Imperial College London

45 years of interdisciplinary environmental policy at Imperial


An alumna of the CEP speaking to a current student

The CEP celebrated the 45th anniversary of its world-leading MSc programme, gathering its current members and distinguished alumni.

The Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP), which hosts the longest-running MSc programme dedicated to driving sustainable solutions to environmental problems, marked its 45th anniversary.

The celebration drew alumni from across the decades, current students and staff members to commemorate its long-standing commitment to environmental research and policy solutions.

Founded in 1977, the CEP was first established as the Imperial College Centre for Environmental Technology (ICCET). With the MSc in Environmental Technology and doctoral training, it provided postgraduate education in evidence-led environmental policy and was the first interdisciplinary institute founded at Imperial.

Professor Jem Woods, Director of the CEP, delivering a keynote speech at the 45th anniversary celebration event

Since its humble beginnings with an initial cohort of only 24 students, the CEP has now grown to graduate over 180 students each year. Its researchers and vast network of alumni continue to play pivotal roles in shaping national and international environmental policies.

This year, the Centre saw significant events that echo both its legacy and continuing impact. Professor Jim Skea was elected as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reaffirming the CEP’s global reach in environmental policy.

The range of expertise within the CEP leads to extensive influence on national and international level. Professor Nick Voulvoulis’ work in waste and pollution monitoring contributed to an BBC investigation on firms illegally spilling sewage into rivers and seas on dry day. Dr Morena Mills is leading a national-level evaluation of community-based marine management initiatives.

Dr Iain Staffell and visiting research Dr Oliver Schmidt have recently authored a book on energy storage, leveraging analysis from the open-source model for global cooling and heating energy demand that they developed. Their analysis and commentary has frequently been cited in media outlets such as The New York Times, the Financial Times and Forbes.

CEP anniversaryThe current Head of Department, Professor Jem Woods, said: “Our courses go from strength to strength and our work is more important than ever as we face the increasingly critical and urgent problems buffeting our natural environment and challenging the support services it provides to humanity.”

The CEP also remembered co-founder, Professor Sir Gordon Conway, who sadly died in July 2023. Professor Conway’s career was emblematic of CEP’s mission, focusing on international food security and leaving an indelible mark on the world of environmental policy.

Professor Conway held prestigious positions throughout his career. He was the first non-American President of the Rockefeller Foundation, and most recently led the Agriculture for Impact Programme at Imperial. The Programme looked for ways to enhance agricultural development for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We will continue to build on the science-policy interface educating current and future decision makers to provide them with the intellectual tools to find solutions to these challenges,” Professor Woods said. We look forward to another 45 years of success!


Jacklin Kwan

Jacklin Kwan
Faculty of Natural Sciences


Environment, Alumni, History-of-the-College
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