Imperial College London

Statement on Professor Stefan Grimm


Members of Imperial's community may be aware of media reports of the tragic loss of Stefan Grimm, professor of toxicology in the Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Grimm’s work identified genes and proteins that regulate the survival of cells, and may in the future help improve our understanding of cancer. He was a valued member of the Faculty of Medicine, highly respected by colleagues and students.

The news of Professor Grimm’s death at the end of September came as a great shock to the College community. Senior colleagues have offered their deepest condolences to Stefan’s family on behalf of the College, and extend those to everyone affected by this tragedy. 

The statutory authorities are investigating Professor Grimm’s death and the College will continue to provide all the assistance it can. 

Contrary to claims appearing on the internet, Professor Grimm’s work was not under formal review nor had he been given any notice of dismissal. It is standard practice at Imperial to conduct both informal and formal performance management. Professor Grimm’s line manager met with him on a number of occasions to see how the College could help him to develop more competitive grant applications, for example through internal peer-review, collaborations and letters of support. Discussions included talking about the best place for him to do his science, both inside Imperial and outside, and, with Professor Grimm’s permission, his line manager made enquiries about opportunities on his behalf. 

As with all serious and tragic events involving staff or students, the College conducts appropriate reviews in order to see whether wider lessons may be drawn. Last month, following Professor Grimm’s death, Imperial’s Provost tasked the Director of HR and one of the College’s senior elected academic representatives to review relevant College policies, procedures and the support available to staff. Their report will be considered by a senior group led by the Provost and the College will move swiftly to implement any recommendations. 

Members of the community will be informed of the outcomes of the review in early 2015, and comments will be invited on the College’s proposed response. 

Professor James Stirling CBE FRS, Provost of Imperial College London, said:“Imperial seeks to give every member of its community the opportunity to excel and to create a supportive environment in which their careers may flourish. Where we become aware that the College is falling short of this standard of support to its members, we will act.”

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