The Departmental survey of staff identified that staff would appreciate a mentoring type system where they  can receive advice from experts in a range of areas. In response to this we have decided to create a pool of people, "champions" who will be available for coaching sessions i.e. spend an hour with someone less experienced (maybe only once or twice at most) to chat through some of the issues. This is a pilot study which we will aim to run for a year and then assess. 

I am delighted to support the Departmental Champions scheme.  Over my career at Imperial, since 1984, I would have appreciated, on several occasions, access to this sort of friendly advice and I hope staff will make the most of the opportunities kindly provided by the Champions.
Jo Haigh, Head of Department (2009-2014)

If you are interested in receiving advice please fill in the online form.

Showcase area

Teaching Undergraduates - Michael Coppins

Michael Coppins Over the years Michael has given many different undergraduate lecture courses (core and optional) in the Department. He also has a lot of experience of tutorials, running classworks, supervising projects, etc. He is always happy to talk to anyone about any aspect of undergraduate teaching 

Supervising PhD students: Ed Hinds

Ed Hinds Since he joined Imperial in October 2002 Ed has supervised 12 PhD students, all of whom have graduated. Currently, he has a further 10 students under his supervision, some of whom are very close to completing their studies. Ed will be happy to talk to any colleagues who may need advice on this rewarding job. 

How College works: Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips Chris has been on the Departmental staff since ’85 and in 2009 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Natural sciences, a loosely defined role, sometimes called “the conscience of the College”. Most of a Dean’s job is sitting on appointments, promotions and review panels, and this is a very effective way of finding out what’s happening at the research frontiers and where the College thinks it would like to go. He has regular meetings at all levels, from the Rector down to student reps and he is happy to talk informally about any aspect of “how College works”.

Going part time: Juliet Pickering

Juliet Pickering Juliet took up a lectureship post on completion of her Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2004, she is currently a Reader. She has opted to work flexibly, being paid part time hours, in order to have a manageable work/family life balance.  Juliet is happy to speak to anyone informally about her experiences.

Experiencing the promotion process: Martin McCall

Martin McCall Martin is well qualified to act as the Promotions 'Champion' in that he has experienced all the academic promotions from Senior Lecturer to Professor. He is happy to speak to anyone informally at any stage of their promotion application.

European funding: Caroline Jackson

TBC, Contact Caroline Jackson in the first instance.

Research Council funding: Michele Dougherty

Michele DoughertyMichele has experience of applying for and being awarded funding from STFC (formerly PPARC), ESA, British Council, and NASA funding for US team members. In the last 10 years she has been PI on awarded proposals worth 15 Million pounds and 6 Million dollars.

Dealing with industry: Ralf Toumi

Ralf was awarded a Royal Society Industry Fellowship with BP (2006-2010). This was a secondment where he spent 50% of his time at BP offices. He also held a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship (2010-2012). The aim of the fellowship is to advance the knowledge exchange between industry and the NERC research at Imperial.  He currently chairs the Adaptation Service platform for the Climate KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) and is leading major project with the insurance sector.

Research Funding Administration (including Infoed): Louise Hayward

As Research Operations Manager Louise has responsibility for advising on and ensuring that research funding applications are prepared in accordance with sponsors’ terms and conditions and with College and Departmental procedures and policies and also that once awarded grants are managed in the same way. In both these roles she works closely with the Department’s management team, the Department’s research groups and the Faculty research services team.

Dealing with the “Blue Box”: Kenny Weir and Luke White

Kenny Weir Kenny joined the staff of the Department in 1994 and has been the Associate Head of Department since 2005. He has contributed to many of the Department’s activities, in particular to postgraduate education in optics and the management of the Department. He has regular interactions with Faculty and College management and is happy to talk to anyone about dealing with the ‘blue box’.


Luke White Luke is the Operations Manager and as such deal with most aspects of administration. He works closely with other departmental administrative staff in providing a support service to academics. This support focuses on those processes and procedures linked with HR and Research Services.