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Today the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), a department within the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial, is led by Professor Edwin Chilvers FmedSci and is based at sites on the Hammersmith, South Kensington, Royal Brompton, Harefield and St Mary’s campuses. The NHLI maintains close links with its surrounding hospitals including the Royal Brompton and Harefield, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals, with the Brompton previously hosting two Biomedical Research Units (cardiovascular and respiratory) awarded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). This work is now an integral part of the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre which is the largest NIHR-BRC in the UK. Imperial, together with the Royal Marsden Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and the Royal Brompton and Harefield, make up the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, a university-NHS partnership, which aims to enhance the translation of research discoveries into improvements in human health. The two major divisions within the Institute are Cardiovascular, led by Professor Jane Mitchell and Professor Justin Mason and Respiratory, led by Professor Jadwiga Wedzicha and Professor Clare Lloyd.

According to the latest Rand analysis (2004 to 2013) Imperial is the top university in the UK in three specialities: respiratory, cardiovascular and gastroenterological, in that order. If we look specifically at the most highly cited papers, Imperial is ranked first in three areas, which include respiratory disease (13.6% of the total) and cardiovascular disease (8.8%) and these figures significantly increase when the Royal Brompton and Imperial College Health Trusts, where a significant number of NHLI associates are based, are included.

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Results of REF 2014

In the latest Research Excellence Framework, conducted in 2014, NHLI staff mainly fell under the grouping Clinical Medicine (or 'Unit of Assessment (UoA) 1') for study.  According to the Times Higher Educational Supplement (see ‘REF 2014: Results by subject’ analysis on the THES website), Clinical Medicine at Imperial College was ranked:

  • 2nd of all UK institutions by ‘research power’ (a combined measure of volume and quality within a UoA submission)
  • 3rd when looking at the percentage of 4* quality research activity
  • 4th by Grade Point Average (GPA).

Within NHLI there was an extremely high return rate (98%) for academic staff and a significant number of early career researchers were also included. As part of the REF process, the Institute also demonstrated its strong capabilities in delivering impact from its research:  as part of the College’s REF 2014 submission 11 impact case studies were generated from work undertaken by NHLI. Clinical Medicine at Imperial was ranked 3rd in the UK for impact of its research when ranked both by percentage of 4* quality activity in Impact or by Impact GPA (source: THES).

Star levelDefinition
Cat A Category A staff: Academic staff in post on 31 October 2013 who were selected for submission into the REF
FTE Full Time Equivalent
4* Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour
3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence 
2* Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
1* Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
Unclassified Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of assessment
Summary of the table's contents

For more information on Imperial College London’s performance in the Research Excellence Framework please see the College’s information pages on REF 2014


NHLI is structured into a two divisions which encompass our breadth of research and education across cardiac, respiratory and vascular science. You can view a diagram of our research sections below, or download the NHLI research structure (PDF)‌.

Further details of our research can be found on our webpages.

Diagram of NHLI's research structure - coming soon

Diagram of NHLI's divisional structure