Financial Review 2022–23

Imperial’s overall surplus for the year was £30.9 million (2022: deficit £123.6 million). This was broadly in line with the 2021–22 figure after adjusting this for the impact of the £153 million increase in the pension provision following the conclusion of another USS valuation. However, the outturn in 2022–23 was helped by a £29.6 million year-on-year improvement in investment performance.

The surplus on our operational activity before gains and losses on investments was £28.7 million in 2022–23, compared to a deficit in 2021–22 of £96.2 million, or surplus of £55.9 million after adjusting for the movement in pension provision. High inflationary increases to our cost base were only partially mitigated by growth in income levels. This surplus included total capital income of £48.6 million, an increase of £12.5 million over the previous year.

Cash from operating activities of £56.4 million also remained in line with 2021–22. The previous year had been impacted by adverse working capital movements, whereas there was no material working capital impact in 2022–23.

Our investment income was £19.2 million higher than in the previous year because of the higher level of interest earned on our cash balance. This cash balance was £348.1 million at year-end (2022: £367.8 million).

Our overall level of capital investment in facilities, equipment and software increased to £134.9 million (2022: £52.8 million), with the balance between internal and external funding being almost 50:50. The value of Imperial’s net assets rose year-on-year to 1,766.0 million (2022: £1,735.1 million), mainly because of increased additions to fixed assets under construction.


Total income grew by 9.1% (£105.5 million) to £1.27 billion, with nearly all sources of income increasing. New endowments were below the record-breaking level of the previous year, but this tends to be a volatile number. As well as reflecting inflationary growth, tuition fees grew because of an 8.8% increase in the number of overseas fee-paying students. We also received a significant uplift in our funding body grants after years of remaining fairly static. A large proportion of this increase was ringfenced for specific activity, including capital projects. Research activity continued to pick up, continuing the trend seen towards the end of the previous year, as we moved on from the pandemic.

Tuition fees and education contracts

With each additional cohort of EU students that were entitled to home fee status graduating, the balance between home and overseas fees is tipping more towards the latter. Home student fee income reduced by £4.7 million in 2022–23 compared to the previous year, but this was more than offset by the £33.3 million of additional tuition fee income from overseas students.

Overall student numbers only grew by 1% last year, so most of the increase in tuition income was a result of fee rate increases (though not for home undergraduates, where rates continue to be capped at £9,250) and the change in mix between home and overseas students.

Application numbers at undergraduate level for entry in 2022–23 were similar to the previous year, having been growing steadily for a number of years prior to this. Postgraduate application numbers fell for the second year in a row but remain well above pre-pandemic levels and the application to enrolled ratio remains over seven; at undergraduate level it is just under nine.

The top ten nationalities of our students remained the same as last year, representing 78% of our total headcount. Students from China comprise the largest group after the UK at 21.7% of the total (2022: 20.2%). The largest percentage increase in student numbers from any country was from India (up 17.5% to 832). Our efforts to diversify the make-up of our overseas student body to reduce the reliance on individual markets continue.

2022–23 Income by source (£ million)

This chart shows Imperial’s total income and the different sources of our income in pounds. The total income for the year 2022–23 is £1,268.8 million.


2021–22 Income by source (£ million)

This chart shows Imperial’s total income and the different sources of our income in pounds. The total income for the year 2021–22 is £1,163 million.


Funding body grants

Our funding body (Office for Students for teaching and UK Research and Innovation for research) grants amounted to £183.3 million in 2022–23. This represented the largest year-onyear increase we have seen, however there were one-off amounts within this. For example, the total included a £12.3 million government grant towards the cost of replacing our steam boilers as part of our ambition to transition towards a net zero carbon position by 2040. Total capital funding from funding bodies was £31.7 million (2022: £14.1 million).

Our recurrent research funding grew as the size of the overall sector allocation increased. Despite coming top in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment of quality, our market share of funding fell by 1.4%. Funding reflects both quality and number of staff and other universities grew staff numbers submitted to REF more than we did.

Research grants and contracts

Research grants and contracts income of £383.1 million was 4% up on the previous year. This figure represents in-year activity and not the value of new awards won in the year, since income from research grants can generally only be recognised when performance-related criteria are met.

The split of income by funder group shows positive volume increases in all areas barring the EU commission. The September 2023 agreement for the UK to join the Horizon Europe programme (the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation) as an associate member provides the opportunity to reverse the recent drop.

After an excellent year of winning new research awards, the balance on the order book reached £955 million at the end of 2022–23 (2022: £797 million), a record for the university.

Other income

Other income grew across multiple areas with the main increase in residencies, catering and conferences, up £10.6 million (22%) on last year, making up over a third of what is reported as other income. Whilst our commercial letting surplus grew by £2.0 million as the market recovered post-pandemic, the remainder of the growth in income was primarily offset by a higher cost base due to inflationary increases in our staff and energy costs.

Consultancies and scientific services and recharges for NHS staff who work for Imperial make up a further 30% of our other income. This income is largely offset by related costs shown in other operating expenditure.

Investment income is made up of interest received on our cash balances and income earned on endowment and other investment assets. This income increased £19.2 million in year, primarily relating to an increase in the interest received on our cash in banks.

Donations and endowments

While there is some volatility expected in this number, donations and endowments broadly continue at pre-pandemic levels, having reversed the dip seen in 2019–20 and 2020–21. A large proportion of the donations recognised were research related at £21.4 million (2022: £12.6 million), with capital donations down to £6.1 million (2022: £10.9 million). New endowments recognised fell in 2022–23 from the record level the year before.

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