Imperial College London

Imperial’s new Provost takes up post


Professor Ian Walmsley FRS

Professor Ian Walmsley FRS

Professor Ian Walmsley FRS has started his new role as Provost of Imperial College London.

The Imperial alumnus joins the College from the University of Oxford where he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics. He succeeds Professor James Stirling, the first ever Provost of the College, who has now retired. Professor Walmsley also holds the position of Chair in Experimental Physics at Imperial.

Imperial offers a truly unique environment, with its opportunities for world-leading research, life-changing teaching and ground-breaking innovation. Professor Ian Walmsley Provost, Imperial College London

Professor Walmsley said: “I’m delighted to be back at Imperial and looking forward to getting to know the place again.

“It remains a special university for me: when I arrived as a student, I was motivated by the idea of learning great science and in a great city, and that’s also a reason for me to return. Imperial offers a truly unique environment, with its opportunities for world-leading research, life-changing teaching and ground-breaking innovation.

“I’m keen to really understand the aspirations of staff and students so that I can contribute to sustaining and enhancing the College’s position as one of the world’s great academic institutions. Therefore I plan to get out and meet as many of you as possible across Imperial’s campuses over the next few weeks and months.”

Professor Walmsley plans to make his way round as many departments as possible in the coming months.

Distinguished leader

He is a world-renowned expert in ultrafast and quantum optics, and his research has led to advances in fields as diverse as spectroscopy, cryptography, quantum computing, and precision measurement. He graduated from Imperial with a first class honours in physics and has long standing ties with the College.

Ian is an insightful and distinguished academic leader. Professor Alice Gast President, Imperial College London

In his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Walmsley led Oxford's research and innovation strategy. He was responsible for coordinating the University’s relationships with its major research funders and the engagement of research activities with wider audiences.

He also headed up the creation of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, a national multidisciplinary research centre led by the University of Oxford focussed on developing the next-generation physical science methods that will underpin future advances in the life sciences, as well as bring forward new technologies and their applications in healthcare.

Professor Walmsley taught atomic and laser physics at Oxford, and has supervised more than 50 PhD students during his career.

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial, said: “I’m delighted that Ian has joined us as Imperial’s second Provost and I look forward to working with him. He is an insightful and distinguished academic leader.  His impressive record speaks for itself and his personable and effective leadership will be a great asset to the College”. 

The Provost is Imperial’s chief academic officer and provides the leadership to ensure excellence in Imperial’s core academic mission in education, research and translation. Professor Walmsley will report directly to President Alice Gast and together they will oversee the College’s strategic direction. 

Professor Walmsley is married to Dr Katharine Pardee, a distinguished lecturer in music and an accomplished organist, originally from the United States. They have two sons and a daughter. 


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3921

Show all stories by this author


President, Strategy-decision-makers
See more tags

Leave a comment

Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.