We will be transdisciplinary

Only by bringing together expertise from different disciplines can we solve today’s global challenges.

The global challenges of today and the future are complex. We can only hope to address them through collaboration between disciplines and with partners. While we cannot anticipate all the challenges ahead, the College is well placed to contribute across four key themes: sustainable society, resilient society, smart society and healthy society.

In action

Actions in detail

  • Informed by the views of our global community, we will review and refocus our research programmes on a regular basis as challenges and opportunities emerge and evolve. We will promote a dynamic exchange of ideas and staff between our core disciplines and these transdisciplinary themes. Through our flexible framework of transdisciplinary networks, centres and institutes, we will continue to facilitate working across disciplines, transcending faculty boundaries to enable the efficient progression of scientific endeavour.
  • We will develop several new multidisciplinary hubs at our White City Campus that enable new routes to discovery and innovative approaches to global challenges. Like the Sir Michael Uren Hub, these hubs will be configured to encourage close team working and serendipitous encounters between engineers, scientists and clinicians. The buildings will be designed to be adaptable so that new global challenges can be accommodated.
  • We will embed transdisciplinary in our teaching and learning, equipping our students to tackle global challenges which cross disciplinary boundaries.

Case study

Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Our Global Institutes address some of the most important issues facing the world today. Harnessing the tremendous research strength areas of the College, the Grantham Institute addresses issues including fundamental understanding of climate processes, environmental impacts, mitigation technologies and policies. A small core team works with over 200 staff across Imperial to translate their knowledge into real-world impact.

The Institute appoints cross-disciplinary Lecturers who conduct research, teaching and engagement within their home department. It teaches the award-winning Master’s in Climate Change, Management and Finance jointly with Imperial College Business School, runs a UKRI NERC Doctoral Training Partnership with over 120 students across the College and recently opened a free online course in low-carbon policymaking for developing countries.


The policy and communications team champion public engagement with climate change action, facilitate thought leadership through traditional and digital media, influence policy- and decision-making and run a busy events programme for stakeholders throughout the year. In 2019, the Institute launched a campaign to create a Centre for Climate Change Innovation at the White City Campus, harnessing London’s concentration of entrepreneurship, climate finance and business skills to solve the climate crisis.

Ten years after it was founded, thanks to a visionary donation from the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, the Grantham Institute is a leading authority on climate and environmental science, trusted by politicians, policymakers, businesses and the public.


A scientist from The Paediatric Microbiome Research Group inoculates a blood agar plate at St Mary’s Campus

Chiral Layers

Microscope images of chiral layers of carbon based polymers generated while developing new materials for light emitting-diodes


Brain stimulation work using exogenous electric fields to noninvasively modulate human brain oscillations at the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI)