Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Professor of Surgical Education and Engagement Science



r.kneebone Website




ICCESS, Academic SurgeryChelsea and Westminster HospitalChelsea and Westminster Campus





Roger Kneebone directs the Imperial College Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS), based within the Division of Surgery on the Chelsea & Westminster campus. Roger and his co-director Professor Fernando Bello lead a multidisciplinary research team whose aim is to advance human health through simulation, collaborating closely with clinicians, scientists, patients, publics and experts outside medicine. His current work explores science, medicine and engineering as performing, researching the human experience of conducting scientific work and drawing on the perspectives of the performing arts. He leads Performing Science, a three year project funded by Imperial's Learning & Teaching Strategy.

Further details on Roger's personal website

Roger's book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery was published by Penguin Viking in August 2020. His Gresham College Lecture in September 2020 outlines the themes of his book.

Roger also directs the Royal College of Music (RCM) - Imperial College Centre for Performance Science ( This ambitious collaboration, launched in 2016, explores challenges of performance across domains, from the arts, education and business to medicine, science and sport. Led jointly by Roger and Professor Aaron Williamon (RCM), the Centre draws on dynamic collaborations already in place across the two institutions. The CPS Performers in Residence programme brings together experts in magic, puppetry, embroidery, cooking, chemistry, illustration, percussion, broadcasting and combat flying.

Roger trained first as a general and trauma surgeon, working both in the UK and in Southern Africa. After finishing his specialist training, he decided to become a general practitioner and joined a large group practice in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. In the 1990s he pioneered an innovative national training programme for minor surgery within primary care, based around intensive workshops using simulated tissue models and a computer-based learning program. In 2003, Roger left his practice to join Imperial.

Roger is committed to education in it widest sense. In July 2011 he became the first Imperial academic to receive a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Award. Roger established and (with Dr Kirsten Dalrymple) leads the UK’s only Masters in Education (M Ed) in Surgical Education, which started in October 2005. This innovative programme builds on educational theory and practice to frame surgical education as an intersection between the biomedical sciences, the humanities and social sciences, and the visual and performing arts. From 2021 a Diploma in Surgical Education will also be offered online. 

Much of Roger’s research has focused on simulation. Key research concepts include Hybrid Simulation (the combination of professional actors with inanimate models to create realistic clinical encounters), Distributed Simulation(low-cost, portable yet highly convincing environments such as the ‘inflatable operating theatre’) and Sequential Simulation (concatenated sequences that model clinical pathways from multiple points of view). Current and recent grants include EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, Wellcome Trust, Imperial Charity and the Youth Endowment Fund.

Roger publishes widely and speaks frequently at national and international conferences. He has a wide range of professional interests and is especially interested in collaborative research at the intersections between traditional disciplinary boundaries ( ). Current work is exploring synergies between clinical care, biomedical science, art, humanities and performance ( Roger is fascinated by the embodied ways of knowing developed by experts in different fields and how these can inform one another (

Roger also explores how simulation can be used to recreate tacit and embodied surgical practices from the recent past ( He has worked on innovative projects with the Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wellcome Trust and Royal Institution as well as a number of major science festivals.  

Roger is committed to outreach and public engagement, leading numerous high profile Festivals and online to bring simulation into the public domain and highlight both the patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives. The award of a prestigious Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship in 2012 provided a unique opportunity for him to develop engagement and simulation science within and beyond Imperial. An ESRC-funded Symposium ('The Art of Performing Science') explored the 'embodied knowing' that underpins science, medicine and the arts.

Imperial's Chemical Kitchen is an innovative collaboration with Alan Spivey (Professor of Synthetic Chemistry at Imperial) and Jozef Youssef (Chef Patron of Kitchen Theory)

Roger and his ICCESS colleagues were awarded the 2016 Imperial President's Medal for Excellence in Societal Engagement. In recognition of his innovative work, Roger has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music (HonRCM), become the first Honorary Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Art School ( and been elected a full member of the Art Workers Guild.  Since 2018 he had been Gresham College Visiting Professor of Medical Education (

In January 2019 Roger was elected Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy of Arts, the fourteenth to hold this post since William Hunter at the establishment of the Royal Academy in 1768. 

Roger's regular podcast series Countercurrent is on iTunes. With over 200 episodes to date, Roger's conversations feature unorthodox people who swim against the tide (

Follow Roger on Twitter: @ProfKneebone

In the media

Countercurrent: Conversations with Professor Roger Kneebone

Health Check: Blow-up 'igloo' trains doctors (BBC website, October 2010) - click to view


The Art of Surgery encounters and connections


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kassab E, Tun JK, Arora S, et al., 2011, "Blowing up the Barriers" in Surgical Training: Exploring and Validating the Concept of Distributed Simulation, Ann Surg

Arora S, Aggarwal R, Sirimanna P, et al., 2011, Mental Practice Enhances Surgical Technical Skills <i>A Randomized Controlled Study</i>, Annals of Surgery, Vol:253, ISSN:0003-4932, Pages:265-270

Kneebone R, 2010, Simulation, safety and surgery, Quality & Safety in Health Care, Vol:19, ISSN:1475-3898, Pages:I47-I52

Kneebone RL, 2009, Practice, Rehearsal, and Performance An Approach for Simulation-Based Surgical and Procedure Training, JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol:302, ISSN:0098-7484, Pages:1336-1338

Kneebone R, 2009, Perspective: Simulation and Transformational Change: The Paradox of Expertise, Academic Medicine, Vol:84, ISSN:1040-2446, Pages:954-957

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