Strengthen collaborations across the globe

Our international collaborations have never been more important, we remain a global university. This year, we have built on and expanded our partnerships with institutions and companies from around the world.

  • In Europe we built on our flagship strategic partnership with the Technical University of Munich (TUM). We hosted a collaborative event with research startups at our White City campus to explore ways to create innovative communities. We strengthened our links with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CRNS), France through various joint programmes. Our Theoretical Physics Group will act as the UK lead of the CNRS International Research Network in Quantum Fields and Strings.
  • In Asia, we expanded our existing relationship with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore by jointly launching a seed fund for early stage research into data driven technologies. We have also expanded our research activities with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in which we are partners with NTU. Our researchers are working with the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea on a research project jointly funded by the UK and Korean governments to treat severe asthma.
  • We have formed a major partnership with the African Institute of Mathematics Sciences (AIMS) to train the next generation of African scientists. AIMS is a pan-African network of Centres of Excellence for postgraduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences.

Work with industry to translate our innovative ideas into real-world benefits

We continued to earn our place as the most innovative university in the UK according to Reuters, which also ranks Imperial in the top ten most innovative universities in the world. Our enterprise ecosystem continues to receive significant investment.

  • Ceres Power, which develops fuel cells that can be used to generate low-carbon electricity and was established by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Nigel Brandon and colleagues from the Department of Materials, became the UK’s most valuable cleantech company, valued at over £600 million, following a £38 million investment by Bosch.
  • BumbleBee Power, born out of research in our Wireless Power Lab, has raised over £5 million pounds to develop wireless scooter and drone-charging prototypes, as well as run trials for e-bike charging, opening up a route to market.

Imperial expertise is transforming the UK’s Track and Trace capability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Professor Chris Toumazou from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has developed a 90-minute COVID-19 diagnostic test with his startup, DnaNudge. The rapid lab-free accurate test was deployed in urgent patient care settings in May 2020. In August 2020, the UK government placed an order for 5.8 million test kits for use in NHS hospitals from September 2020.

Inform decision makers to influence policy

Throughout continued Brexit political uncertainty, we have maintained a strong voice in important debates and discussions taking place in the UK  and in the EU. Our advocacy has focused on mitigating the impacts of Brexit on our community, as well as influencing the future research and  higher education landscape.

  • We successfully made the case for immigration policy that supports science, research and education. We worked with our research and industry partners, briefed government officials and hosted a visit from the Home Secretary to secure new Global Talent and post-study work visas. We continue to be a strong voice for association to Horizon Europe in Westminster and Brussels, and published a new set of European Research Council case studies to demonstrate the value of our European colleagues and collaborations.
  • Universities Minister Michelle Donelan MP, visited Imperial in September to see how we’re delivering COVID-safe teaching and research whilst protecting students and staff on campus. The Minister experienced multi-mode teaching live during a lecture with students attending both in person and remotely. We discussed the challenges which universities like Imperial faced due to COVID-19 as well as the importance of international research collaboration in tackling global challenges and the UK’s future success as a world leader in science.
  • The Forum is our policy engagement programme where our researchers build relationships with policymakers and share the latest research to support evidence-based policy development. We held workshops with our researchers and representatives from government, think tanks, charities in industry on topics including air quality, city fires, plastics and flood and water management. We held our first ‘policy hack-a-thon’ with policymakers and NHSX on how to bring more data-driven innovation into healthcare.

Imperial research has also informed policy on the response of national and local governments around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Imperial’s COVID-19 Response team has advised the New York State as it looked to ease restrictions enforced during the pandemic. The Imperial team, from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, J-IDEA and the Department of Mathematics, modelled the reproduction rate of the virus within the State and integrated data on testing and hospitalisations to build a framework for decision-making.
  • Dr David Nabarro, Co-Director of the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial and a WHO special envoy for coronavirus has provided strategic advice and high-level political advocacy, working closely with WHO Regional Directors and country offices to coordinate the global response to COVID-19.

Share the wonder and importance of what we do

The College involves and engages schools, local community groups and residents, patients and the public more widely, through discussions and dialogue, festivals and data collection.

Efforts to widen participation in education programmes helps attract the most capable students and creates a more diverse community that represents society. It means being an anchor within local areas, providing the support that people need to improve their own skills and to engage with a scientific world.

  • In July 2020, Imperial announced a new online course for A-level Further Mathematics students, focused on raising attainment in advanced mathematics among young people from underrepresented backgrounds. The programme, Imperial Further Maths, is supported and funded through a long-term partnership with The Hg Foundation and will include intensive online support.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our regular events and activities were put on hold. However, we worked quickly to develop and implement resources that members of our local communities and the public could access remotely.

  • We offered free online material based on the UK school curriculum to support parents and teachers during the pandemic. The resources provide teachers and parents with a range of materials to use for lessons for children aged between 5 and 11 years old.
  • Professor Sarah Rankin from the National Heart and Lung Institute developed the COVID-19 Lockdown Lessons series to provide content for teachers and support young people transitioning to remote learning during the pandemic.
  • Professor Helen Ward and Dr Katharina Hauck from the School of Public Health and J-IDEA at Imperial are part of the team of researchers who developed a free online learning course, ‘Science Matters: Let’s Talk about COVID-19’ on the Coursera platform. The course was launched in February 2020 and by March had reached over 68,000 learners from around the world.

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