Imperial College London

Imperial showcases innovation and outreach to the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser


An aerial photograph of the white city campus

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, visited Imperial’s White City Campus to hear about its thriving innovation ecosystem.

During the visit, Sir Patrick Vallance and his team from the Government’s Office for Science got an insight into the ways that Imperial is supporting early-stage start-ups, encouraging innovation, and forging links with the local community.

A look inside Imperial's new Molecular Sciences Research Hub (MSRH)

At White City, Imperial is co-locating world-class researchers, businesses and academic partners on an unprecedented scale. The College’s facilities - spanning hackspace, incubation, acceleration and collaborative research - offer businesses the opportunity to work alongside Imperial’s world-leading academics and researchers at every stage of their growth and development.

Together, they are tackling global challenges by sharing ideas and turning cutting-edge research into benefits for society.

At the same time, the College is working in partnership with the local community to create new opportunities, support local talent, and collaborate on research, education and innovation that makes a difference to local people’s lives.

david gann and patrick vallance
Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor David Gann

Sir Patrick was welcomed to White City by Imperial’s Professor David Gann - Vice President (Innovation), Professor Nick Jennings - Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and Professor Neil Alford - Associate Provost (Academic Planning).

Professor David Gann said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Sir Patrick Vallance to our White City Campus where high-growth technology companies, world leading academics and corporate partners are working side by side in a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem."

"We know the value of collaboration with Government – last year we provided a new hub for the Government’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) at White City – and we look forward to the prospect of future opportunities to collaborate and share learning.”

An Innovation Community

The I-HUB at White City

The tour included a visit to Imperial’s Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB) – a flagship building which provides space for provides space for companies to work alongside Imperial researchers to turn scientific and technological innovations into new products and services that could improve people’s lives.

Professor David Gann explained how the co-location of knowledge-intensive organisations, businesses and world-leading Imperial research groups is unleashing a wave of innovation at White City.

This was followed by a series of presentations from corporate and government partners based in the I-HUB:

  • DnaNudge, a startup co-founded by Imperial’s Professor Chris Toumazou – Winston Wong Chair in Biomedical Circuit Design at Imperial - that uses shoppers’ DNA to help them make healthier choices while food shopping.
  • Polymateria, based in the White City Incubator’s, who are developing additives for plastic products and packaging that cause them to biodegrade over time.
  • Airbus, who last year established a brand new innovation hub for its Defence and Space division in Central Working White City.
  • DASA, the Government’s Defence and Security Accelerator, who have taken up residency in Central Working White City and signed an exciting partnership with Imperial’s Institute of Security Science and Technology.

A community in action

Reach out makerspace
The Invention Rooms is a pioneering community engagement space

The tour later included a visit to The Invention Rooms - a pioneering space which brings community engagement and cutting-edge innovation together under one roof.

Here, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor heard from Professor Maggie Dallman Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), who gave an insight into how Imperial is forging links with the local community and inspiring the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs in White City and beyond.

Professor Dallman said: “At White City we are building a campus that is inclusive and engaging. Our vision is to combine the skills, talent and insights of local residents, businesses and organisations with the expertise of our students, staff, partners and friends. We want to be a long-term partner in the community that brings people together to share in the excitement of science, making and inventing”.

advacned hackspce
Imperial's Advanced Hackspace at White City

This was followed by a walk-through of Imperial’s Advanced Hackspace facility which is based in The Invention Rooms at White City. With a membership that has now grown to over 3,000 students and staff, the Hackspace boasts an array of specialist prototyping and manufacturing equipment as well as a fully equipped bio-lab which enables synthetic biology and molecular fabrication.

In these creative facilities, Imperial staff, students, alumni and commercial partners from different disciplines work together to rapidly convert research ideas into breakthrough prototype products and solutions.


Dan West

Dan West
Estates Division

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