Empowering Society

We will empower society through meaningful engagement and dialogue

A key part of our mission is to make our work accessible, relevant and responsive to the needs and insights of society.

We want to use our education and research in science, engineering, medicine and business to be a force for good in society – globally and locally – seeking not only to inspire, but also to collaborate and find solutions together. Our strategy for engaging with society means working in partnership at different levels – with schools, community groups and residents, patients and the public more widely. It means widening participation in our student and staff body, engaging the public in our research and being an anchor institution in our local communities. Above all, it means trying to listen as much as we try to inform.

In action

Actions in detail

  • We will support schools in their mission of raising pupils’ ambitions and attainment in STEM.
  • We will provide diverse staff role models for our students and increase diversity in our student body.
  • We will nurture a strong sense of social responsibility within our students.
  • We will be a trusted source of STEM expertise – locally, nationally and globally.
  • We will create innovative opportunities for more people to develop STEM skills and ideas.
  • We will embed public engagement in research projects and research culture at Imperial.
  • We will develop accessible and inspiring programmes and platforms that empower people in topical science issues.
  • We will develop the resources, infrastructure and governance to enable our staff and students to deliver effective public engagement.
  • We will foster an ethos of working in partnership with community, public groups and businesses to tackle shared societal challenges.

Case study

The Invention Rooms

Maker Challenge

The Invention Rooms is a unique community space at the heart of our White City Campus. Inside, you can find accessible workshops, design studios, a community café and interactive spaces for innovation and collaboration between the College, the local community and our partners.

Located in a diverse part of west London, The Invention Rooms offers an inclusive environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can learn new skills in science and technology and get directly involved in research and innovation to address both local and global challenges.

Programmes at The Invention Rooms include a digital literacy programme called What the Tech?! for elderly residents living nearby, and the innovative Maker Challenge programme where local young people aged 14–18 can turn their creative ideas into reality, from trainers that play music to a bedside lamp that turns itself off automatically when you fall asleep.

The space has also hosted workshops and activities designed to bring researchers and residents together to tackle societal challenges. These have included a ‘hackathon’ to develop solutions for elderly patients with partial hearing loss, and LOL-Lab where local people and researchers together try their hand at stand-up comedy under the guidance of a professional comedian.

The Invention Rooms is a new model for community innovation which has relevance across the UK. It has engaged more than 20,000 local people since it opened in 2017 and has been shortlisted for national awards including the Guardian University Awards 2019.

60,000 visitors at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in 2019

60,000 visitors at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in 2019

Roger Kneebone

Professor Roger Kneebone leading a public simulation activity with a pop-up operating theatre

Agents of Change

The first graduation of Agents of Change, a leadership programme driving social change in the north of Hammersmith and Fulham

Makerspace

Year 12 students prototyping their ideas in the Reach Out Makerspace at The Invention Rooms in White City