This competition gives Postgraduate Researchers the chance to tell people about their research through an eye-catching image and an associated, plain English narrative. 

The prizes will comprise a contribution to a development activity of the winners choice 

1st prize £300, 2nd Prize £250, 3rd Prize £150.

Click here to vote

Voting will close on Tuesday 15th June. 

1. Where have all the rockstars gone?
Click here to vote

My photograph was taken whilst at a Manchester Students’ Union venue, showing a mass of students but no rockstars on the stage. My research explores perceived changing student behaviours and seeks to identify any impact this may have on academic identity. 
During a pilot study, one academic reflected upon how they used to feel like a rockstar on graduation day, with students and their families wanting them to stand in their photographs. At the most recent graduation ceremony however, when waved over to join a student’s family, they weren’t asked to stand in the photograph, but instead asked to take it. The rockstar feeling was gone. 
Any changes to academic identity implied in my research findings could suggest future tensions in student-academic relationships – academic identities and the lure of academia may change as a result, with a new and different developing Higher Education landscape for the future. 

By Angela Lawrence

2. Children and the future of thinking
Click here to vote

The photograph shows the coming together of the heart and the mind to show the link between metacognition (thinking about thinking) and well-being. My research is about looking at how the journey to problem solving and not the solution itself is what is crucial to improving children’s well-being. Well-being has always been an important area of research and in these changing and challenging times it is even more important for us to investigate this area in order to help children and give them the brightest future we can!

By Christine Shepherd

3. Capturing Reflection
Click here to vote

The photo for me brings to life how we can reflect on our identities shape and change them and be anything we want to be! In a similar sense educators can shape their practice to deliver different forms of teaching .  Digital technology is changing educator’s perception of both teaching and learning. It’s a disruptor! Reflective practice allows educators to view the image of their professional and personal selves by  analysing their experiences so that they may improve their use and knowledge of digital methods in their teaching. My research aims to explore reflective practice of educators in higher education and the way their identities are shaped in response to the increased use of digital tools as a medium for teaching.

By Dawn Weaver

4.Interactive Virtual Museums to Immerse and Engage
Click here to vote

With a rise in Virtual Reality applications making their way into museums, displays have still been limited in what a visitor can experience and gain from the technology implemented. This research aims to explore the intersections of Virtual Reality and haptic technology to develop a greater understanding of a ceramic’s history. This research digitally reconstructs a collection of ceramics bequeathed by Ernest Thornhill in 1944 to North Staffordshire Technical College (now Staffordshire University). The Thornhill Experience has been developed to engage the viewer beyond traditional viewing formats to question the foundations of interpretation and how this is reflected within museums. The aim of this research is to aid collection interpretation and increase public engagement with museum collections which are often neglected by a contemporary audience. Through an amalgamation of sensory experiences, it aims to deconstruct cultural information into a range of related narratives and enhance public learning through an alternative exhibition experience

By Emma Fallows

5.Unidentified human remains: Returning their names
Click here to vote

The Kathimerini newspaper is the most widely read newspaper in Greece. This edition featured my appeal for help in identifying an unidentified man whose body washed ashore the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England, in February 1979. Despite the passage of time, the man has never been identified. He was found wearing a ring, thought to be a wedding ring, inscribed in Greek with ‘Georgio and Katrina 1956’.
Investigations into long-term missing persons cases can span many years or even several decades. Tragically, some of those who are missing will have died and for whatever reason, remain undiscovered or unidentified. There is an absence of studies concerning those who remain unidentified after death and the effective cross-matching of missing persons reports and unidentified bodies. My PhD research will bridge this gap, providing the first ever critical review into the cross-matching of unidentified bodies and missing persons reports in England and Wales.  

By Emma Tilley

6.The Sonic Landscape of Documentary
Click here to vote

This picture represents different “memory triggers” of the initial stage of my PhD research project entitled “Re-Sounding the Screen: The Poetics and Politics of Acoustic Territory in Contemporary Documentary Form”.
My practice-based research aims to better understand the politics and poetics of “acoustic territory” in contemporary Documentary Films, exploring how sound might be refocused as a foregrounded storytelling aspect with a potential trigger for sensory knowledge.
These subjects will be examined from the perspective of ‘listening out’ for other people’s listening, the vibratory landscape, and my acts of listening. This will be achieved by utilizing ‘sound ethnographic’ as methods of research applied in documentary films, such as field recording techniques, sound design, audio testimony, and interviews with documentary filmmakers. The result will provide a diverse body of work that seeks to critique, reflect, and re-imagine modes of documentation, production, and subjectivity in documentaries.

By Francisco Mazza Filho

7.Trees suffer too
Click here to vote

To provide economic, environmental and social benefits, forests need to be managed sustainably, so as to balance all the benefits and keep them healthy.  An individual tree in a forest, exhibiting signs of stress, may not be a problem if the forest is made up of mixed species, as only one tree, or one tree species might be affected.  However if the forest is a monoculture, this one tree could be the start of something which could spread and decimate large numbers of trees.   Temperature fluctuations on the surface of leaves may be an early sign of tree stress.  By using deep learning to fuse data frames from LiDAR and thermal sensors on a drone, then applying a neural network to the fused data, small temperature fluctuations could be detected.  Intervention at this early stage could identify stressed trees and the stress could be investigated and mitigated. 

By Helen O’Brien Quinn

8. Religion and Physical Activity/Exercise
Click here to vote

Religion plays a crucial role in healthy lifestyle behaviours; therefore, churches are seen as potential venues for health promotions such as physical activity (PA) or exercise. The picture illustrates the practice or blend between ones’ religion and being physically fit.  
Furthermore, Clergies and other faith leaders are very influential to churches involvement in health promotion programs such as exercise interventions. As such, there role can strengthen the evidence linking religiosity with positive lifestyle behaviour.  
Continual efforts are made to improve levels of physical activity within England and Wales, exacerbated by Covid19. However, one of the things that is yet to be explored comprehensively at the level of policy, is how religion or religious organisations could affect an increase in PA in England and Wales. Therefore, exploring faith-based PA interventions could have significant implications relative to public policy.  

By Hezron Ottey

9.Sexual fantasies: The unspoken conversation
Click here to vote

Most people will have sexual fantasies at some point in their lives (Lehmiller, 2018). Whilst most people said they wanted to try their favourite fantasy, only one third of people had. This suggests that many people feel uncomfortable telling their partner about their fantasies. The chosen image clearly represents this internal struggle. The white tape over the man’s mouth represents barriers which may stop someone from sharing their fantasies, such as social norms, stigma or personality. My research looks at why so many people do not tell their partner about their sexual fantasies? What factors may prevent someone from telling their partner? Once we understand why people struggle to tell their partner about their fantasies, we can help them to feel more comfortable in doing so. The aim of my research is to remove this tape and encourage people to find their sexual voice.

By Matthew Liam Kimberley

10. Take a minute with nature
Click here to vote

The World Health Organisation identifies that the environments in which we live and interact with are important factors in our health and wellbeing. Natural environments (areas of vegetation and waterways) can support our health and wellbeing through reducing stress, improving mood, and renewing our physical, psychological, and social reserves when they become depleted. A variety of different types of nature experiences such as viewing, sitting, or taking part in physical activity in natural environments can assist with reducing stress, improving mood, and renewing our reserves, thus benefiting health and wellbeing.
The focus of this PhD is to develop previous research by exploring the therapeutic role of natural environments for people with chronic pain. Specifically, this research will explore if natural environments (i.e., areas of vegetation and waterways) and specific nature experiences (e.g., viewing nature) can be an additional way to support health and wellbeing for people with chronic pain conditions.

By Patricia Darcy

11.Creative Digital Engineering
Click here to vote

From digital concepts to physical testing, students collaborated on a complex project to design and engineer a small prototype racing car. Exploiting software and technology to mirror product lifecycle development that are essential to engineering and manufacturing operations of the 21st century. 
Digital engineering solutions integrate data, workflows, business systems, and people in a value chain to manage product lifecycles which have significantly changed the way company’s work through seamless collaboration. Collaborative digital engineering processes and technologies are demanding new skills to meet 21st century engineering; modern multi-disciplined, creative thinking engineers of the future. 
My research explores to what extent higher education meets the challenges of the digital transformation for modern engineering practice. Proposing a learning framework in which collaborative digital engineering technologies provide a synoptic context to underpin the creation of new engineering undergraduate curricula, centred around team projects and problem-based learning. 

By Peter Jones

12. Safety net around our “safe” havens! 
Click here to vote

The cybercriminals have always preyed on the innocent and the gullible. Covid-19 pandemic seems to have come as a boon for the bad guys as we now see a lot of fraud calls, mails, spoofing/phishing activities. Due to the trying times, the people end up getting scammed by identity thefts, ransomwares and many other varieties of cyberattacks. Consequently, for individuals who are attacked it impacts their livelihood and state of mind. Whereas for coporations, attacks of this kind causes immense financial and reputation loss which at times amounts to shutting down of businesses. 
As part of my research I am looking to develop intelligent models which can identify attacks in real time and help respond to attacks instantly. These systems would be trained in such a way that it can identify anomalies and therefore would safeguard individuals and corporations from drastic losses. 

By Sheetal Dash 

13.The Accuracy of Violence: Bloodstain Patterns
Click here to vote

The sub-discipline of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis within the forensic sciences seeks to tell the story of what happened during a violent crime.  This analysis is rooted in fluid dynamics, physics, mathematics, and several other natural sciences that allow examiners to determine the nature of causation of bloodstain patterns at crime scenes.  Within this photograph, the observer is able to view the natural forces of surface tension and cohesion of a drop of blood.  These two forces predicate an analyst’s ability to reconstruct in three-dimensional space from which the blood droplet originated.  The focus of this research is to examine the range of accuracy within various terrains and environmental conditions of that area of origin determination.  Seeking to better understand blood’s relationship with these variables and the accuracy of an analyst’s reconstruction of the violence.  
By Zack Kowalske

Four reasons why you should attend Staffordshire University Research Conference 2020

Ema Talam, Postgraduate Researcher in Economics

Especially at the beginning of the postgraduate journey, but even at the later stages, just the thought of presenting your work at conference might be absolutely terrifying! Self-doubt is something that almost every postgraduate researcher faces, but getting past it is essential. Your work is incredibly important and you should let people know what your research is about. Furthermore, you would be surprised to see how many people are interested in what you are doing, and not just from your field!.

Presenter at a conference

As with everything in life—when it comes to presenting at the conferences and public speaking more generally—practice makes perfect! Research conferences that are organised by your university are great places to start, as they offer a friendly and encouraging environment where you can present your work. Large numbers of your peers are attending and presenting their papers or posters at these conferences as well. Remember that they are going through similar journeys, and often are facing the same or similar challenges and doubts.

For the first time this year, Staffordshire University is organising a research conference where postgraduate researchers and staff members from around the University will gather at one place (previously, the Postgraduate Research Conference and Staff Research Conference were separate events). The conference will take place in June. It will be an amazing and an inspiring day, filled with different activities: parallel paper presentation sessions, a poster presentation session, Three Minute Thesis competition for postgraduate researchers, keynote speeches and various skills workshops. I list the following four reasons why you should attend and present your work at the Staffordshire University Research Conference.

Networking at a research conference

1. Let the world know what your research is all about

The statement might be a slight exaggeration, but it is important that you start talking about your research. Once you start talking about your research, people will start to associate you with the field and your particular topic, and you will slowly start establishing your name in the field.

2. Get feedback on your work in a friendly environment

Both postgraduate researchers and staff members will attend the conference. This represents a unique opportunity for you to get feedback on your work both from academics and your peers. Furthermore, the discussions you may have after your presentation or during breaks can be very fruitful and can help you develop novel ideas.

3. Network!

Sadly, for a postgraduate researcher, it is not uncommon that sometimes days go by during which you hardly speak to anybody. Research conferences are a great networking opportunity—you will be able to meet and socialise with your peers from different departments, as well as meet academic staff from across the University. Take this opportunity to network and exchange ideas with people who work both within and outside your field—sometimes friendships develop and the greatest ideas come unexpectedly!

Build and develop your skills

Attending conferences is great for building and developing a whole set of skills that are essential for a researcher to have—ranging from subject-specific skills to more general presentation or networking skills. Furthermore, exciting skills workshops will be held during the day at the conference.

I hope to see you all at the Staffordshire University Research Conference 2020 in June!

Menopause Osteoporosis and Bone Intervention using Lifestyle Exercise (MOBILE)

What is the study about?

We are trying to find out whether exercise can improve bone health in the menopause. This information might be useful for deciding what type of exercise is beneficial for bone health and for preventing osteoporosis (brittle bone disease).

You will be required to take part in an exercise intervention lasting 8 months, in which you will be required to exercise for just 10 minutes on three occasions per week. All the exercises can be done in your own home or at a place most convenient for you, although once a month, we will invite you to come into the University to check on your progress. You will also be required to attend the sport and exercise physiology laboratory at Staffordshire University, Stoke Campus, on three separate occasions, once before the intervention starts, once at the end of the 8 months, then a third time, three months after the intervention has finished. On these occasions, we will assess your bone health using a foot bone scanner, your balance, leg power and ask you questions about your current health and medical history.

Take part in this study

We are looking for a total of 134 volunteers who are over the age of 50 and who are postmenopausal. If you meet these criteria and are also not using any HRT or have no medical or health condition preventing you from taking part, please contact Jacky Forsyth at or on 01782 294057.

Fourth International Conference on Cultural Political Economy – call for papers and how to book

We will be hosting the Fourth International Conference on Cultural Political Economy, ‘Engaging with Cultural Political Economy: Neoliberal Crises and Diverse Imaginaries’ and the call for papers is now open.

The conference, to be held on 8-10 January, builds on the highly successful previous events at Lancaster University (2015 and 2017) and Bristol University (2016). The three day conference is an important part of the ongoing development of a theoretical and empirical engagement with Cultural Political Economy – the emerging trans-disciplinary approach to enhance the explanatory power of cultural turns in political economy.

Picture of a conference presenter and audience

Call for papers

The organisers welcome proposals for papers and panels on the following, illustrative topics (other themes are also welcome):

  • Cultural turns in critical and conjunctural analyses
  • Critical Discourse Analysis and political economy approaches
  • Critical cultural political economy
  • Intersectionalism and political economy
  • Social relations and everyday subjectivities
  • States, governance and governmentality
  • Reimagining civil society and civilizational paradigms
  • Aesthetics and performance of political economy
  • Spatial imaginaries, geo-economics, geopolitics, and geoconstitutions
  • Neoliberalism and crisis dynamics
  • Global capitalism, crises and imagined recoveries
  • Globalization of production, commerce and finance
  • Austerity urbanism, finance and debt
  • Work, employment, body and embodiment
  • Competition, competitiveness, productivity and resilience
  • Sustainability and green capitalism
  • The Foundational and Circular Economy
  • Inequalities of wealth, income, and health
  • Digital economy and democracy
  • Subalternity, social movements and resistance
  • Gig economy and precarity
  • Education, markets, and societies

Panel proposals and/or abstracts of 200 words should be sent to reach Tom Ward at by 5pm, 18 November 2019 (note that deadline has been extended).

Accepted proposals will be notified within 2 weeks.

Outline programme

Day 1 – Postgraduate workshop including lectures and worshop presentations and discussions

Day 2 – main conference including welcome, keynote speaker and panel sessions followed by conference dinner

Day 3 – main conference including keynote speaker and panel sessions and closing remarks

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


The conference is open for booking at

Staffordshire University staff and postgraduate researchers are welcome to attend and bookings should be made via IRIS for each day that you wish to attend:

Day 1, 8 January 2020 – Postgraduate Workshop
Day 2, 9 January 2020 – main conference
Day 3, 10 January 2020 – main conference

Conference organisers

Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum (Lancaster) and Martin Jones (Staffordshire)

Stoking Curiosity: call for contributions

Staffordshire University is the Connected University and public engagement in research is just one way in which we can build great connections through sharing and creating knowledge with local people, other academics and organisations in Staffordshire. Stoking Curiosity, now in its second year, is co-organised in a partnership between Keele and Staffordshire Universities, the communities of Stoke-on-Trent and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The festival takes place at the historic Spode Works in the town of Stoke, and this year we would like you to take part.

Stoking Curiosity Logo

Get involved

Stoking Curiosity is a festival that builds and nurtures a community of curious people in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. We celebrate being inquisitive, spark ideas and get involved in research together in our communities. The festival is free to attend and last year exhibitors included academics, artists, creative thinkers and curious people from the local area, all passionate about exploring and sharing knowledge more widely.

The festival presents a great opportunity for academic researchers, local people and organisations to share or create knowledge. You can do this in a variety of ways that have audience participation at the heart of the activity. If you already are an engaged researcher or considering engaging with a public group in research, the festival offers a chance to make new partnerships or build on previous ones. The networking opportunities and use of curiosity as a lever to engage people in research are particular strengths of the festival.

Stoking Curiosity poster exhibit


The call-out for contributions to the 2019 Stoking Curiosity Festival is now open. Please respond now if you would like to contribute to the festival, even if you only have a very basic idea of your contribution at this stage.

To offer an expression of interest please complete the Call for Entries form. The deadline for registering your interest is Wednesday 31st July 2019.

To find out more, visit the Stoking Curiosity website. There you can find information about:

  • Stoking Curiosity 2018 (evaluation, images, overview)
  • Stoking Curiosity 2019 – current overview and announcement of this year’s dates
  • Taking Part 2019 – information about why and how to get involved including the activity submission form
  • FAQs

Follow Stoking Curiosity at @stokingcurios on Twitter and @stokingcuriosity on Instagram. Like our Facebook page.

Signage to curiosities at the Stoking Curiosity event 2018

Please share! 

Please feel free to pass on this invitation to lead an activity to anyone you know who may be interested.

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss how to get involved please contact Nic Gratton at or on +44 (0)1782 292751.

Free event – Sustainability for SMEs

Programme updated 10th June 2019

Are you interested in making your business more sustainable?

Staffordshire Business School is currently leading a project to develop a free online training tool on sustainability for businesses that could help. The training tool is now at an advanced stage of development and we are inviting businesses along to a demonstration and an opportunity to sign up to it at a free conference on Tuesday 11th June.

Professor Jon Fairburn introduces the course featured in the training tool

In summary, the conference, being held at the Moat House Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent, will feature:

  • Demonstrations of a free online tool for businesses to help with sustainability.
  • Workshops on different aspects of business sustainability delivered by experts.
  • Talks on where to get more help, e.g. networks, grants, loans or other business assistance.
  • Talks from businesses already implementing sustainability.
  • Great networking opportunities.

Presenter Viv Bradford of the Lymestone Brewery explains what she’ll be talking about at the event

Presenter Diane Brassington of Westbury Ironing talks about the business, sustainability and community work

The draft programme is as follows:

09.15-10.00 – Registration and networking – coffee and tea (Room: Bentley)

10.00 – Opening and Welcome – Prof Jon Fairburn, Staffordshire University – Twitter @ProfJonFairburn

10.30 – Keynote speech – Diane Brassington, Westbury Ironing Ltd and Westbury Workshops C.I.C. – “Outside The Box” – – Twitter @dibrassington

11.00 – Christina Marshall, Steve Stones, and Diane Roberts, Staffordshire Business Environment Network (SBEN) – “SBEN and support for your energy management” – – Twitter @LowCarbonStaffs

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00 – Viv Bradford, Lymestone Brewery Staffordshire – “Sustainability the Lymestone Way!” – – Twitter @lymestonebrewer

13.30 Parallel workshops

  Stream 1 Room: Bentley Stream 2 Room: Executive
13.30 Tom Hendy, Sustainability West Midlands – “The Future of Sustainability” – – Twitter @SWMtweet

Dr Souad Moufty, Staffordshire University – “New free online tool and some practical examples of environmental actions”

14.30 Judith Dix, Environmental Trainer ESP Ltd – Upskilling your Workforce: Increasing Environmental Competency” – – Twitter @ESP_Ltd Stephanie Hacker, The Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund – “Cutting Energy Costs: Top Tips for SMEs to Improve Energy Efficiency” – – Twitter @thecarbontrust

3.30 – Panel of speakers to take questions from the room, plus an opportunity to promote any other upcoming events and opportunities

4.00 – Close

You are encouraged to bring flyers and other publicity material. A booking form is available through Eventbrite at

Parking is free but you must input your registration number into a terminal upon arrival. Terminals will be available at the hotel reception and in the bar and meeting room (Bentley). Failure to provide car registration details will result in a fine.

More information about the project can be found at

Logo for the Report ASAP Adoption of Sustainable Accounting Practices for Reporting projectErasmus+ logo - Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

Staffordshire SMEs encouraged to boost business through digital innovation

Staffordshire-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being given the opportunity to boost their business through digital innovative technologies and expert support from Staffordshire University.

European Union European Regional Development Fund logo

Last year, Staffordshire University and Staffordshire County Council launched The Staffordshire Deal to improve the region’s economy and upskill the local workforce through embracing digital change.

Now, the partners will deliver the Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnerships project to drive digital transformation in the region after successfully bidding for £1.24m funding from the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF).

Over a three-year period, 36 fully funded partnerships are available to support Staffordshire SMEs to improve processes and support the development of new to market products and services through the use of innovative digital technologies. 

Image showing Councellor Philip White, Alun Rogers and Professor Ieuan Ellis

Image: Cllr Philip White, Alun Rogers and Professor Ieuan Ellis

Staffordshire University is leading the project and providing each six-month long partnership with a full-time student or graduate placement, an academic expert dedicating half a day each week and wider specialist support to maximise business opportunities.

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Partnerships & Region) at Staffordshire University, said:

“In our role as a Civic University we are strongly committed to helping local businesses adapt to technological change, supporting the development of higher-level skills, and improving the health and wellbeing of local people.

“The University has a rich heritage in technology and is ideally placed to drive forward the digital agenda. This project is a fantastic opportunity for academics to share their knowledge to grow and develop the skills of students, to support local businesses and to retain digitally skilled graduates in the region.”

Businesses are also being given the opportunity to help solve a series of different social challenges identified by Staffordshire County Council and each of these partnerships include a £10,000 grant. The first two challenges, which were announced this week, focus on growing community support and raising the aspirations of young people in the region.

This links with the Council’s #DigitalStaffordshire strategy which focuses on enabling citizens to use digital innovations to improve lives and productivity, leading to a healthier, happier and more prosperous county.

The launch took place at Cannock Chase High School which is one of a number of schools embracing digital change and it is already using new technologies to improve learning and attainment. This includes using software to set homework and record feedback, monitor performance and improve health and wellbeing.

Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability at Staffordshire County Council, said:

“We are challenging ourselves to think ‘community and digital first’ in everything we do. We are keen to see new innovations to encourage the growth of social action and support for members of the community, which is key to delivering our long-term vision. This could be around volunteer recruitment, setting-up groups or sharing best practice.”

“We also believe that every child deserves the best possible education, and to leave school or college equipped with the learning, skills and foundations to thrive throughout adulthood. So, we are challenging SMEs to help us achieve this goal by generating an engaging and accessible tool for young people or their parents using digital technology.”

The project is also being supported by the Stoke and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Deputy Chair Alun Rogers leads the Smart Staffordshire initiative to drive digital skills in the region and is also heading the LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy. Alun said:

“We currently have relatively low levels of business innovation in the region and this new project is a great way to drive digital transformation. This is an exciting opportunity for start-ups and established SMEs to access expert support, boost their digital skills and grow their businesses.”

Applications are now open for the Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnerships. Businesses can find out more about the project and details of how to apply at

*The Staffordshire Digital Innovation Partnership project is receiving up to £1.24m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regenerations. For more information visit