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