Since becoming President in 2014, Professor Alice Gast’s priorities have included:
A Global University
- Promoting Imperial’s international presence and internationalism. Imperial has been named as the UK’s most international university for the last three years. Continued growth in international partnerships include a series of seed funds to kickstart collaborations with peers at MIT and in Africa, at Tsinghua University, and across Europe.
- Hosting and increasing Imperial’s influence with world leaders, including heads of state, government and senior ministers.
- Developing new forms of international partnership, such as UMI Abraham de Moivre, a collaboration between Imperial’s Department of Mathematics and CNRS of France, and the College's strategic partnership with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in education, research and innovation.
- Increasing Imperial’s visibility worldwide. The President’s views and analyses have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Economist, Financial Times, Le Monde, World Economic Forum, South China Morning Post and Xinhua, among other global media outlets. Imperial academics, led by the President, now play a prominent role in the World Economic Forum.
- Dealing with Brexit to make Imperial’s European future clear, support European staff and students, encourage new European collaborations, and influence leaders in Westminster and Brussels.
- Strengthening societal engagement, in White City, Exhibition Road and throughout London as Imperial brings the benefits of research and discovery to all corners of society through outreach, public engagement and work with patients. The Invention Rooms, Reach Out Makerspace and School of Public Health in White City, and the Great Exhibition Road Festival in South Kensington, show how Imperial is a pioneer in university-community relations.
- Closer working relationships with government and stakeholders as Imperial influences the policymaking process on research and innovation, industrial strategy, visas and talent mobility, and higher education funding. The President has provided evidence to Parliament, convened industry stakeholders, serves on the board of UKRI, and is a member of the Mayor of London’s Brexit Advisory Group.
- Encouraging excellence through the President’s Awards for Excellence, Garden Parties, Honours Dinners, Excellence Fund for Frontier Research, Excellence Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation, and other initiatives.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship as a core part of Imperial’s student and staff experience. Alongside the Deans, Vice-Provosts and many other staff, the President promotes competitions like WE Innovate and the Venture Catalyst Challenge, which are enabling hundreds of Imperial students, including rapidly growing numbers of women, to try out their business ideas. Imperial’s incubation facilities support academic and student startups that have attracted hundreds of millions of pounds of investment. There are now 136 active startups founded by Imperial people - a record high, supporting 1,300 jobs.
- Promoting collaboration and partnerships that support research and education, such as those with Dyson, Google DeepMind, Agilent, Blenheim Chalcott, Solvay, Aramco, Goldman Sachs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
- Overseeing the new White City Campus, which is bringing together academia, industry and enterprise on an unprecedented scale. Innovative and entrepreneurial spaces such as the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace, the Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB) and Imperial White City Incubator are enriching our world-class innovation ecosystem.
- Developing and implementing the College Strategy with the Deans and academic leaders, centred on excellent foundations, people, partners and enablers.
- Supporting Advancement and securing transformative philanthropic support, including the launch of Imperial’s campaign for a new School of Public Health in White City.
- Enhancing alumni relations with Imperial’s 200,000-strong global community.