President's welcome to the 2018–19 Annual Report and Accounts

Imperial College London continues to be a beacon of excellence in these uncertain times. Our students and staff advance knowledge and translate research into solutions. Our commitment to excellence and passion for discovery is palpable. We are a strong and vibrant institution with a rich heritage and everlasting values.

Our mission is “to achieve enduring excellence in research and education in science, engineering, medicine and business for the benefit of society.” We face a number of challenges from Brexit, the viability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme, and a shifting landscape for research and higher education. Delivering our mission in this context requires strong Foundations, great People, respected Partners and key Enablers.

Our future is built on our Foundations in engineering, science, medicine and business. This year we opened the first major academic building on our new White City Campus, the Molecular Sciences Research Hub, which provides state-of-the-art facilities for the design and creation of new medicines, materials, energy sources and catalysts. Its stature as a laboratory is only surpassed by the ground-breaking research going on inside.

We seek exceptional People. We appointed one of Britain’s foremost business leaders, John Allan CBE, as our new Chair of Council. He will succeed Sir Philip Dilley whose contributions as Chair and as a member of Council will leave a lasting impression on Imperial.

We welcomed Imperial’s second Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley FRS. Ian is an alumnus of Imperial and was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford. Under his leadership the College has developed a new Academic Strategy.

Michael Murphy, our new Vice-President (Advancement) will help us continue to build a professional and sustainable fundraising programme. Colleagues were recognised for their excellence as academics and leaders in the Honours Lists and through Fellowships from the Learned Societies. Imperial researchers were the recipients of nine prestigious European Research Council Grants.

We collaborate with Partners who share our commitment to excellence across borders. We launched an important partnership with the Technical University of Munich in Germany. These links bring excellent collaborators together for the benefit of our students and our research. We also launched new collaborations with corporations throughout the world, and academic organisations in Africa, as described in these pages and on our website. We are, and will remain, a very internationally focused university.

Our philanthropic supporters, both alumni and friends, are our Enablers. In the coming months, we will open the Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub as the second major academic building in White City. Bringing together top engineers, medics, scientists and inventors, this multidisciplinary hub will redefine medical practices and technologies for decades to come.

We recently launched the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute of Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), which brings our world class epidemiology work to bear on problems of both infectious and chronic diseases and humanitarian crises. Our partnership with Community Jameel is essential and is making a difference. You can read more about our generous philanthropists in the Annual Fundraising report.

More details of our progress this year can be found on the College website and we list but a few highlights in the pages that follow. As the financial commentary and the risk review later in this report show, these are very challenging times, yet as summary of our progress this year shows: Imperial endures and indeed thrives.

Professor Alice P. Gast
President of Imperial College London

Read more about Imperial in 2018–19