Imperial has been awarded a prestigious Regius professorship, recognising the highest standard of research and teaching in the Faculty of Engineering.
Announced on 29 January, the honour was granted by the Queen as part of her 60th anniversary celebrations. Eleven other universities in the UK also received the rare privelige of using the Regius title, awarded only twice in the past century. Other London universities recognised through these latest awards are the London School of Economics and Political Science and King’s College London.
The title, which does not come with any funding, recognises the work of the Faculty of Engineering and its many technological breakthroughs, including the invention of lenseless, three-dimensional photography called holography by Professor Dennis Gabor (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) CBE FRS, for which he received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. Other achievements include the development of magnetic levitation by Professor Eric Laithwaite (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), which is the technology that gives the Shanghai maglev train its levity.
Imperial will confer the title on Professor Chris Toumazou FRS and FREng, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Among his many achievements, Professor Toumazou developed one of the world’s first cochlear implants to enable deaf people to hear. He has also created a digital plaster, which can remotely monitor a patient’s vital signs in the comfort of their own home and a hand-held device that can analyse DNA to determine if a patient is allergic to specific types of medication.
Sir Keith O’Nions, President & Rector of Imperial College London, says: “From holography to magnetic levitation to developing ‘digital plasters’ that can keep patients safe and healthy at home, Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering has been an international leader in research innovation for many years. This honour is a tribute to our academics – the backbone of Imperial – and their world-leading research that has helped and will continue to help to improve our lives.”
Professor Jeff Magee, Principal of the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial, added: “This award recognises the world renowned excellence of the Faculty of Engineering, which Professor Toumazou exemplifies. On behalf of the Faculty, I’d like to say that we are extremely honoured to be recognised in this way and we thank HM The Queen for the award.”
When universities were invited to apply, six new Regius Professorships had been planned. However, the 12 winning submissions were judged by the panel to have been of exceptionally high quality and Ministers and the Queen agreed that 12 professorships should be awarded.
David Willetts, Ministers for Universities and Science, concluded: “I was incredibly impressed by the quality and range of the applications received and I am delighted that twelve new Regius Professorships are to be created. Together, the successful applications demonstrated an exceptionally high level of achievement in both teaching and research.”
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