President Alice P. Gast walking with The Duke of Cambridge on campus.
President Alice P. Gast with The Duke of Cambridge in October 2017. The Duke visited Imperial's Data Science Institute to see a visualisation of the impact of Heads Together, a mental health awareness campaign spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.

Strategy 2015–20

The President and Provost worked closely with the Deans and academic leaders to develop the Strategy. It refocused Imperial’s priorities around excellent foundations, people, partners and enablers. It positions Imperial as a world leading source of discoveries, an educational leader and a trusted partner.

Imperial is delivering on this strategic vision, performing ground-breaking multidisciplinary research, building a supportive and inclusive community, strengthening ties with policymakers, industry, philanthropists and alumni, and diversifying revenues while bringing the new White City Campus to life.

Professional approach to Advancement

Major gifts and legacy pledges have grown significantly as a result of the President’s Advancement strategy. Creating new opportunities and developing major philanthropic prospects are a significant focus of the President’s work including her travel.

Transformative philanthropy

The President led the development of Imperial’s £100 million campaign for a new School of Public Health in White City to pioneer new approaches to society’s most pressing healthcare challenges.

Working with academic leaders and the Dean of Medicine, she shaped the campaign and conceived of its four pillars of World Health, Food and Nutrition, Community Health and Policy, and Children’s Health and Wellbeing.

Improved governance

Effective governance has been one of the President’s priorities. Working with the Chair of Council, each meeting has included discussions of important strategic topics and an annual away day has been institutionalised.

Court has been reconstituted as an effective group of interested and invested advocates for Imperial. President’s Board and Heads of Department lunches have provided opportunities for fulsome discussions on strategic matters.

Enhanced alumni relations

The President and the alumni relations team have revived and created new ties with Imperial’s 200,000 alumni, through hundreds of events including Presidential visits, Dean’s presentations and volunteer alumni leadership. This has raised the profile of Imperial in key markets around the world.

Broader collaboration

Collaboration has been championed and supported by the President. This support has expanded new opportunities in research and education in partnership with corporations like Dyson, Google DeepMind, Agilent, Blenheim Chalcot, Solvay, Aramco, Argos and Goldman Sachs.

Stronger societal engagement

Societal engagement was one of the President’s primary areas of focus. In her 2017 Autumn Message, she pledged that Imperial would work harder to inspire “hope, confidence and opportunity” in our community, bringing the benefits of research and discovery to all corners of society through outreach, public engagement and work with patients.

Increased entrepreneurship and innovation

The President and Provost put entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of Imperial’s student and staff experience, as well as the institution’s brand. This has been made possible by an excellent team and strong support from the Deans and Vice-Provosts.

The Enterprise Lab supports thousands of students with mentorship needed to turn innovative ideas into viable companies. Imperial has expanded its business incubation facilities, helping academic and student startups to attract hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.

Strengthened international presence

The President has made internationalism a defining characteristic of Imperial, which has been named as the UK’s most international university for three years in a row.

This strategy has been supported by her backing for international collaborations and her engagement with UK and foreign governments, which has positioned Imperial as a partner of choice for international VIP visits.

Close working relations with government

At a time when universities face exceptional political challenges, Imperial has grown its influence with policymakers. In 2017, the President and Provost provided written and oral evidence to parliamentary committees, they met more than a dozen UK ministers, and Imperial was mentioned nearly 50 times in Parliament.

The President and Provost have made the case for additional support for excellent research, an industrial strategy that supports world class research and innovation, visa policies for talent mobility, and a funding environment that safeguards first-rate education.

More input into policy

The President has also influenced policy by serving on the board of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Mayor of London’s Brexit Advisory Group and the League of European Research Universities. She is also helping to select the next European Research Council (ERC) President.

In the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, the President, Provost and senior leaders have supported College staff while engaging European leaders, including the ERC President, the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, and making the case in Westminster, Brussels and throughout Europe for UK access to European research programmes and for talent mobility.

Greater visibility for the College

The President has raised Imperial’s global profile in the face of political challenges through a series of international media interventions.

This thought leadership has included interviews, comment pieces and letters in some of the most influential media, such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Economist, Financial Times, Le Monde, World Economic Forum, South China Morning Post and Xinhua.

Encouraging excellence

The President’s Awards for Excellence, Garden Parties and Honours Dinners have championed staff and student innovators, pioneers and those who do outstanding work for the College and its community.

The President invested in Excellence Fund for Frontier Research and the Excellence Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation which are seeding ground-breaking new research and pedagogical advances.

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