In 2018, Imperial marked five years since the introduction of the College’s President and Provost leadership model.

This model enables the President to oversee all functions at Imperial, with a particular focus on external affairs at a national and international level, while the Provost advances and delivers the College’s core academic mission.

Council’s decision to implement the dual leadership model in 2013 was driven by a recognition that the higher education environment is increasingly complex, global, and competitive.

Safeguarding Imperial’s excellence required a fresh but proven approach that would meet the new demands on university leaders, who now require an array of skills to support and encourage students and staff, inspire alumni and friends, foster local government and community relations, and navigate an ever shifting political environment.

While some UK universities have since evolved to similar leadership structures and larger leadership teams, Imperial was the first in the UK  to create a dual leadership structure like that at other great universities such as Stanford, Princeton and MIT.

Imperial's first Provost, Professor James Stirling, retired in August 2018. The President, Professor Alice P. Gast, noted that Professor Stirling “defined the role of Provost, not only for Imperial, but for the world.”

His work on institutional culture, gender equality, animal research processes, reforming tech transfer and enhancing research grant mechanisms was transformational for Imperial.

As the College welcomes its new Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, and Professor Gast embarks on a new term as President, it is timely to review the impact of the dual leadership model over the last five years.

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