A national asset like Imperial has a critical role to play in the Levelling Up AgendaThrough our academic, industry and community partnerships Imperial has an impact well beyond its campuses. Our partnerships support local and national industrial strategies and by co-locating with start-ups and global companies we create jobs and economic growth in our communities across the UK.

Our interactive impact map demonstrates just some of the ways Imperial science and innovation drives economic activity and improves quality of life in all regions and nations of the UK. By hovering over the icons on the map you can explore examples of Imperial research projects that have local or UK wide impact. 

Credit: map design by Ian Dutnall

Imperial's impact across the UK

Macclesfield

More sustainable plastics

Imperial spin-out company Econic Technologies uses waste carbon dioxide to produce polymers, replacing a portion of traditional oil-based materials, to produce a wide range of products, including polyurethane, surfactants, films and adhesives. This reduces greenhouse emissions, raw material usage and production costs. Econic is working with industry to create commercial demand for its technology, such as through a partnership with Drax Group to utilise the waste carbon dioxide from its biomass generation.

Bristol

Photonic quantum computing

Imperial’s Professor Terry Rudolph partnered with researchers from the Centre for Quantum Photonics to found start-up PsiQuantum in 2015. Based on their research, the company is aiming to create the world’s first useful quantum computer – with applications across energy, industry, healthcare and government – using photonic approaches. Imperial and Bristol University received a patent in 2015 on one feature of silicon photonics which was subsequently purchased by PsiQuantum. The company now has more than 30 other patents.

Guildford

Environmental DNA technology

Imperial researchers have developed environmental DNA techniques to transform ecological monitoring. These can be used to characterise living organisms from a substrate (e.g. water, air, soil), being more sensitive and efficient, and less invasive, than traditional methods. Working with academic partners, companies (such as Guildford-based spin-out NatureMetrics) and government, they develop tests to survey endangered species, country-wide surveys of pollinators, and biodiversity audits brought to market nationally and globally.

Glasgow

Resistant cancers

Imperial research has led to the development of the drug Samuraciclib which is effective in treating breast and prostate cancer in some patients, leading to an increase in progression-free survival. The drug has now completed its Phase IIa trials in 30 hospitals in the US and UK, including London, Oxford, Glasgow, Manchester and Southampton, and has already improved the lives of critically ill patients with resistant breast and prostate cancers. Further trials are underway to investigate its effectiveness in combination with other drugs.

Birmingham

Resilience of buildings

Researchers in Imperial's Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed new engineering methods to improve the resilience of building structures against fire and blast. These methodologies are now codified in UK and international standards, and have been used in the design of dozens of buildings. Some examples are iconic buildings in Birmingham, London and Manchester, as well as for the Qatar 2022 World Cup games, to name but a few.

Ebbw Vale

Battery recycling

Imperial spin-out Solvatech is working with Envirowales, a battery recycling plant based in Ebbw Vale, to develop a new, low-temperature, low-energy recycling process for lead batteries. Typically, recycling lead batteries requires smelting – a very energy-intensive process which has to be monitored careful to prevent the escape of toxic fumes. This new method using green chemistry not only significantly reduces energy consumption, but minimises the risk to health and the environment of the recycling process.

Nationwide

Cardiovascular health

Imperial's UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit is at the forefront of research into the long-term health effects of environmental noise exposures from transport, identifying a link between aircraft and road traffic noise with cardiovascular disease and mortality. These data together with work at Imperial's MRC Centre for Environment and Health are feeding into strategies to improve public health - including the Scottish Government's clean air strategy - such as by reducing private vehicle travel use and the introduction of low-emission zones.

Peterborough

Food hygiene

Imperial startup Fresh Check is developing products which are revolutionising the way the world thinks about cleanliness – it has produced the first affordable test for surface contamination with a simple colour changing spray. Utilising facilities in Peterborough and Carmarthenshire, Fresh Check is creating new products which will be made in the UK and exported around the world. Simpler hygiene verification will make it easier for the 7,130 SMEs employing 135,000 in the UK food and drink sector to expand.

Near Middlesbrough

Chemical pollution

Imperial startup Puraffinity has developed a sustainable adsorbent material which can selectively capture micro-pollutants from wastewater. The startup has long been supported by Imperial: as student entrepreneurs our Enterprise Lab helped to turn their ideas into a new business and they were one of the first companies to move into the White City Incubator. The company is now subcontracting a new manufacturing centre near Middlesbrough which will reduce the impact of chemical pollution on the environment and public health.

Belfast

Drug research

Biomedical research by Imperial’s Institute for Chemical Biology has led to significant developments in the area of drug discovery, diagnostics and personal care. The ICB collaborates with a number of partners across the UK in multidisciplinary research and training, including the Centre for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, with which it partners in pioneering studies such as one to develop non-resistible treatments for the common cold.

Carmarthenshire

Food hygiene

Imperial startup Fresh Check is developing products which are revolutionising the way the world thinks about cleanliness – it has produced the first affordable test for surface contamination with a simple colour changing spray. Utilising facilities in Peterborough and Carmarthenshire, Fresh Check is creating new products which will be made in the UK and exported around the world. Simpler hygiene verification will make it easier for the 7,130 SMEs employing 135,000 in the UK food and drink sector to expand.

Sunderland

Electric vehicles

Imperial is working with Nissan, headquartered in Sunderland, and five other partners from academia and industry to investigate using electric vehicles as flexible energy storage for the UK’s electricity grid. This could lead to technologies where vehicle owners can sell electricity back to the energy grid during times of high demand, with the potential to reduce the strain on the grid and fossil fuel reliance.

Portsmouth

Surgical biosensors

Imperial research led to the development of a biosensor which has been used by surgeons in Portsmouth to monitor restricted blood supply in tissue for cancer patients undergoing reconstruction of the face and jaw. This technology has enabled surgeons to remove otherwise undetected blood clots in patients which could have otherwise led to septicaemia.

Warrington

Supercomputers

Research undertaken at Imperial into accelerating computer algorithms has been commercialised through Maxeler Technologies. This startup has supplied supercomputing facilities to organisations across the UK, including the Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, which is at the forefront of advances in supercomputing technology.

Leeds

Sensium

Sensium, which began its life as an Imperial startup, has developed an ultra-low power system for patient vital sign monitoring to notify doctors of deterioration and allow interventions before their condition becomes more serious. The system has been piloted in hospitals like St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, where it demonstrated clinical benefits for patients.

Nationwide

Marine pollution

Imperial academics have developed a model of ocean flow based on observations of GPS-tracked drifters to investigate the transport of microplastics, demonstrating where cleaning up plastics would be most effective and give greatest benefit to the marine environment. The research has helped inform public policy towards microplastics in the UK by strengthening the evidence base about the damage which they cause to marine life, contributing towards the UK government’s decision to ban microbeads and single-use plastics.

Nationwide

Climate finance

Imperial's Business School is increasingly partnering with financial services to examine how to expand the availability of climate finance. This includes a recent partnership with the HSBC Centre for Sustainable Finance to explore how to ensure adequate lending for low-carbon solutions, thereby contributing to the UK’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Derby

Electric flight

Imperial has been collaborating with Rolls-Royce, whose civil aerospace division is based in Derby, for over 30 years through the Vibration University Technology Centre. Together we are developing the underpinning science which will ultimately enable the transition to all-electric flight. The CORNERSTONE Prosperity partnership is working towards fundamental changes in the architecture of engines which will result in increased power density and efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved sustainability and safety, and longer lifespan.

Derby

Electric flight

Imperial has been collaborating with Rolls-Royce, whose civil aerospace division is based in Derby, for over 30 years through the Vibration University Technology Centre. Together we are developing the underpinning science which will ultimately enable the transition to all-electric flight. The CORNERSTONE Prosperity partnership is working towards fundamental changes in the architecture of engines which will result in increased power density and efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved sustainability and safety, and longer lifespan.

Derby

Electric flight

Imperial has been collaborating with Rolls-Royce, whose civil aerospace division is based in Derby, for over 30 years through the Vibration University Technology Centre. Together we are developing the underpinning science which will ultimately enable the transition to all-electric flight. The CORNERSTONE Prosperity partnership is working towards fundamental changes in the architecture of engines which will result in increased power density and efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved sustainability and safety, and longer lifespan.

Belfast

Data issues

Imperial is collaborating with Queen’s University Belfast and other UK universities to deliver the SPRITE+ network which aims to build a network of both academics and non-academics to consider issues around digital security, privacy and trust. In addition to support for early career researchers, the network will help to develop the research community in this field while engaging stakeholders communities to examine and address some of the key challenges of our digital age.

West London

White City

Our White City campus is powering entrepreneurship and regeneration: here we are supporting tech startups to flourish – creating jobs and driving innovation at a local and national level. Companies based in the White City Incubator have attracted almost £100m investment from 2016 to 2019. The campus is in an area with high levels of deprivation: through outreach with schools, businesses and charities, we are helping to address local challenges, such as through our Advanced Hackspace where local entrepreneurs can access specialist equipment.

Redhill

Ceres Power

Ceres Power, an Imperial spin-out which is developing fuel cells to bring cleaner and cheaper energy to businesses, homes and industry, is investing £7 million in a new blueprint manufacturing facility in Redhill, which is expected to create 60 new, highly-skilled jobs.

Bristol

Safe venues

Public Health England and the government have funded Imperial to collaborate with the University of Bristol to investigate the level of respiratory particles released when talking or singing at different loudness levels. This work is helping to inform public health advice on the reopening of venues and safe distancing, ensuring that guidance is evidence-based and effective in keeping people safe.

Bristol

Safe venues

Public Health England and the government have funded Imperial to collaborate with the University of Bristol to investigate the level of respiratory particles released when talking or singing at different loudness levels. This work is helping to inform public health advice on the reopening of venues and safe distancing, ensuring that guidance is evidence-based and effective in keeping people safe.

Nationwide

COVID vaccine

A study led by Imperial’s Professor Robin Shattock has shown that self-amplifying RNA COVID-19 vaccine technology is safe in humans, paving the way for the production of future vaccines and boosters, as well as emerging variants and other diseases. These vaccines are ultra-low dose, quick to produce, less likely to have side effects than other vaccine types, and could be combined with other vaccines such as flu.

Nationwide

Stroke treatment

Imperial research has led to the wider use of mechanical thrombectomy, a treatment for ischaemic stroke. Despite evidence of the procedure’s clinical benefits, its use was limited by a lack of cost effectiveness data. Research from Imperial provided the first evidence of substantial long-term cost savings that offset higher treatment costs, contributing to the health regulator recommending the procedure. From 2015 to 2020, the number of patients treated this way increased nearly four-fold to 1,607, with 70.3% experiencing marked improvement.

Nationwide

REACT study

The REACT study has been estimating the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England since May 2020 through testing throat and nose swabs from a random sample of 100,000 or more individuals aged 5 years and above, over two to three weeks each month. These data have been crucial in understanding how Covid-19 is spreading and in informing and evaluating different public health measures, such as the timing of lockdowns, social gathering rules, and school closure policies as well as monitoring the progress of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Nationwide

REMAP-CAP trial

REMAP-CAP is a platform trial created to evaluate multiple treatments for critically ill patients with coronavirus. It has demonstrated that both hydrocortisone and interleukin-6 receptor blockers, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, are effective in reducing mortality and time spent in intensive care. Using both drugs in combination is most effective and are now used around the world, improving survival in the sickest patients with COVID-19, saving thousands of lives. Over 12,000 patients have already been treated in 2021 in the UK.

Nationwide

SynSapien

SynSapien – a startup supported by Imperial’s Enterprise Lab – is developing an open innovation platform to bring together scientists, researchers and innovators from around the world to share data and collaboratively solve global challenges. The platform currently has launched several projects bringing together an interdisciplinary community of several hundred scientists, researchers, and students across the world, including one to design a low-cost emergency ventilator to help lower income communities respond to COVID-19.

Liverpool

Understanding COVID-19

Imperial researchers have worked with the University of Liverpool and University of Edinburgh to identify a key inflammatory protein linked to severe COVID-19, with this protein being almost ten times higher in those that died from the virus. These insights into the molecular drivers of disease are crucial in improving the understanding and clinical management of COVID-19, and could provide a target for new treatments for the disease.

Exeter

Public health

In collaboration with the University of Exeter, researchers from Imperial are helping to inform public health strategies to tackle COVID-19. Findings from a joint study has assessed the health risk of coronavirus to the 7.3 million adults aged 60 to 69 in the UK, demonstrating that this group are at significant risk compared to younger groups and recommending measures to protect them.

Peterborough

Reducing emissions

Researchers at Imperial developed the concept for the turbochargers in the Caterpillar C.4. diesel engine, which is being manufactured in the tens of thousands at Caterpillar’s Peterborough plant. These turbochargers improve the energy efficiency of the engine, reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Nationwide

Disease modelling

J-IDEA, the world’s most advanced centre for disease and emergency analytics, is where Imperial’s scientists are leading the response to the coronavirus. Imperial’s regular modelling reports have been critical in the global response to the COVID-19 crisis and in advising the UK government and public bodies on the best measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus. The data and code underpinning its findings are accessible online for anyone to read, allowing other scientists to scrutinise and learn from our research.

Bristol

Addiction research

Imperial partnered with the University of Bristol and Kings College London to deliver the MRC Addiction Research Clinical Training programme for postgraduate students in order to train the next generation of clinical research leaders focusing on addiction. Such training is essential to ensuring sufficient expertise in this crucial area of clinical neuroscience and making further progress in developing strategies and treatments to tackle addiction.

Leeds

Regional funding gaps

Imperial researchers are advising government on regional equity funding gaps, identifying regions likely to face funding gaps and also where is susceptible to local investors who are investing outside their regions. This work, which was carried out in collaboration with the University of Leeds, provided evidence that helped to change government policy to encourage venture capital investment in regions with lower current investment, such as northern England.

Bridgwater

Infrastructure innovation

Imperial researchers have worked with partners to form the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform (i3P), which is working to increase performance and drive innovation in infrastructure across the UK. Membership is open to clients and their supply chains, with current members including large regional employers like Hinkley Point C, Crossrail and HS2.

Bristol

Addiction research

Imperial partnered with the University of Bristol and Kings College London to deliver the MRC Addiction Research Clinical Training programme for postgraduate students in order to train the next generation of clinical research leaders focusing on addiction. Such training is essential to ensuring sufficient expertise in this crucial area of clinical neuroscience and making further progress in developing strategies and treatments to tackle addiction.

Brighton

Hepatitis C

A recent study undertaken by Imperial researchers of clinics in Brighton and London found a downward trend in new cases of hepatitis C amongst HIV positive men and attributed this to regular screening and greater access to antiviral treatments. Following this study, NHS England changed their guidelines to make antiviral treatment more accessible to people with hepatitis C.

Nationwide

Biomedical research

Imperial’s Biomedical Research Centre led an analysis of data from over 250,000 patients who had experienced chest pain which resulted in a better understanding of how the body regulates heart contractions. It is also supporting the development of a digital sepsis alert tool for hospitals through its work on a trial involving 21,000 patients which was shown to reduce risk of mortality.

Nationwide

Gene therapies

In partnership with other London hospitals and universities, Imperial is developing manufacturing capability for gene and cell therapies, which can then be tested and evaluated. This has included world-leading research into new treatments for cystic fibrosis and haemopholia, and experimental studies testing modified gut hormones in obesity.

Nationwide

Cystic fibrosis

Imperial's Professor Jane Davies has headed the UK arms of multiple trials of cystic fibrosis modulator drugs - four of which are now licensed and are leading to substantial health benefits in people with the condition.

Nationwide

Healthcare data

A statistical tool for monitoring hospital care using routine data, developed at Imperial with Dr Foster Ltd and widely used by English NHS hospitals, has improved standards of care and saved lives. In 2014, the regulator reviewed how 11 high-mortality hospitals responded to being placed in special measures and noted many improvements in their quality of care. Later evaluation found that 70% of the tool’s alerts identify quality-of-care problems, leading hospitals to change their processes, improving standards and lowering mortality rates.

Coventry

Greener manufacturing

Imperial research is helping to develop the next generation of green cars by making them more efficient, including through replacing steel in vehicles with light aluminium using Hot Form Quench technology. This research has been commercialised by Imperial startup Impression Technologies, which built the world’s first Hot Form Quench production facility in Coventry and currently employs 35 people in high-skilled roles. It produced over 100,000 units from a UK supplier in 2019.

Faversham

openFrame

Microscopy company Cairn Research Ltd, based in Faversham, is working closely with Imperial researchers to develop an open-source, easily maintained and modifiable microscope platform that can be developed at relatively low cost compared to existing instruments. This technology, which includes the modular openFrame microscope stand, aims to make advanced microscopy techniques more sustainable and accessible to a wider range of researchers and clinical scientists, particularly in lower resource settings.

Runcorn

Nanoco

Nanoco Ltd is just one of three companies in the world which is able to produce quantum dots – a material used in electronic displays, LED general lighting and thin firm solar cells. Now based in Runcorn and Manchester, Nanoco uses technology initially developed in labs at Imperial.

Mid Glamorgan

Water management

Imperial researchers work with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, which provides water to the majority of Wales, in improving the design, optimisation and control of next generation water systems. These dynamic water supply networks can modify their states to respond to changes in conditions, performance metrics and demand – making them more efficient, resilient and sustainable than older systems.

Southampton

Fiber lasers

Drawing upon research conducted at Imperial, startup Fianium Ltd pioneered the development of ultra-fast fiber lasers with applications in biomedicine, scientific research, and materials processing. The company is now part of NKT Photonics in Southampton, which has customers all around the world in a range of industries.

Rotherham

Civil aerospace

Imperial research to improve aeroengine performance using mathematical models has led to the development of a software package used by Rolls-Royce for engine prognostics and diagnostics to ensure the efficiency of aircraft. Rolls-Royce employees thousands of people in highly-skilled civil aerospace roles, including at sites in Rotherham, Washington and Inchinnan.

Nationwide

Green infrastructure

Imperial academics have developed predictive models to inform decisions about green infrastructure by quickly testing different scenarios on energy output and costs, as well as other factors such as government policies and fuel prices. This research has influenced the EU in deciding whether to approve state aid for nuclear power projects. The team has also informed the International Energy Agency’s modelling on the world-wide potential for offshore wind, thereby benefitting global strategy around reducing greenhouse emissions.

Sellafield

Nuclear safety

Imperial researchers are collaborating with industry bodies to make further advances in nuclear safety, such as in the inspection of nuclear power plant components. This work has been undertaken in collaboration with organisations based across the UK, including Rolls-Royce, Amec, EDF, BAE Systems, and the National Nuclear Laboratory in Sellafield.

Norwich

Mathematic simulations

Firedrake, a software package developed by Imperial researchers to simulate complex simulations, has been used by 40 user groups internationally, including the Met Office. It has supported work at the University of East Anglia and University of Leeds to simulate marine energy solutions in UK coastal waters.

Filton

Aerodynamics

Imperial researchers are working closely with Airbus in investigating the fluid dynamics of air flowing past and around aeroplane wings and engines. This work is supporting the development of new, lower emission aircraft by Airbus, which employs over 13,000 people across the UK, including at their production site in Filton which is responsible for wing design and engineering.

Musselburgh

Hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen fuel cell technology could significantly reduce, or even eliminate, carbon emissions in areas like transportation. Imperial startup Bramble Energy is at the forefront of overcoming barriers to its adoption by drawing on established supply chains to enable quick manufacturing scale-up. They work with companies like ZOT Engineering in Musselburgh to build fuel cell capacity across the UK.

Newcastle

Local transport

Building on research into improving the performance and management of mass transit systems, Imperial’s Transport Strategy Centre research team supported Tyne and Wear Metro’s successful bid to secure £337 million in capital funding from government for a new fleet of modernised trains.

Chester

Clean Tech Accelerator

Imperial’s CleanTech Accelerator supports climate positive startups through business coaching, masterclasses, workspace, and equity-free grant funding. In recent years, the centre has supported including companies such as Mimica with locations in Chester and Wrexham which has developed a temperature-sensitive label to reduce food waste. These labels experience decay at the same rate as food, helping consumers identify when food is safe to eat and when to dispose of it.

Stoke-on-Trent

BioMin Technologies

The dental materials company BioMin Technologies, an Imperial startup, has developed a novel toothpaste which is able to reduce tooth sensitivity and regenerate the surface of tooth enamel. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, the company builds on research undertaken partly at Imperial and now ships to consumers in over 40 countries across the world.

Edinburgh

OrganiCity

Working with the Future Cities Catapult and Intel, the OrganiCity project is exploring how local authorities, businesses and citizens can collaborate to develop digital solutions to urban challenges, making urban areas better places to live. The project has included research in Edinburgh to use audible recordings to monitor urban trends, such as the impact of human activity on local animal populations.

Swansea

Solar technology

Imperial is collaborating with Swansea University and the University of Oxford to develop the next generation of solar technologies using materials which are flexible, lightweight, cheap to produce, and can be printed onto products during manufacture. These technologies have the potential to power everyday devices, zero-emission vehicles and 5G telecommunication networks.

Nationwide

Methane emissions

Imperial’s Sustainable Gas Institute works with industry partners like Shell to explore the role of natural gas, hydrogen and biogas in the global energy landscape. In the past, the Institute’s research has led to a better understanding of the methane emissions from natural gas and produced principles for industry to follow to reduce these emissions from all stages of the supply chain.

Nationwide

Retail decarbonisation

A partnership between Imperial and Sainsbury’s was established in 2010 to reduce greenhouse emissions from retail activities through innovation, new technologies and changes in practice. This collaborative research with one of the UK’s largest food retailers covers everything from built environment, to transport, agri-tech and supply chain decarbonisation.

Glasgow

Smart energy

As an academic partner, Imperial is supporting the FUSION project led by Scottish Power Energy Networks which aims to develop a flexible, smart energy network where customers can sell available electricity capacity to meet local demands. It is estimated that by 2050 this approach could save customers £236 million in bills and reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 3.6 million tonnes.

Malmesbury

Robotics

Funded partly by a Prosperity Partnership, Imperial is working closely with Dyson, including researchers based at their Malmesbury campus, to build on innovations in robotic vacuum cleaners technology and apply them to new devices. This work, which also is supported by funding from Dyson, is at the forefront of developing the next generation of everyday products which utilise AI, which will enable them to manoeuvre complex household situations.

Sheffield

Neuroscience

Sheffield-headquartered Jaywing are collaborating with Imperial’s world-leading Data Science Institute to gain greater insight into what consumers think of adverts using neuroscience techniques such as measuring brainwave activity. Jaywing plans to use the results to help brands to better understand their customers and lead to more creative marketing.

Pontbren

Flood management

Research at Imperial has led to advances in flood risk management through developments in rainfall, catchment and urban modelling – drawing upon experimental evidence from sites in Pontbren. This work influenced the Welsh Government’s land management scheme for Wales which works with land-owners to improve water management and enhance biodiversity.

North Sea, east of Hull

Offshore energy

Working closely with industry, researchers at Imperial are improving the economy and safety of offshore wind energy. Their foundation design advances for monopile and jacket wind-turbine structures enable more secure developments, with ever larger turbines, in more difficult ground and deeper water, so reducing the cost of low carbon electricity. Their work is being applied in major North Sea and Baltic Sea windfarm projects including East Anglia Offshore-1, Hornsea, Triton Knoll and Wikinger, and is finding broader application internationally.

Key to faculty

  • Engineering
  • Business School
  • Natural Sciences
  • Medicine