We are proud to be a major research university.
We’re a member of the prestigious Russell Group and have the highest proportion of "world-leading" and "internationally excellent” research of any major UK university.
Factors that contribute to our world leading reputation
World leading expertise
High impact research
Our community has a long history of world-changing discoveries. From Fleming's discovery of Penicillin and Gabor's invention of holography to Kibble’s contribution to the Higgs boson and Stevens’ work on rapid testing for AIDS and malaria.
We are committed to addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges as we channel our expertise into making the world a healthier, safer and cleaner place to live.
Today we have the highest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university.
We are a truly global community, bringing together the best people from around the world. Our researchers collaborate on a wide range of international projects and partnerships with institutions across the globe.
We're well known for our support of research that spans subject fields.
We offer funding, infrastructure and encouragement to bring researchers together across disciplines. We want to help our community explore different approaches to solving a problem.
The result is a dynamic culture of discovery which you can be a part of.
As a postgraduate student, you will be part of a highly respected research community.
Our academic staff include some of the world's most renowned scientists, medics and engineers. They come here from across the globe and contribute diverse perspectives, new ideas, and fresh approaches to solving complex problems:
Staff engineering novel solutions
- Emeritus Professor John Burland in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who oversaw an 11-year project to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa, saving it from collapse.
- Professor Vernon Gibson, visiting Professor in the Department of Materials, who took up the appointment of Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Defence on 2 July 2012.
- Professor Dame Julie Higgins, Senior Research Investigator in the Department of Chemical Engineering, who pioneered the use of a technique called neutron scattering to investigate materials, particularly polymers.
- Professor Sir John Pendry, known for his work on the 'invisibility cloak' and the perfect lens, who was awarded the 2014 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in honour of his contributions to nano-optics.
- Professor Molly Stevens, who has been appointed as a Chair in Emerging Technologies by the Royal Society of Engineering. The highly prestigious ten-year funding – given to global visionaries pioneering technologies that could have global benefits – is in recognition of Molly's work in regenerative medicine.
Staff transforming health and wellbeing
- Professor Lord Ara Darzi, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and UK Global Ambassador for Health and Life Sciences.
- Regius Professor Chris Toumazou, developer of one of the world’s first cochlear implants, enabling deaf people to hear.
- Sir Magdi Yacoub, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the National Heart and Lung Institute, who established the largest heart and lung transplantation programme in the world and developed novel operations for a number of complex congenital heart anomalies.
- Professor Barbara Bain, who received a lifetime achievement award from the British Society for Haematology in 2017 for her exceptional contributions to the field throughout her career.
- Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Director of Imperial's Hamlyn Centre, was awarded a CBE in 2017 for his contributions to biomedical engineering.
- Professor Zoltan Takats, inventor of the iKnife, which can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.
Staff leading discovery and the natural world
- Professor Simon Donaldson, Fields medal winner in the Department of Mathematics, who was jointly awarded the 2020 Wolf Prize for Mathematics, one of the world’s most prestigious academic accolades.
- Professor Michele Dougherty, a Principal Investigator on the Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn, and on the JUICE spacecraft, due to reach Jupiter’s largest moon in around 2030, who was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal in 2017.
- Dr Eva-Maria Graefe from the Mathematical Physics research group, one of four scientists from a list of 280 promising female scientists to be awarded a fellowship from cosmetics firm L’Oréal for her work in quantum mechanics.
- Emeritus Professor Sir Peter Knight, Senior Research Investigator in the Department of Physics, who was until December 2010 chair of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council at the UK Ministry of Defence, remains a Government science advisor and was a Council member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council until 2012.
- Professor Tejinder (Jim) Virdee in the Department of Physics, who is best known for originating the concept and overseeing the construction of Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
- Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies, known for his many TV documentaries like the BBC's Child of our Time.
- Professor Sanjeev Gupta, a scientist and long-term Science Planner on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission, which is currently exploring Gale Crater.
Research in action
We invest in ways to bring your research to life and increase its impact.
Imperial Lates and Great Exhibition Road Festival
These public engagement activities provide opportunities for the public, students and staff to meet our researchers and discuss their work.
Our Exploration Board aims to support projects that strike a balance between scientific research and an adventurous holiday.
Past expeditions include:
- scaling the big walls in Yosemite National Park, California;
- living for a month, unsupported, on the ice and rock of the rarely explored territories of the Saint Elias Range in Alaska;
- exploring white water kayaking in remote parts of the Peruvian Andes.
Public lectures programme
Our public lecture series gives you the chance to hear from world-renowned scientists.
Recent speakers include three Nobel Laureates:
- Michael Levitt (Stanford University School of Medicine), who won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry;
- Professor Serge Haroche (Collège de France), who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics;
- Professor Brian Josephson (University of Cambridge), who won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics.
All new professors are invited to give an inaugural lecture to celebrate their promotion. These events are a great way of getting to know a professor and their area of expertise, and what motivates them in life and work.
Doctoral training centres
Centres for Doctoral Training and Doctoral Training Partnerships
We want to train our postgraduates to tackle society’s big challenges, drawing on the talent and imagination across the College. Our Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are a key part of this.
We're also home to a number of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).
Both types of training centre offer a new way of achieving your PhD. CDT research tends to be more focused, whereas research within a DTP can span a wide variety of areas. Each CDT and DTP recruit a cohort of PhD students every year. They reflect the increasingly collaborative nature of modern science by bringing together a broad spectrum of experts.
The CDT/DTP experience
Studying in a CDT or DTP means working alongside a tightly knit cohort of peers from different disciplines.
Each cohort starts at the same time with a one-year MSc or MRes. This is an intensive year, with taught elements and assessed work to bring you up to speed with the cutting edge science in the core research area.
You also complete an individual research project, lasting around nine months for MRes students and four months if you’re doing an MSc.
If you pass this first year, you continue your research into your three-year PhD project. With at least two supervisors, you’ll work alongside your peers, researchers in other departments, other universities or industry.
You will receive training from the Graduate School throughout your programme. This will help consolidate important transferable skills that are all part of the experience. These include communication, team building, and management and leadership.
This also helps you to form bonds within your cohort group, supporting each other through the experience and drawing on each other's expertise.
New White City campus
A major new campus
We're investing £3bn in a brand new campus, close to our South Kensington home.
An on-going development, White City Campus is a 25-acre campus in the White City area of London – named after the white marble of the pavilions built for the 1908 summer Olympics and the 1909 Imperial International Exhibition.
It provides a base for researchers, businesses and partners to work alongside each other. This campus aims to accelerate the translation of our research into real social and economic benefits.
Our nearby Hammersmith Campus allows unique opportunities to further the College's extensive work in healthcare translation and collaboration with the NHS.
The new campus also allows us to expand the facilities and support we offer our student entrepreneurs.
The Invention Rooms contain an advanced hackspace for members of the College, and a mixture of workshops and interactive spaces where members of the local community can connect with the College’s research through a series of programmes and activities.
The I-HUB, our new translation and innovation hub, provides a place for start-ups and major technology partners to work alongside members of our academic community and gain access to laboratories, incubators and flexible workspaces.
An enterprise culture
Within the university sector, Imperial has led the way in technology transfer and commercialisation of ideas.
We provide the support and infrastructure to set up businesses and license technologies to set up businesses and license technologies, helping our research to reach the people who need it the most.
If you're a budding entrepreneur or innovator, you'll have every opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and experience you need to bring your ideas to life.
Imperial Innovations is on hand to help turn academic research into commercially viable ventures.
Their dedicated technology transfer team works with both staff and student inventors throughout this process. This leads to the licensing of your technology to industry partners, or the creation of a new business.
They also have a ventures team to invest in opportunities based on intellectual property developed at, or associated with the academic community at Imperial and the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and UCL.
Working with Imperial Innovations, we have created spin-out companies that have gone on to raise over £600m since 2006.