Dear Colleagues,

One of the things I admire about Imperial College is the extent of our collaboration with other universities and corporations and the way our research benefits society.  We value the opportunity to bring our discoveries, knowledge and insights to bear on real world problems and many of us see external activities as an important complement to our primary focus on teaching and research and a way of making us better academics. Last year 287 academic staff led consultancy projects through our in-house organisation, Imperial Consultants, delivering 550 projects for 405 clients across a range of industry sectors in the UK and abroad, with many others providing their services through different routes. This work was supported by the College’s guidelines which allow academics to devote up to 20 per cent of their time to external work, subject to approval.

Throughout my career as an academic and a university leader, I have served on government committees, panels, national academies studies and university and corporate boards, and I have pursued many corporate collaborations. My Presidential Young Investigator Award at Stanford provided matching funds for industrial support and helped open doors to many corporations.  I had research support from GE, Xerox, DuPont, P&G, IBM, Genencor, Gallo, and others, and, I have worked as a consultant for a variety of companies. The benefits from these corporate collaborations and consultancies extend beyond the financial support and made me a better researcher and educator.

As we publish our Annual Report and Financial Statements, I want to communicate directly regarding my current outside activities. I have always been open and transparent about my remuneration and my outside activities.  Now that this disclosure is formally required in Annual Reports across the sector, I am pleased that we have included more than required in our Report.

With Council’s approval, I currently serve on the Boards of UKRI, Chevron, KAUST and the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Council; the first two are compensated. In my view, these roles strengthen our relationships and broaden my perspective on international collaboration and best practice in corporate governance. In total, I spend approximately 30 days of my time on external work per year. 

I am proud of the way our external activities enhance Imperial’s international reputation, extend our areas of influence and build stronger corporate and university relationships across College.  As always, I would be happy to hear your thoughts about our external relationships and to talk to you about these and other corporate relationships and Imperial’s trajectory.

Best wishes,


Professor Alice P. Gast, President