Resilient society case studies

Finance innovation

Imperial researchers are helping banks and other financial services companies innovate in areas like cybersecurity, data analytics, fintech and climate finance. Bank of America is the latest financial institution to benefit from specialist expertise available through Imperial’s corporate membership programme, alongside Barclays, HSBCMastercard and UBS. HSBC recently published Lending to Low-Carbon Technologies, a report on how finance can help meet the UK government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by Dr Charles Donovan and colleagues from the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment. The College is also offering relevant technologies for licensing such as a tool by Dr Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye for assessing the likelihood that an individual can be identified from an anonymous dataset.

Resilient infrastructure

Imperial researchers have developed technologies, available for licensing, to address risks to buildings. A technique developed by Professor Richard Craster can help protect the structural integrity of existing buildings by shielding them from vibrations caused by nearby transport hubs and ground tremors. To mitigate the risk of floods, Dr Alalea KiaDr Hong Wong and Professor Chris Cheeseman have developed a new type of highstrength, clogging-resistant permeable pavement. Urban areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding because impermeable infrastructure does not allow rainfall to drain away naturally. The novel system allows water to drain more effectively, does not suffer from many of the limitations of conventional permeable concrete and is straightforward to install.


Ed tech startup

Following the success of his previous venture, Epigeum, Dr David Lefevre, Director of the Edtech Lab at Imperial College Business School, launched digital learning platform Insendi in 2018, building on experience gained in launching Imperial’s online Global MBA programmeInsendi offers an innovative learning experience platform designed specifically for online and blended learning together with expertise in course development, staff training and consultancy, all informed by leading educational research. Now part of Study Group, it is focused initially on business schools, and boasts customers across Europe and Asia.

Flow chemistry

Imperial is partnered with the chemical company BASF to advance flow chemistry, an innovative form of chemical processing in which chemicals are manufactured continuously by pumping reagents through small reactors rather than synthesising them in batches. The technique could allow agrochemical and other chemical industries to improve their R&D workflow, manufacture chemicals more efficiently, and distribute production across smaller plants, creating shorter and more robust supply chains. BASF is working with Imperial on flow chemistry research at two EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training.

Urban air map

Imperial experts have created an interactive map (see detail, below) that explores the impact of future technologies and social interventions on urban air quality. Considering not only the particulates we inhale but also the experience of noise, light and smells in our cities, the map illustrates a number of issues and interventions that could emerge in the next 20 years, drawing on the insights of 
Imperial Tech Foresight and futurist Richard Watson, and the expertise of academics in the Imperial Network of Excellence in Air Quality. The interactive map can be accessed on the Imperial Tech Foresight website.

Detail from interactive map showing the future of urban air

Illustration by Ed Fairburn.