Maintain world class core academic disciplines
The strength of our disciplines relies on the individuals within them. In the last year we saw six academic staff and eleven alumni receiving national honours including:
- Professor Gerry Thomas, who specialises in molecular pathology and has advised on the risks of radiation from both Chernobyl and Fukushima, received an OBE for her services to science and public health;
- Alumnus Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones was awarded an OBE for services to addiction and research. She is the founder and director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, the first and only NHS multidisciplinary treatment centre for problem gamblers;
- Professor Erkko Autio from the Business School was elected a Fellow of the British Academy for his research in the areas of entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems, international entrepreneurship and high-tech startups;
- Professor Geoff Maitland CBE was honoured for services to chemical engineering following a distinguished career where he drove connections between industry and academia;
- Physicist Dr Jess Wade was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to gender diversity in science. Dr Wade, who studies polymer-based Light Emitting Diodes, has led a series of public engagement initiatives to promote women in STEM.
Encourage multidisciplinary research
We continue to invest in multidisciplinary research. In 2019 we officially opened our state-of-the-art Molecular Sciences Research Hub at White City, housing more than 800 scientists, clinicians, engineers and business partners under one roof.
In 2020, we will open the Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub, also at White City, where our medics, scientists and engineers will pioneer new innovations in medicine. Our faculties continue to deliver ground-breaking research.
- Professor Tom Pike’s team from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering designed and fabricated the silicon sensors for the NASA probe, Mars InSight, which has been detecting tremors below the surface of Mars since November 2018.
- Professor Andrea Crisanti from the Department of Life Sciences and the College Malaria Network led a team to specifically target malaria-carrying mosquitoes using ‘gene drive’ technology to reduce the population of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and stop transmission of the disease. This work is a good example of the multidisciplinary research in our ‘Networks of Excellence’.
- Dr Aldo Faisal from the Departments of Computing and Bioengineering, and Professor Anthony Gordon from the Department of Surgery and Cancer, created an artificial intelligence (AI) system to help treat patients with sepsis – a complication of an infection that kills around 44,000 people in the UK every year. The AI system ‘learnt’ the best treatment strategy for a patient and 98% of the time the AI system matched or bettered the human doctors’ decision.
Embed our educational experience in a vibrant, research-led, entrepreneurial environment
Following the launch of our Learning and Teaching Strategy, we are embarking on an institution-wide transformation of the way we teach our students. We aim to use interactive teaching to encourage students to go beyond the retention of information through the investigation and development of concepts. All of our undergraduate programmes have now been reviewed. Examples include:
- The School of Medicine students are testing Augmented Reality (AR) headsets. The pioneering trial involving clinical medical students, the College's Digital Learning Hub, and Leiden University Medical Center, is exploring whether AR technology could be introduced into medical student examinations;
- The Department of Chemical Engineering is using Virtual Reality (VR) technology for teaching fluid dynamics. The VR programme enables students to experience fluid dynamics with real-time feedback through touch and sound;
- In a School of Public Health initiative, BSc Global Health students worked with members of White City community groups to understand local health inequalities and develop strategies to reduce the disparities in people’s health and wellbeing.
Student feedback for these developments has been positive, and we are expanding the offer.