Imperial College London

Latest Annual Fundraising Report celebrates the impact of giving at Imperial


Cover of the Annual Fundraising Report features a student adjusting a light in a rig

Gifts from 2020–21 are supporting students and propelling research across the College.

Imperial has published the latest edition of the Annual Fundraising Report, which celebrates the impact of giving in the financial year 2020–21. During what has been a challenging year for many, almost 4,000 Imperial alumni and friends came together to support the College and fuel a range of impactful initiatives including financial assistance for students and research into global challenges such as climate change and COVID-19.

Propelling research

Amongst the gifts featured in the report are a £2.5 million donation from the NOMIS Foundation which will fund a computer simulation of a rainforest ecosystem. The “virtual rainforest” has been created by a team of Imperial researchers, led by Professor Rob Ewers, and will offer new insight into how the individual components of a rainforest function together as a system. Professor Ewers and his team will be able to carry out experiments within the computer simulation to better understand how to increase rainforest resilience, stability, and sustainability. This ground-breaking approach could provide scientists and policymakers with evidence on how best to safeguard the future of these vulnerable and complex habitats.

Other landmark donations include a £2.5 million gift from HSBC UK to launch The Greenhouse, a cleantech accelerator programme that provides funding and mentoring to startups developing solutions to tackle climate change. The programme is helping to support a new generation of sustainability-focussed entrepreneurs and grow the pipeline of emerging businesses dedicated to making a positive impact for the planet.

Another key area where philanthropy is making a difference is in the College’s pandemic response. A £1 million gift from the Huo Family Foundation provided early support to the REACT programme, England’s largest population study into the spread of COVID-19. This major research programme makes uses of home testing, with more than two million households having participated in the study so far. Thanks to its findings, scientists have improved understanding of COVID-19 and been able to track its prevalence in the community, shaping policy on a national and international scale.

Dr Jonathan C. Brown uses a microscope in the lab
REACT researcher Dr Jonathan C. Brown tests serum samples on lateral flow immunoassay kits.

Supporting students

In 2020–21 donors gave more than £4 million towards scholarships and bursaries for students. These donations help Imperial provide a vital lifeline in a year which has seen requests for financial assistance increase by 250% due to the pandemic. Donors are supporting students to complete their studies, easing financial pressures and allowing students to make the most of their time at Imperial. Featured in the Annual Fundraising Report are testimonials from students about how financial support has made a difference for them.

First year Medical Student Yasmin Baker volunteered on the frontline of the NHS COVID-19 effort as a vaccinator alongside her studies. She said, “Not having to worry about financial difficulties is a weight off my shoulders and it has allowed me to open up a lot more, get involved and immerse myself into the myriad of opportunities that Imperial has to offer”.

Student Yasmin Baker smiles at the camera
First year Medical Student Yasmin Baker

For student Reiss Jones, receiving a grant meant that he could launch sustainable startup Synthesea, which is developing cheaper and greener alternatives to fish oil. He said, “Without financial support from Imperial, Synthesea wouldn’t exist. It has helped us to set up our lab and buy the materials necessary to build our proof of concept which, once complete, will mean we are able to take on investment, grants and accelerate our business.”

Imperial continues to tackle the big challenges facing society, from COVID-19 to the climate crisis, and your support continues to drive this work forward. Michael Murphy Vice-President (Advancement)

Michael Murphy, Vice President of Advancement, thanked donors for their important contribution towards the College’s mission: “Imperial continues to tackle the big challenges facing society, from COVID-19 to the climate crisis, and your support continues to drive this work forward.”

We are sincerely grateful to every one of our supporters who made a gift in 2020–21; thank you for helping us make a difference.

Download the 2020–21 Annual Fundraising Report


Joely Langston

Joely Langston

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Scholarships, Philanthropy
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