In 2018–19, 5,924 people gave a record-breaking £65.5 million to the College. This is an incredible achievement, realised through collaborative efforts between Imperial alumni, friends, students and staff. Here are just a few of the stories from an inspiring year.

A community making a difference

Scholarship support

The Lara & Biodun Olanrewaju Scholarship is a new scholarship programme established thanks to a £60,000 donation from Tunde Olanrewaju (Electrical and Electronic Engineering 2002), Jide Olanrewaju (Mechanical Engineering 2002) and Yemi Olanrewaju (Mechnical Engineering 2005).

The programme will support black undergraduate students of exceptional academic merit in the Department of Mechanical Engineering or Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The first recipient of the scholarship, Samuel Albert-Antwi, said: “Education to me is a master key that unlocks many doors in society that I would not have been privy to otherwise. This scholarship has alleviated financial pressures and allowed me to enter university with a new confidence and a clear strategy.” Read the news story

Pushing the boat out

Forty years after their victory at Henley Royal Regatta, Imperial’s 1978 rowing crew came together to make a £15,000 gift to the Imperial College Boat Club.

The idea to make a gift came about when the winning crew reunited for a special ‘row-over’ at the 2018 Regatta. Together they donated £15,000 to enable the Boat Club to purchase two new boats, which will be named after coaches Neil James and Pete Summers, in recognition of their contributions to both the 1978 crew’s successes, and to the Boat Club in general. Alumnus and crew member Sean Hackett (Physics 1978, MSc 1980) said: “The value of my time in the Blackett Laboratory and at the Imperial College Boat Club became increasingly apparent during the years after graduation, which evokes a feeling of pride when looking back to all those years ago. We were motivated to donate in order to recognise the contribution made by our coaches, as well as to acknowledge the benefits of the excellent boat club facilities at Imperial.”

Tackling premature birth

In 2018–19, more than 160 people raised nearly £359,000 for research into preterm birth, which is the leading cause of death among children under five. Money raised will help establish an academic chair to lead Imperial’s renowned preterm birth research group, which is responsible for a number of breakthroughs that are helping doctors to better understand and reduce the risks associated with preterm labour.

A special fundraising effort was made by 16-year-old Max Teoh, who chose to support the work of his father, Professor TG Teoh, by taking part in a sponsored 10 kilometre run and raising over £4,000.

Revolutionising myeloma research

A £10 million gift from Hugh and Josseline Langmuir will drive breakthrough treatments for myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.

Hundreds of thousands of people globally are living with myeloma, a little-understood blood cancer that develops in plasma cells, affecting the bones, kidneys and immune system. While there are treatments for myeloma, there is currently no cure for the disease. The new Hugh & Josseline Langmuir Centre for Myeloma Research at Imperial’s Hammersmith Campus will support pioneering research into the causes, mechanisms and treatment of myeloma and will accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical solutions. Through its proximity to Imperial’s White City Campus, which co-locates academics, global companies and emerging businesses, the centre will drive collaborations with researchers in fields such as genomics, bioinformatics and drug discovery, as well as with multidisciplinary groups, start-up companies and corporate partners.

Professor Jonathan Weber, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said: “Myeloma research is an area that holds incredible potential, and yet is not currently well funded. The Langmuirs’ generosity will have an immediate and lasting impact – accelerating the translation of pioneering science into revolutionary treatments and therapies for myeloma patients.” Read the news story

Far-reaching impact

A £5 million donation from the Dangoor family’s Exilarch’s Foundation will fund a number of priority projects in cancer research, community outreach and campus development.

The generous gift will fund the development of an interdisciplinary cancer research centre at the South Kensington Campus, which will drive advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. It will also transform the outdoor space at the South Kensington Campus through the development of a new plaza surrounding the iconic Queen’s Tower, opening up the existing space to create a welcoming quadrangle which will enhance the Queen’s Lawn. Over at the College’s new White City Campus, the Foundation’s gift will also provide critical support for new educational initiatives at The Invention Rooms, Imperial’s pioneering community and innovation space. Read the news story

Support for frontier research and scholarships in chemical engineering

A gift from Mark Richardson (Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology 1976, MSc Management Science 1977) is advancing priority research an supporting students in need.

From improving the efficiency of hydrogen production and CO2 capture, to developing innovative methods for removing pollutants from waste water, each of the seven research projects being funded aims to reduce the environmental footprint of industrial processes.

The gift, which is the largest single donation ever made to the Department of Chemical Engineering, is being used to provide additional research capacity through support of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and the acquisition of specialist research equipment. A portion of Mr Richardson’s gift is also being used to provide scholarships for chemical engineering undergraduates, as part of a wider initiative by the department to encourage applications by students from under-represented groups. Read the news story

Entrepreneurial journey

Students at Imperial College Business School were given another opportunity to flex their entrepreneurial muscles thanks to a new competition supported by Renal Services (UK) Limited and alumnus Stefano Ciampolini (MBA DIC 1994).

The new Grand Challenge prize offers students taking the Entrepreneurial Journey module the chance to pitch their ideas for new products or services to a panel of investors, with the winning team taking away £3,000 to develop their business. The first winners, team Reef, developed a low-cost public transport app that leverages the smartphones of bus drivers and passengers to ensure both bus companies and passengers know where their bus is and when it will arrive.