We will encourage multidisciplinary research

Only by bringing together expertise from different disciplines can we solve today’s global challenges.

The global challenges of today and the future are complex. We can only hope to address them through collaboration between disciplines and with partners. While we cannot anticipate all the challenges ahead, the College is well placed to contribute across four key areas: discovery and the natural world; engineering novel solutions; health and well-being; and leading the data revolution. Lift this page to find out more about how we will meet each of these challenges

In action

Actions in detail

  • We will review and refocus our research programmes on a regular basis as global challenges emerge and evolve. We will promote a dynamic exchange of ideas and staff between our core disciplines and these multidisciplinary themes.
  • We will develop multidisciplinary hubs at our White City Campus focused on global challenges starting with the Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub. These hubs will be configured to encourage close team working and serendipitous encounters. The buildings will be designed to be adaptable so that new global challenges can be accommodated.

Case study

The Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub

The Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub In 2014, Imperial announced a gift of £40 million from Michael Uren OBE and his foundation. With this unprecedented sum, the College is constructing the Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub at its White City Campus. This will house lifechanging research into new and affordable medical technology, helping people affected by a diverse range of medical conditions.

When complete, the Hub will serve as a showcase for a vibrant, multidisciplinary approach to research and enterprise, both within the College and across the sector. Its design will allow Imperial’s world-class engineers, scientists and clinicians to work together in the new space and facilities alongside innovative spin-out companies. The Hub will also incorporate clinical areas, providing patients with direct access to innovations in healthcare. It will open up new opportunities for the College’s Institute for Biomedical Engineering, established in 2004, which is already renowned for its pioneering advances in medical technology achieved by drawing together expertise from across disciplinary boundaries.

Engineering expertise is increasingly important for addressing global health and well-being challenges, with the development of new devices and techniques helping to restore the quality of life of patients at a sustainable cost. Mr Uren said: “Today we have the opportunity to transcend the traditional boundaries between engineering and medicine, in a way that simply wasn’t possible when I joined Imperial in 1940. The discoveries made here will generate vast social, medical and economic benefits. I am thrilled that Imperial is leading the way.”

Polarising microscopy image

Polarising microscopy image of liquid crystal nematic phases by a Department of Chemistry undergraduate student


A Department of Chemical Engineering study of a water (red-white) nanocluster absorbed on a graphite pore

A stem cell

A stem cell emerging from rat bone marrow, part of the National Heart & Lung Institute’s work on a treatment to help repair heart attack damage or broken bones

Bioactive glass

Foamed gel-derived bioactive glass (the first 3D porous scaffold made from bioactive glass) from the Department of Materials