Dear colleagues,

I hope you had an enjoyable and rejuvenating summer and are looking forward to the new academic year.

I wanted to let you know that Imperial’s first Provost, Professor James Stirling, plans to retire after his five-year term, in July 2018. James has served Imperial exceedingly well and wishes to retire in his 65th year.

James guides Imperial’s academic leadership with energy and wisdom, making profound contributions to our mission and our strategy, and being a source of inspiration for us all. I will miss his wise counsel and insightful perspective on all matters facing the university.

James will, of course, continue as our Provost for the coming year and we will properly celebrate his extraordinary achievements closer to next July.

He is an exceptional leader, valued advisor and trusted colleague.  We seek no less in his replacement and I will be chairing and working closely with the Search Committee listed below on the search and selection process to find an outstanding individual to join us.  We will be consulting with other stakeholders across College, Council, Court, and external organisations.

I will shortly name the search firm and interview panel. In the meantime, the Committee and I welcome any ideas you have about potential candidates for such an important position in our world-leading institution.

With best wishes,


Professor Alice P. Gast


 Imperial Provost Search Committee:

  • Prof Paul Matthews - Edmond and Lily Safra Chair and Head of Brain Sciences, Department of Medicine
  • Prof Michele Dougherty – Professor of Space Physics and incoming Head of the Department of Physics (from 1 January 2018)
  • Prof Molly Stevens – Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences, Department of Materials and Institute for Biomedical Engineering
  • Prof Jeff Magee – Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (until 30 September 2017) and President’s Envoy (from November 2017)  
  • Prof Franklin Allen - Executive Director of the Brevan Howard Centre For Financial Analysis, Imperial College Business School
  • Mr Paul Brown – Mechanical Instrumentation Workshop Manager, Department of Physics 
  • Ms Alex Compton – President, Imperial College Union