Chemistry has been part of the Imperial story from the very beginning. Learn more about the Department's past and present below.

Chemistry past and present

Chemistry's roots at Imperial

The Royal College of Chemistry building 1845The Department traces its roots back to 1854 and the creation of the Royal College of Chemistry, which after moving to South Kensington in 1872, went on to become one of the founding pillars of the newly established Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1907.

Chemistry's position today

Since its establishment at Imperial, the Department of Chemistry has remained a vital part of the College community and is today one of the largest chemistry departments in the UK and is recognised as world-class for research and teaching.

Collaborations across College, the UK and the world

The Department of Chemistry is at the forefront of modern chemistry research, both in the core discipline and at the interfaces of chemistry with other subjects. The Department collaborates widely across the College, the UK and the world. It is committed to both fundamental science and applications-orientated research, seeing these as a common endeavour. The Department's many collaborations with industry are a source of pride.

chemists in lab

An international centre of excellence

The Department is an international centre of excellence for chemistry, ranked eleventh globally in the 2014 QS World University subject rankings, and third in the UK. Five Nobel laureates have served on the Department’s staff. Its thriving research portfolio totalled £14.8 million in 2013–14. Research Councils accounted for 55% of the Department’s research funding, which is testament to its continued success in leveraging funds from Research Councils UK, and in particular, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

An Athena SWAN Gold Department

In October 2013 the Department achieved an Athena SWAN Gold Award for commitment to advancing women’s careers in science; it is one of only four departments across the UK and the first department at Imperial to achieve gold status.