Imperial's impact across the UK

The positive impact of Imperial research and innovation beyond the borders of our university

A national asset like Imperial has a critical role to play in a research-led recovery from the effects of COVID-19. Through our academic, industry and community partnerships we help to drive economic growth, provide skills and improve health outcomes across the UK. Our discoveries and inventions are helping to solve key challenges and advance technologies that underpin our vital public services and industries.

We are building ‘innovation bridges’ with our partners to enable the translation of technology and sharing of experience to accelerate local innovation. Our new interactive impact map below highlights just some of our research and innovation collaborations that have benefits far beyond the borders of our university – powering dynamic local economics across the country and cementing our status as a global science superpower. By hovering over the icons on the map you can explore examples of Imperial research projects that have real local or UK wide impact.

Imperial's impact across the UK

North Sea, east of Hull

Offshore energy

Working closely with industry, researchers at Imperial are improving the safety of offshore energy developments through advancements in foundation design, allowing them to expand into deeper waters and reducing the cost of offshore wind electricity prices. This work has benefited projects such as the Hornsea wind farm, the Burbo Bank Offshore wind farm, the Walney wind farm, and the Triton Knoll wind farm.


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.


Greener manufacturing

Imperial researchers have developed a new technology for manufacturing aluminium automotive parts which could lower carbon emissions and energy consumption during production, as well as increasing recycling of materials. This technology has been used by PAB Coventry to manufacture aluminium panels for cars produced by companies like Aston Martin and Lotus Cars.


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.


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.



Sensium, which began its life as an Imperial start-up, 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.



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


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.


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.

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.



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.


BioMin Technologies

The dental materials company BioMin Technologies, an Imperial start-up, 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.


Clean Tech Accelerator

Imperial’s CleanTech Accelerator supports climate positive start-ups through business coaching, masterclasses, workspace, and equity-free grant funding. In recent years, the centre has supported including companies like Imperial start-up Econic based in Macclesfield which is turning waste carbon dioxide into useful products, and Mimica with locations in Chester and Wrexham which has developed a temperature-sensitive label to reduce food waste.


Hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen fuel cell technology could significantly reduce, or even eliminate, carbon emissions in areas like transportation. Imperial start-up Bramble Energy is at the forefront of overcoming barriers to its adoption by drawing on established supply chains to enable quick manufacturing scale-up. The company now provides hardware to a number of downstream companies, such as ZOT Engineering in Musselburgh.



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.


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.


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.


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.


Fiber lasers

Drawing upon research conducted at Imperial, start-up 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.



Imperial research into biomedical and biotechnology imaging technology has been successfully commercialised by spin-out deltaDOT. The technology has been adopted by the NHS for purposes such as in vaccine quality-control, helping to ensure that such treatments are effective and safe.



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.



Microscopy company Cairn Research Ltd, based in Faversham, has worked closely with Imperial researchers to develop an open-source, easily maintained and modifiable microscope frame that can be developed at relatively low cost compared to existing instruments. This technology aims to make advanced microscopy techniques more accessible and sustainable to scientific researchers.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Understanding COVID-19

Imperial researchers have worked with the University of Liverpool and University of Edinburgh to identify risk factors for a reduced chance of survival in people who suffer severe coronavirus symptoms. Drawing on results from a study of 17,000 COVID-19 patients, this research found that being obese significantly increases mortality risk from the virus. This works helps to inform clinical interventions and wider public health strategies to tackle COVID-19.


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.


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.

West London

White City campus

Our White City campus is powering entrepreneurship and regeneration: here we are supporting tech start-ups 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.

West London

West London regeneration

Our White City campus is powering entrepreneurship and regeneration: here we are supporting tech start-ups 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.

West London

White City

Our White City campus is powering entrepreneurship and regeneration: here we are supporting tech start-ups 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Research pipeline

GlaxoSmithKline, with locations in Middlesex, Durham, Slough, Stevenage and Cumbria, has recently redesigned its R&D process to make more regular assessments of the chance of success of a research project at different stages of development. The predictions of success are based on the BUGS software package developed by Imperial researchers, which enables the analysis of complex statistical models.


Supporting doctors

Imperial scientists have collaborated with the NHS and Google to produce Streams, a digital tool which supports clinical workflow and decision-making now in clinical practice across the UK and worldwide. This technology is helping to improve efficiency within the NHS and improve patient outcomes by supporting clinicians in how they structure their work.


Cystic fibrosis

Imperial's Professor Jane Davies led the UK arm of the Ivacaftor trial which led to the development of a new, practice-changing treatment for cystic fibrosis. It has now received regulatory approval after showing to be effective in improving lung health in adults with the condition.


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.


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.


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.


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.



SynSapien – a start-up 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.


Convalescent plasma

Imperial’s Professor Anthony Gordon is leading a trial involving 50 hospitals across the UK to investigate whether giving coronavirus patients blood plasma from people who have recovered from the disease will increase their speed of recovery and survival chances. REMAP-CAP, which will help to understand whether convalescent plasma is an effective treatment for coronavirus patients, has been identified by the government as a key clinical trial for COVID-19.


Antibody tests

Imperial’s Professor Helen Ward is leading a national study called REACT 2 to assess a number of rapid COVID-19 antibody tests for their accuracy and to see how easy they are for people to use at home. In the world’s largest antibody surveillance test, more than 100,000 volunteers have now been sent testing kits. The study will help to better understand the accuracy of antibody tests, which are important in monitoring the spread of coronavirus and informing public health interventions.



The government has ordered 5.8 million high-speed coronavirus test kits from DnaNudge – an Imperial start-up initially based at White City – to be used in NHS hospitals across the UK, with further deployment in out-of-hospital settings such as care homes. These highly-accurate, lab-free test kits deliver results in under 90 minutes – compared to 1-2 days for lab-based testing – helping to support clinicians in providing the best care for patients and support for staff.


Low cost ventilators

Imperial researchers have developed a low cost, high performance emergency ventilator called JamVent which does not rely on specialist parts, but can perform the demanding tasks necessary for treating patients with COVID-19. The device could help offer a solution to ventilator shortages worldwide, particularly in developing countries. The team have made the design freely available for manufacturers and health services around the world to download to help them in the fight against coronavirus.


COVID vaccine

Imperial’s Professor Robin Shattock is leading one of the most advanced trials of a vaccine candidate for COVID-19 in the world. His team, which has been awarded £41 million from government, is currently carrying out human clinical trials of the vaccine to find out if it is safe and effective. If successful, due to how it is manufactured anyone with the genetic code could design the vaccine on a computer and then produce it – it therefore would be cheaper, easier and faster to produce on a mass scale than conventional vaccines.



The Advanced Hackspace at our White City campus has been involved in the assembly and production of disposable plastic visors to protect healthcare workers during COVID-19. A small team of volunteers are overseeing the production of up to 50,000 visors as part of a collaborative project between the Hackspace and Imperial College NHS Trust. Together, they have developed, optimised and evaluated the visors to ensure they are appropriate for use.

Key to faculty

  • Engineering
  • Business School
  • Natural Sciences
  • Medicine

Credit: map design by Ian Dutnall