Imperial College London

Imperial creates new Chinese R&D opportunities


Imperial alumni in Hong Kong

Imperial's President Sir Keith O'Nions in Hong Kong

Following Premier Li Keqiang's UK visit, Imperial's President is leading a delegation to China to promote research, innovation and education ties.

Imperial alumni were among the first to welcome President Sir Keith O'Nions and colleagues on their six-day visit to Hong Kong and mainland China, following events in Singapore and Malaysia. At a reception at the Hong Kong Club on 16 July they heard about the College's motivations for building links with the region.

Imperial, a world top ten university, is working to intensify Chinese involvement with Imperial West: a 25 acre GBP 3 billion (CNY 32 billion) new innovation district in west London, well-connected to the capital’s TechCity and MedCity ecosystems. 

At Imperial West we will work with Chinese partners to create value from ideas on a global scale

– Sir Keith O'Nions


As well as sharing the vision with alumni throughout China, Sir Keith and other leading academics are meeting with Chinese businesses, universities and research institutions about co-location opportunities in London to commercialise cutting-edge research. 

At the new Imperial West innovation district, a global community of academics and industrialists will work together to further our understanding of the natural world, solve major engineering problems, lead the data science revolution, and improve health and wellbeing.

Number one research partner

Imperial, the UK’s number one university research collaborator with China, is already working with Chinese partners to advance research and its application in nanotechnology, bioengineering, computing, data science, advanced materials, offshore energy, environmental engineering and entrepreneurship.

Sir Keith and Madame Liu in London

Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong with Sir Keith

Imperial’s existing Chinese research partners include leading businesses Huawei and AVIC, as well as scientific institutions such as Tsinghua, Zhejiang, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Wuhan, Hong Kong and Peking Universities, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

At present (2013-14) 2,011 Imperial students – 14% – come from China, as do more than 5,000 of the College’s alumni.

During the trip, which covers Hong Kong (16 and 17 July), Hangzhou (18 and 19 July) and Beijing (21 and 22 July), Sir Keith and colleagues will:

  • Hold a major two-day Big Data conference with Zhejiang University (ZJU)
  • Launch a joint Imperial-ZJU data science lab, which will allow some of the UK and China’s finest data scientists to co-locate in London
  • Hold the first ever Imperial graduation ceremony in China, as Professor Chen Zhu, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and former Health Minister, receives an honorary doctorate at the British Embassy in Beijing
  • Meet with leading Tsinghua University academics to explore further collaborations in healthcare, Big Data, and entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Present the College’s vision for Imperial West at the largest ever gatherings of Imperial alumni in Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Beijing

Innovative collaborator

Keith with alumniSir Keith O’Nions, President of Imperial College London, said:

“China is fast becoming one of the world’s most important collaborators in innovation, scientific discovery and commercial application. Anyone serious about the future of science, engineering, medicine and business is embracing Chinese partnerships – and we are excited to strengthen our long-standing ties with the country through Imperial West. 

“At Imperial West we will work with Chinese and other international partners to create value from ideas on a global scale. As our vision for this innovation district becomes reality, the UK, China and the wider world will benefit.”

Imperial academics joining Sir Keith in China include:

In pictures: alumni reception in Hong Kong



Andrew Scheuber

Andrew Scheuber
Communications Division

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