Research Excellence Framework (REF) results

The results of the Research Excellence Framework rank Imperial as having a greater proportion of world leading research than any other UK university, and among the Russell Group universities we rank first for research impact. The Faculty of Engineering was rated top in the UK for both the ‘Computer Science and Informatics’ and ‘Engineering’ units of assessment – together encompassing all ten Departments in the Faculty.

The Department of Chemical Engineering's Impact Case Study on Process Systems Engineering was one of the eight highlighted by the submission panel as particularly impressive. The research carried out in the Sargent Centre for Process Systems Engineering has led to technology that accelerated digital transformation in the process industries via the spin-out Process Systems Enterprise (PSE), which was acquired by Siemens AG in 2019.

Our researchers are at the forefront of the golden age of chemical engineering, developing innovations which are solving many of the world’s greatest challenges. These include reducing carbon emissions, developing clean energy technologies and infrastructure, and producing innovations in healthcare. 

Our research interests range from the molecular to the mega-scale, and from application-driven to blue-sky research. We work with some of the top names in industry to create solutions with an immediate, real-world impact. 

Our research is translational and linked to innovation; we support commercialisation of research by facilitating the development of spin-out companies and investing in intellectual property licensing. We regularly engage in two-way conversations with the public to ensure our work remains informative, inspirational and relevant.

Alongside this we have expertise in mathematical analysis, modelling, and computation, as well as in small- and large-scale experimental techniques; we deploy, and indeed very often develop, the most up-to-date methods. Historically we are the home of process systems engineering, where Professor Roger Sargent, pioneer in this field, enjoyed a long and successful career and influenced the careers of many engineers.

The wide range of skills and expertise of our multi-disciplinary staff enables us to achieve fundamental understanding of complex problems and phenomena that lie at the heart of multi-sector industrial applications. These are just some of the reasons we are consistently rated as one of the leading departments in the UK and the world for research in chemical engineering.

There are hundreds of individual research projects in progress at any time, many of which are collaborations with industry, other academic institutions, and/or other departments within Imperial. Find out more by following the links on the left-hand side of the page. 

“Every day we are working to solve global challenges and support a better, more sustainable future for the citizens of the world. We realise these ambitions through experimental and computational research, industry engagement and commercial spin-outs.” Professor Camille Petit, Director of Research