Professor James Stirling, Dr Jess Wade, Dr Cleo Kontoravdi and Professor Julia Higgins
Imperial's first Provost, Professor James Stirling, and Professor Julia Higgins with Dr Jessica Wade and Dr Cleo Kontoravdi - winners of the 2017 Julia Higgins Award, which recognises their contribution to the support of academic women at the College.

A strong senior leadership team

The Provost has recruited and led a high performing senior academic leadership team. This has ensured the sustained excellence of Imperial in its core academic mission of research, education and innovation.

Innovative teaching for world class learning

The Provost led the development and approval of Imperial’s Learning and Teaching Strategy, with £8 millon of funding to enable improvement of Imperial’s education curriculum, student experience, and online education provision. This contributed to the award last year of an institutional Gold in the first Teaching Excellence Framework.


The Provost has renewed focus on multi-disciplinary research, with a review of Imperial’s cross-faculty Institutes, Networks and Centres, and a new process for coordinating large cross-College research bids.

Supportive student services

The Provost has overhauled student support services, including the appointment of the College’s first Director of Student Services, who has overall responsibility for the provision of Student Services.

Improved financial planning

The Provost has provided strong academic oversight and leadership in close partnership with the Chief Financial Officer for the annual financial planning round. Meetings with each Dean, Vice-Provost and support service budget-holder align the budget with the core academic mission of College, and the strategic vision of the President.

Promoting gender equality

The Provost has been a tireless champion of gender equality at Imperial, and in STEM more generally, since arriving at the College. This credible, senior academic leadership for gender equality at Imperial has been pivotal, along with a revised governance structure led by the Provost.

All departments are now required to be recognised, or applying to be recognised, by the Athena SWAN charter, with 18 of our 21 departments now achieving at least Bronze accreditation. The Provost led the successful renewal of our institutional Silver award in 2017.

New approach to animal research

The Provost led the transformation of animal research at Imperial, creating the College’s 2014 Action Plan for Animal Research. The change in culture, renewed spirit of collaboration between academic and technical staff, revised governance structure, cultivation of productive working relationships with the Home Office (our regulator), and investment in facilities have made the College a nationally recognised exemplar in quality animal research.

Valuing all staff

The Provost championed the development and wellbeing of a number of cohorts of Imperial’s staff community, including post-doctoral researchers and technicians.

Making mental health and wellbeing a priority

Following the 2014 Staff Survey, the Provost led a series of initiatives creating a step-change in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing of our staff. The College now has a network of over 300 trained Mental Health First Aiders in addition to 45 Staff Supporters, to highlight and signpost the support offered by the College for those suffering mental ill-health.

The College also runs a series of events during National Mental Health Awareness Week.

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