Imperial College London celebrates the final stage of construction of its new home for public health in White City.
A topping out ceremony took place to celebrate the completion of the School of Public Health’s structural construction work, with the building due to open next year.
The School of Public Health building will co-locate, for the first time, a multidisciplinary group of researchers working to transform health in the capital and across the world.
Situated at Imperial’s White City Campus, the School will be home to a thriving ecosystem of researchers, health workers and students working together and with the local community to tackle pressing public health challenges.
This new vision for public health has been made possible through a £100 million fundraising campaign, which has raised more than £66 million to date. Alumni and friends of Imperial have made gifts which include a new Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing, an Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics and a Chair in Community Health, as well as capital costs for the building.
Building the future of public health
Imperial alumna and donor to the School of Public Health campaign Marit Mohn (MSc Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, 1973) applied the final mortaring on the roof at the topping out ceremony.
The new School of Public Health building will amplify our collaborations, innovation and our teaching and research locally, nationally, and internationally. Professor Deborah Ashby Director of the School of Public Health
The celebration brought together donors to the School of Public Health including Mark Davies, Programme Manager (Science & Health) at the Wolfson Foundation, with Imperial academics from across the School and beyond, and key stakeholders involved with the project.
Speaking at the ceremony, School of Public Health Director Professor Deborah Ashby said: “Imperial College London’s School of Public Health is an integral part of one of the most collaborative, multidisciplinary, innovative universities in the world. Its new home at the White City Campus will amplify our collaborations, innovation and our teaching and research locally, nationally, and internationally.”
The topping out marks the final stages of construction of the building’s structure, which stands at nine storeys high and measures over 58,000 square feet of interior space. The School of Public Health is designed by architects Allies and Morrison and fitted out by Graham Construction. The building will complete construction by summer 2023, following a fit-out, with building users moving in by the end of the year.
Neil Alford, Professor of Materials broke ground at the School in March 2021, which was marked by a virtual celebration event.
The topping out ceremony represents a key milestone in the Campaign for the School of Public Health. The fundraising campaign launched in 2018 and since then has inspired over a thousand Imperial alumni, friends and donors to join the mission to transform health. To date, the campaign has raised £66,208,291 to support the capital costs of the building, appoint world-class experts and accelerate impactful research. Gifts to the campaign include:
- A landmark donation of £25 million from Marit Mohn created the Mohn Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing.
- In partnership with Community Jameel, Imperial established the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (Jameel Institute).
- Kenneth C. Griffin and Community Jameel co-funded the Jameel Institute-Kenneth C. Griffin Initiative for the Economics of Pandemic Preparedness.
- A £2.5 million gift from Humphrey Battcock established the inaugural Battcock Chair in Community Health and Policy, enabling Professor Frank Kelly and his 68-strong Environmental Research Group to join the College.
- £1 million from the Garfield Weston Foundation is supporting the capital costs of the School of Public Health building and facilities.
- £500,000 from the Wolfson Foundation is supporting the capital costs of the School of Public Health building and facilities.
Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, thanked Imperial donors for their support: “As we celebrate this important milestone for public health in White City, I’d like to thank our donors and everyone involved in creating such a splendid facility. The progress on the state-of-the-art building so far is impressive, along with the innovative ecosystem it will support in key areas of health research and education.”
New building, new opportunities
Imperial is a world leader in public health, receiving its best-ever results in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) as well as a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of pioneering work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening of the new School of Public Health building will build upon these successes and enable new opportunities for collaboration, sharing results and involving the community in public health research.
Previously split across four different locations, researchers and staff from the School of Public Health will now be co-located for the first time. Tackling public health issues requires a complex and multi-faceted approach, which has been taken into account in the design of the new building. Spaces for co-working, sharing and community engagement will facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, research and multidisciplinary collaboration.
The new building will house the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, home to the MRC Centre for Environment and Health and the Mohn Centre for Children’s Health and wellbeing; the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, home to the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis and the Jameel Institute; and the Department of Primary Care and Public Health.
Two floors of the building will be dedicated to teaching up to 200 postgraduate students, including PhD and Masters’ students and health workers undertaking continual professional development. Students will benefit from flexible, innovative spaces designed for the future of teaching and learning, from breakout areas to dedicated spaces for discussion and roundtables.
An innovation community
The School of Public Health forms part of the White City Innovation District, a partnership between the College and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and home to some of the world’s most innovative organisations.
Researchers and students will benefit from close connections with the area’s life sciences and medtech cluster, including the Sir Michael Uren Hub and the College’s main medical research campus at Hammersmith Hospital; entrepreneurship and innovation facilities including Scale Space and the Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB).
The new building will also enable Imperial academics to strengthen relationships with local people thanks to new spaces and facilities for community engagement, including a dedicated exhibition and engagement space on the ground floor.
It will also enable the School to build upon existing partnerships with the local community such as the Patient Experience Research Centre and the Environmental Research Group’s WellHome project, which involves monitoring indoor air pollution in homes of local White City residents.
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