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Diversity is the key to our future success, says Rector of leading British university

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External Sites:
-Commission for Racial Equality
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For immediate release
Tuesday 12 July 2005

A new initiative to promote equality and diversity is launched today by Imperial College London.

Speaking at the launch event, Sir Richard Sykes, Rector, Imperial College London, said:

"Imperial as One is all about talent. It's about making sure that diversity is promoted, strengthened and celebrated throughout the College."

Imperial as One launch

The Imperial as One group is made up of representatives drawn from a wide cross section of the College's black and minority ethnic (BME) staff including those working in academic, research, administrative, operational and technical areas.

The aim of the group is to assist the College in setting priorities and raising the profile of equality issues. For example, it will inform and influence senior level committees such as the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Committees and other Management Committees. In addition, it will also ensure the experiences and views of staff at all levels are represented.

Christine Yates, diversity and equal opportunities consultant, adds:

"This is a concrete example of embedding good practice around race relations - identifying what Imperial is doing right and what it could do better. It is also a way to make more visible and celebrate the fact that Imperial is a multi-cultural organisation, and do something tangible to prevent the under representation of BME staff at all management levels.

"There has been a lot of enthusiasm in response to the group, and its meetings have been characterised by an energy and creativity you don't often see in standard committee meetings," said Yates.

By exploring the working practices of the College, the group aims to identify ways to challenge the discrimination and stereotyping that disadvantages BME staff. It will review procedures including staff development and recruitment and selection, and explore schemes such as mentoring to enable everyone at Imperial to fully reach their potential.

Clive Mendes, senior library officer and a member of the group, explains: "We are aiming to take a fresh look at how Imperial deals with race equality issues, thinking about how we can raise awareness through a variety of initiatives that will help managers develop a greater understanding of these issues."

Gwen Nneji, a research associate in the Division of Biomedical Sciences who is also a member of the group, agrees. "Our first priority is to talk to staff about their experiences, aspirations and frustrations," she says. "We are here to advise the College but we can also offer an informal mediation role for people who may have a problem but don't know how to deal with it."

Sykes concludes: "Imperial as One is much deeper than simply complying with legal requirements. It goes beyond the Race Relations Amendment Act and even our own Race Equality and Codes of Practice.

"It's essential that we unlock the opportunities that diversity brings, and create a cohesive and supportive environment for students and staff."

The official launch of the group takes place today at Imperial's South Kensington campus. Photos of the event are available.

Imperial staff and students interested in getting involve with Imperial as One should contact Gwen Nneji on 020 7594 3136 or

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Press Officer
Communications Department, Imperial College London
Tel: 020 7594 6701

Notes to Editors

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.