Imperial College London
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Imperial College London

Imperial College London
Imperial College London crest.svg
MottoScientia imperii decus et tutamen (Latin)[note 1]
Motto in English
Scientific knowledge, the crowning glory and the safeguard of the empire
TypePublic research university
Established1907 by Royal Charter[2](1823 earliest medical school)
Endowment£157.1 million (as of 31 July 2017)[3]
Budget£1.027 billion (2017-2018)[3]
PresidentAlice Gast
ProvostIan Walmsley
VisitorThe Lord President of the Council ex officio
Academic staff
Administrative staff
United Kingdom
ColoursImperial Blue[5]      
Global Alliance of Technological Universities
Golden Triangle
Russell Group
Imperial College London logo.svg

Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine)[6] is a public research university located in London, England. In 1851, Prince Albert built his vision for a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Colleges, and the Imperial Institute.[7][8] In 1907, Imperial College was established by Royal Charter, bringing together the Royal College of Science, Royal School of Mines, and City and Guilds College.[9] In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed through a merger with St Mary's Hospital Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.

The main campus is located in South Kensington, with a new innovation campus in White City. The college also has a research centre at Silwood Park, and teaching hospitals throughout London. Imperial is organised through faculties of natural science, engineering, medicine, and business. Its emphasis is on the practical application of science and technology. The university is amongst the most international in the world,[10] with 59% of students from outside the UK and more than 140 countries represented on campus.[11]

In 2018-19, Imperial is ranked 8th globally in the QS World University Rankings, 9th in the THE World University Rankings, 24th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 8th in Reuters Top 100: World's Most Innovative Universities.[12][13][14][15] Student, staff, and researcher affiliations include 14 Nobel laureates, 3 Fields Medalists, 1 Turing Award winner, 74 Fellows of the Royal Society, 87 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and 85 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.[16]


Prince Albert was the main patron of the original colleges and the development of an area dedicated to science and technology at South Kensington

The college's origins can be traced back as far as the founding of the Royal College of Chemistry on Hanover Square in 1845, with the support of Prince Albert and parliament.[8] Following some financial trouble, this was absorbed in 1853 into the newly formed Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Arts, located on Jermyn Street. The school was renamed the Royal School of Mines a decade later.[17]

The medical school has roots in many different school across London, the oldest of which dates back to 1823, with the foundation of the teaching facilities at the West London Infirmary at Villiers Street.[18] Later known as Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, it was designed to provide medical education for the needs of a university.[19] This was followed in 1834 when Westminster Hospital surgeons started taking students under their care. Established on Dean Street, the school was forced to close in 1847, but was reopened in 1849 with a new specimen museum. The first teaching at St Mary's Hospital hospital in Paddington began in 1851, with St Mary's Hospital Medical School established in 1854.[19][20]

The Great Exhibition

Proceeds from the Great Exhibition of 1851 were designated by Prince Albert to be used to develop a cultural area in South Kensington for the use and education of the public.[21] Within the next 6 years the Victoria and Albert and Science museums had opened, joined by the Natural History Museum in 1881, and in 1888 the Imperial Institute. As well as museums, new facilities for the royal colleges were also constructed, with the Royal College of Chemistry and the Royal School of Mines moving to South Kensington between 1871 and 1872.[22]

In 1881 the Normal School of Science was established in South Kensington under the leadership of Thomas Huxley, taking over responsibility for the teaching of the natural sciences and agriculture from the Royal School of Mines.[23] The school was granted the name Royal College of Science by royal consent in 1890. As these institutions were not part of universities, they were unable to grant degrees to students, and instead bestowed associateships such as the Associateship of the Royal College of Science.[24]

The Central Institution of the City and Guilds of London Institute, formed by the City of London's livery companies, was opened on Exhibition Road by the Prince of Wales, founded to focus on providing technical education, with courses starting in early 1885.[9] The institution was renamed the Central Technical College in 1893, becoming a school of the University of London in 1900.[25]

20th century

At the start of the 20th century there was a concern that Britain was falling behind its key rivals - particularly Germany - in scientific and technical education, and the idea grew for a "British Charlottenburg", similar to the German Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg. In 1902, the Technical Education Board of London County Council called for the establishment of a similar institute for advanced technological training in London, and Richard Haldane had involved Lord Rosebery, Arthur Balfour and the Duke of Devonshire in a scheme to raise £600,000 as a trust fund for the proposed institution.[26]

A departmental committee was set up at the Board of Education in 1904, originally chaired by Francis Mowatt and (from 1905) by Haldane, officially to look into the future of the Royal College of Science. An interim report in 1905 asked if the government would support the unification of the two national schools of science in South Kensington - the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines - into a single institution. This was followed in 1906 by the final report that called for the establishment of this unified institution, also to take in - if agreement could be reached with the City and Guilds of London Institute - their Central Technical College. The committee was divided on whether the new institution should be incorporated into the University of London or be associated as a independent college of the university, but recommended that the establishment of the new institution should not wait for this question to be settled.[26][27]

On 8 July 1907, King Edward VII granted a Royal Charter establishing the Imperial College of Science and Technology. This incorporated the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science. It also made provisions for the Central Technical College to join once conditions regarding its governance were met, as well as for Imperial to become a college of the University of London.[28]. The latter of these was accomplished within a year, with Imperial joining the University of London on 22 July 1908.[29] The Central Technical College joined Imperial in 1910 under the name City and Guilds College.[9] The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute.

The foundation stone for the Royal School of Mines building was laid by King Edward VII in July 1909. There was controvery over the inscription on the foundation stone, which was originally to commemorate "the completion of the Royal College of Science ... henceforth to be known as the Imperial College of Science and Technology". This led to objections from the Royal School of Mines and the inscription being changed to commemorate instead "the new buildings of the Royal School of Mines ... and of the City and Guilds College of Engineering, which, with the Royal College of Science, form integral parts of the Imperial College of Science and Technology".[26]

While students at Imperial could study for University of London degrees, the three constituent colleges also awarded associateships at bachelor's level (Associateship of the Royal College of Science, ARCS, Associateship of the Royal School of Mines, ARSM, and Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute, ACGI). To these was added the Diploma of Imperial College (DIC), a postgraduate-level qualification first awarded in 1912.[30]

It was not long before agitation for full university status began. In January 1919, students and alumni met at the Imperial College Union and voted to sign a petition to make Imperial a university with its own degree awarding powers, independent of the University of London.[31] This won the backing of the rector and the professors, in addition to the majority of past and present students, and Nature called in 1920 for "a free and frank examination of the proposition in all its bearings, undisturbed and unprejudiced by lesser interests than that of increasing the efficiency of university education and especially of scientific education".[32] One of the issues raised was that, as Imperial was unable to grant degrees, only diplomas, students were going to America to study.[33] While Imperial did not gain its independence at this time, the University of London changed its regulations in 1925 so that the courses taught only at Imperial would be examined by the university, enabling students to gain a BSc.[34]

In October 1945, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Imperial to commemorate the centenary of the Royal College of Chemistry, which (as part of the Royal College of Science) was the oldest of the institutions that united to form Imperial College. "Commemoration Day", named after this visit, is held every October as the university's main graduation ceremony.[35][36]

Following the second world war, there was again concern that Britain was falling behind in science - this time to the United States. The Percy Report of 1945 noted that "there have been indications lately of a readiness of the English to move in the direction of American institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology".[37] The report of the Barlow Committee in 1946 advised doubling the number of graduates in science and technology and establishing a new technological university.[38] The idea of a "British MIT" was backed by influential scientists as politicians of the time, including Lord Cherwell, Sir Lawrence Bragg and Sir Edward Appleton,[37] but there was also strong opposition: the University Grants Committee (UGC) argued that "an institution confined to a narrow range of subjects is unfavorable to the highest attainment", while the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals stated that "a single-faculty institution cannot be a university".[37] In 1952, the government stated their intention of "building up at least one institution of university rank devoted predominantly to the teaching and study of the various forms of technology".[39] However, the continued opposition of the UGC led to a compromise being announced in 1953: Imperial College would be expanded, almost doubling in size (from 1,650 to 3,000 students) over the next ten years, as the "institution of university rank" promised in the government's policy, but would remain part of the University of London rather than becoming an independent technological university.[37][40]

The expansion of the college led to a number of new buildings being erected. These included the Hill building (1957) and the Physics building (1960), and the completion of the East Quadrangle, built in four stages between 1959 and 1965. The building work also meant the demolition of the City and Guilds College building in 1962-63.[41] The Imperial Institute building was also demolished between 1957 and 1967, although it remained partly occupied by the institute until 1962. Opposition from the Royal Fine Arts Commission and others meant that the central tower (now the Queen's Tower) was retained, with work carried out between 1966 and 1968 to make it free standing.[42]

New laboratories for biochemistry were established with the support of a £350,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation in 1959, which was also instrumental in attracting Ernst Chain to Imperial to head the biochemistry department.[43] The new buildings were opened by the Queen in 1965..[44]

A special relationship between Imperial and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi was established in 1963. Under this agreement, Imperial helped train Indian staff and academics from Imperial went on long term secondments to Delhi. In the same year, the Department of History of Science and Technology was established.[44]

From 1965, the UGC allocated 'indicated' funding to Imperial. While the grant continued to come thorough the University of London, the federal university, was no longer free to decide on Imperial's allocation out of its block grant. As the university used its grant to cross-subsidise weaker components of the federation, leading to complaints that stronger colleges were losing out, this was a situation envied by the other colleges.[45]

An agreement was made for the Architectural Association School of Architecture to join Imperial as a fourth constituent college,[41] but this was dependent on the Architectural Association raising £500,000 for a new building and did not take place. By the late 1960s, government funding was no longer so readily available, and in 1969, Imperial launched an appeal for £2 million. Over half of this was to be spent on student accommodation, with the aim that students would spend at least one year in college-owned halls of residence, the rest to be spent supporting research and teaching and on developing the Silwood Park field station.[46]

The Department of Management Science was created in 1971 out of the Management Engineering Section of the Mechanical Engineering Department. The Associated Studies Department was established in 1972, introducing foreign language teaching to Imperial.[47] The Humanities Department was formed in 1980 by merging the Associated Studies and History of Science departments.[48]

In 1988, Imperial merged with St Mary's Hospital Medical School under the Imperial College Act 1988. Amendments to the royal charter changed the formal name of the institution to The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and made St Mary's a constituent college.[49]

In 1995, Imperial launched its own academic publishing house, Imperial College Press, in partnership with World Scientific.[50] Imperial merged with the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1995 and the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS) and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1997. In the same year the Imperial College School of Medicine was formally established and all of the property of Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the National Heart and Lung Institute and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School were transferred to Imperial as the result of the Imperial College Act 1997.[51]

In 2000, Imperial merged with both the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Wye College, the University of London's agricultural college in Wye, Kent, which later closed.

21st century

In October 2002, a merger was proposed between Imperial and UCL that would have formed an institution with 28,000 students and a research budget of £400 million - more than Oxford and Cambridge combined. Richard Sykes, then Rector of Imperial, said that the merger "would lead to the creation of a truly world-class research-based institution with the resources necessary to compete effectively with the best in the world."[52][53] Strong opposition from academics, particularly at UCL where a "takeover by Imperial" was feared, led to the proposals being dropped a month later.[54]

In 2003, Imperial was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right by the Privy Council. The London Centre for Nanotechnology was established in the same year as a joint venture between UCL and Imperial College London.[55][56]

In 2004 the Imperial College Business School, originally known as the Tanaka Business School, and a new main entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II.[57] The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial. In 2008, the Tanaka Business School was renamed the Imperial College Business School.[58]

In November 2005 the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences merged to become the Faculty of Natural Sciences. On 9 December 2005, Imperial announced that it would commence negotiations to secede from the University of London.[59] Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007.[60][61][62] In July 2008 the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics was opened in the Materials department.

In April 2011, Imperial and King's College London joined the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) as partners with a commitment of £40 million each to the project. The centre was later renamed the Francis Crick Institute and opened on 9 November 2016. It the largest single biomedical laboratory in Europe.[63] In 2014 the Dyson School of Design Engineering was opened following a £12m donation by the James Dyson Foundation, along with courses such as the MEng in Design Engineering.[64]


The college is surrounded by many museums, such as the Natural History Museum

South Kensington

The South Kensington campus is the college's main campus, where most teaching and research takes place. The campus dates back to 1871,[65] and includes the land and buildings owned by the colleges which originally merged to form Imperial College: the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines, and the City and Guilds College. It is home to many notable buildings, such as the Business School and the Royal School of Mines. It is also the original site of the Imperial Institute, whose Queen's Tower still stands at the heart of the campus overlooking Queen's Lawn. As part of a cultural centre known as Albertopolis (based on the vision of Prince Albert) the campus is surrounded by many of London's most popular attractions, including the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace, museums including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum, and institutions such as the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, and the National Art Library.[66][67]

The campus has many restaurants and cafés run by the college,[68] and contains much of the college's student accommodation, including the Prince's Garden Halls, and Beit Hall, home to the college union, which runs student pubs, a nightclub, and a cinema on site. To the north, within easy walking distance from the college, are Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, with green spaces and sports facilities used by many of the student clubs.[69]

White City

A second major campus has started opening in White City, to the west of the main campus, providing an innovation hub for the college, including research facilities and commercialisation space, as well as postgraduate accommodation.[70] The chemistry department moved much of it's research to the new Molecular Sciences Research Hub on the campus in 2018,[71] with further departments and industry partners moving to the campus and surrounding area over the coming years.[72] The campus is also home to the Innovation Rooms, a college hackerspace and community outreach centre.[73]

Silwood Park

Silwood Park is a postgraduate campus of Imperial located in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot in Berkshire. The Silwood Park campus includes a centre for research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation set in 100 ha of parkland where ecological field experiments are conducted, and contains student halls for students studying for a degree on the site.


Imperial has teaching hospitals across London which are used by the School of Medicine for undergraduate clinical teaching and medical research.

Organisation and administration

Faculties and departments

53 Princes Gate, home of the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis
The Skempton Building is home to the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Imperial is organised through a network of faculties and departments:[75]

Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Surgery and Cancer
  • Institute of Clinical Sciences
  • National Heart and Lung Institute
  • School of Public Health
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Imperial College Business School
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Management

Global institutes

Imperial hosts global centres to promote inter-disciplinary work:


The Faculty Building, designed by Norman Foster

The highest academic official of Imperial College London is the President, formerly known as the Rector. The President is the chief executive, elected by the Council of the college and Chairman of the Senate.[76] The position has been held by Alice Gast, an American chemical engineer, since September 2014.[77]

In 2012, the additional post of Provost was created. James Stirling became the first Provost of Imperial College London in August 2013.[78] He was succeeded as Provost by Ian Walmsley in September 2018.

The council is the governing body of Imperial, it consists of 23 members including the Chairman, the President, the Provost, the President of the Imperial College Union, 4 members of senior staff, and between 9 and 13 lay members who are not employees of Imperial. The current Chair is Sir Philip Dilley.[79]

Finances and endowment

Imperial graduation ceremonies take place in the Royal Albert Hall

In 2017/18, Imperial had a consolidated income of £1,033.0 million. It has the eighth largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, and the second largest of the universities in London.[3] The college's endowment is sub-divided into three distinct portfolios:

  • Unitised Scheme - a unit trust vehicle for the college, Faculties and Departments to invest endowments and unfettered income to produce returns for the long term
  • Non-Core Property - a portfolio containing around 120 operational and developmental properties which the college has determined are not core to the academic mission
  • Strategic Asset Investments - containing the college's shareholding in Imperial Innovations and other restricted equity holdings.[3]

Affiliations and partnerships

Imperial is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, European University Association, Global Alliance of Technological Universities, League of European Research Universities and the Russell Group. It is a founding member of the Imperial College academic health sciences centre, the Francis Crick Institute and MedCity.

Academic profile


National rankings
Complete (2019)[80]4
Guardian (2019)[81]7
Times / Sunday Times (2019)[82]4
Global rankings
ARWU (2018)[83]24
QS (2019)[84]
THE (2019)[85]9
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[86]Gold

World & Europe

Imperial is ranked 8th worldwide overall by the 2018 Times Higher Education ranking,[87] as well as 3rd in Europe and in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge, and 1st in London. Within the same ranking, Imperial is 4th worldwide in medicine,[88] 9th in natural sciences and mathematics,[89] 9th in computing,[90] 10th in engineering and technology[91] as well as 10th in life sciences.[92]

The college is ranked 8th worldwide by the 2019 QS Top Universities Ranking overall,[93] as well as 4th in Europe, 3rd in the UK and 1st in London. By the same ranking in 2018, Imperial is 6th worldwide in engineering and technology[94] (including 3rd worldwide in civil engineering,[95] 5th in electrical and electronic engineering,[96] 7th in chemical engineering,[97] 8th in mechanical and aeronautical engineering[98] as well as 12th in computing[99]), 10th in natural sciences[100] (including 9th worldwide in environmental sciences,[101] 10th in mathematics,[102] 11th in materials science,[103] 11th in physics and astronomy,[104] 13th in chemistry[105] and 23rd in Earth sciences[106]), 11th in life sciences and medicine[107] (including 11th worldwide in medicine,[108] 17th in pharmacology and 19th in biological sciences[109]), and 16th worldwide for the MBA (6th in Europe[110]).

The World's Most Innovative Universities Rankings by Reuters ranked Imperial 1st in innovation in the UK, and second in Europe behind KU Leuven.[111]


Imperial consistently scores strongly in the UK university rankings and is ranked 4th in the 2016 Times Higher Education "Table of Tables" which combines the results of the 3 main domestic league tables.[112] In the 2016 Complete University Guide, all 14 of the subjects offered by Imperial were ranked top 10 nationally meaning it was one of only two mainstream universities (along with the University of Cambridge) in the UK to have all subjects ranked in the top 10.[113]

Imperial ranked 1st in London and 3rd in the UK in the US News & World Report Global Rankings.[114]

In 2017, Imperial has been awarded the Gold Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), judging that Imperial "delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students" and that it "is of the highest quality found in the UK".[115]


According to both the 2016 Guardian University Guide and the Complete University Guide, students were ranked as having the top employment prospects among UK universities.[116][117] As of 2014 the average starting salary of a graduate was the highest of any UK university.[118] According to data released by the Department for Education in 2018, Imperial was rated as the 3rd best university in the UK for boosting female graduate earnings with female graduates seeing a 31.3% increase in earnings compared to the average graduate, and the 4th best university for males, with male graduates seeing a 25.3% increase in earnings compared to the average graduate.[119] The New York Times ranked Imperial College as one of the top 10 most-welcomed universities by the global job market.[120]


The main entrance to Imperial from Exhibition Road[121]

Imperial submitted a total of 1,257 staff across 14 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment.[122] This found that 91% of Imperial's research is "world-leading" (46% achieved the highest possible 4* score) or "internationally excellent" (44% achieved 3*), giving an overall GPA of 3.36.[123][124] In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results Imperial was ranked 2nd overall.[123][124] Imperial actively encourages its staff to commercialise their research and as a result has given rise to a large number of spin-out companies based on academic research.[125][126] Imperial has a dedicated technology transfer company, Imperial Innovations.

Imperial College London has a long term partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[127][128] In January 2018, the mathematics department of Imperial and the French National Center for Scientific Research launched a joint research laboratory of mathematics - UMI Abraham de Moivre -aiming to tackle the most challenging problems still unsolved and to build a bridge between the British and French scientific knowledges, based on the South Kensington campus of Imperial.[129][130] The Fields medallists Cédric Villani and Martin Hairer hosted the launch presentation.[129]

For its research on Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, Imperial hosts the largest brain bank in the world consisting of 296 brains.[131][132]


UCAS Admission Statistics
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Applications[133] 20,395 19,200 18,205 16,570 15,315
Offer Rate (%)[134] 43.6 46.2 50.7 53.6 54.4
Enrols[135] 2,715 2,545 2,630 2,515 2,425
Yield (%) 30.5 28.7 28.5 28.3 29.1
Applicant/Enrolled Ratio 7.51 7.54 6.92 6.59 6.32
Average Entry Tariff[136][note 2] n/a 219 552 567 566

For 2016 entry, the acceptance rate was 13.0% for undergraduates and 16.2% for postgraduates.[137] At undergraduate level, there is roughly 1 place for 8 candidates. For 2016 entry, the domain with the lowest acceptance rate was Mechanical Engineering (11.5:1 ratio). The highest was Bioengineering (3.7:1).[137] By way of example, acceptance ratio in Mathematics was of 9.3:1, in Medicine 8.6:1, in Chemical Engineering 8.3:1 and in Physics 6.7:1.[137]

In the 2019 table by The Complete University Guide, Imperial applicants had the 2nd highest average entry scores in the UK, after Cambridge, with new entrants having an average UCAS tariff of 219.[138]

Imperial is among the most international universities in the United Kingdom,[139][140] with 50% of students from the UK, 16% of students from the EU, and 34% of students from outside the UK or EU.[139][141][142] The student body is 39% female and 61% male.[142] 36.5% of Imperial's undergraduates are privately educated, the fourth highest proportion amongst mainstream British universities.[140]


The college's central library is located on Queen's Lawn contains the main corpus of the college's collection. It previously also housed the Science Museum's library until 2014.[143] Refurbishment works, including installing air conditioning throughout the library, concluded in late 2018.[144] The Fleming library is located at St Mary's in Paddington, originally the library of St Mary's Hospital Medical School, with other hospital campuses also having college libraries.[145]


Queen Elizabeth II opening the Alexander Fleming Building

The Imperial Faculty of Medicine was formed through mergers between Imperial and the St Mary's, Charing Cross and Westminster, and Royal Postgraduate medical schools and has six teaching hospitals. It accepts more than 300 undergraduate medical students per year and has around 321 taught and 700 research full-time equivalent postgraduate students.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust was formed on 1 October 2007 by the merger of Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust (Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital) and St Mary's NHS Trust (St. Mary's Hospital and Western Eye Hospital) with Imperial College London Faculty of Medicine.[146] It is an academic health science centre and manages five hospitals: Charing Cross Hospital, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, and Western Eye Hospital. The Trust is currently one of the largest in the UK and in 2012/13 had a turnover of £971.3 million, employed approximately 9,770 people and treated almost 1.2 million patients.[147]

Other (non-academic health science centres) hospitals affiliated with Imperial College include Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, West Middlesex University Hospital, Hillingdon Hospital, Mount Vernon Hospital, Harefield Hospital, Ealing Hospital, Central Middlesex Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital, St Mark's Hospital, St Charles' Hospital and St Peter's Hospital.[148]


Accusations of bullying

In 2003, it was reported that one third of female academics "believe that discrimination or bullying by managers has held back their careers".[149] Imperial has since won the Athena SWAN Award which recognizes employment practices that are supportive of the careers of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. In 2007, concerns were raised about the methods that were being used to fire people in the Faculty of Medicine.[150][151] However, in 2014, Stefan Grimm, of the Department of Medicine, was found dead after being threatened with dismissal for failure to raise enough grant money.[152] His last email before his passing accused his employers of bullying by demanding that he should get grants worth at least £200,000 per year.[153][154] The college announced an internal inquiry into Stefan Grimm's death, and found that the performance metrics for his position were unreasonable, with new metrics for performance being needed.[155]

Student life

Student body

For the 2016/17 academic year, Imperial had a total full-time student body of 17,690, consisting of 9,520 undergraduate students and 8,170 postgraduates.[156] 50.7% of the student body is from outside of the UK.[157] 32% of all full-time students came from outside the European Union in 2013-14,[158] and around 13% of the International students had Chinese nationality in 2007-08.[159]

Imperial's male-female ratio for undergraduate students is uneven at approximately 64:36 overall[159] and 5:1 or higher in some engineering courses. However, medicine has an approximate 1:1 ratio with biology degrees tending to be higher.[160]

Queen's Lawn at South Kensington Campus

Imperial College Union

Imperial College Union is the students' union and is run by five full-time sabbatical officers elected from the student body for a tenure of one year, and a number of permanent members of staff. It is split into constituent unions aligned with the faculties of the college, carrying on the association with the original constituent colleges of Imperial, the Royal College of Science Union, City and Guilds College Union, Royal School of Mines Student's Union and Imperial College School of Medicine Students' Union. The Union is given a large subvention by the university, much of which is spent on maintaining over 300 clubs, projects and societies.[161] Examples of notable student groups and projects are Project Nepal which sends Imperial College students to work on educational development programmes in rural Nepal[162] and the El Salvador Project, a construction based project in Central America.[163] The Union also hosts sports-related clubs such as Imperial College Boat Club and Imperial College Gliding Club.

The Union operates on two sites, with most events at the Union Building on Beit Quad at South Kensington, with mostly medical school events at the Reynold's bar, Charing Cross.


Ethos Gym

Sports facilities at Imperial's London campuses include four gyms, including the main Ethos gym at the South Kensington Campus, two swimming pools and two sports halls.[164] Imperial has additional sports facilities at the Heston and Harlington sports grounds.

On the South Kensington campus, there are a total of six music practice rooms which consist of upright pianos for usage by people of any grade, and grand pianos which are exclusively for people who have achieved Grade 8 or above.[165]

There are two student bars on the South Kensington campus, one at the Imperial College Union and one at Eastside.[166] There are a number of pubs and bars on campus and also surrounding the campus, which become a popular social activity for Imperial's students. The Pewter tankard collection at Imperial College Union is the largest in Europe, with the majority of clubs and societies having tankards associated with their clubs.[167]

The weekly college farmer's market

Student media

Imperial College Radio
Imperial College Radio (ICRadio) was founded in November 1975 with the intention of broadcasting to the student halls of residence from a studio under Southside, actually commencing broadcasts in late 1976. It now broadcasts from the West Basement of Beit Quad over the internet.[168]

Imperial College TV

Imperial College TV (ICTV) is Imperial College Union's TV station, founded in 1969 and operated from a small TV studio in the Electrical Engineering block. The department had bought an early AMPEX Type A 1-inch videotape recorder and this was used to produce an occasional short news programme which was then played to students by simply moving the VTR and a monitor into a common room. A cable link to the Southside halls of residence was laid in a tunnel under Exhibition Road in 1972. Besides the news, early productions included a film of the Queen opening what was then called College Block.

Felix Newspaper

Felix is weekly student newspaper, first released on 9 December 1949.[169] In addition to news, Felix also carries comic strips, features, opinions, puzzles and reviews, plus reports of trips and Imperial College sporting events.

Student societies

Racing Green Endurance is a student-led project to demonstrate the potential of zero-emission cars.

Imperial College Boat Club

The Imperial College Boat Club is the rowing club of Imperial and was founded on 12 December 1919. The college's boat house is located in Putney on the Thames, and was recently refurbished, reopening in 2014.[170] The club has a number of notable accolades, such as three alumni of the college in the gold medal winning GB 8+ at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, along with their coach Martin McElroy. The club has been highly successful, with many wins at Henley Royal Regatta.

Exploration Club

Imperial's Exploration Board was established in 1957 to assist students with a desire for exploration. Trips have included Afghanistan, Alaska, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Fiji, the Himalayas, Iran, Morocco, Norway, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine, and the Yukon.[171]

Dramatic Society
The Imperial College Dramatic Society (DramSoc[172]) is one of two major theatrical arts societies, with the other being the Musical Theatre Society, and it was founded in 1912.[173] The society puts on three major plays each year, in addition to several smaller fringe productions. It is additionally one the London-based dramatic societies to participate in the London Student Drama Festival,[174] and regularly attends the Edinburgh Fringe. DramSoc is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the Union's theatrical space, the Union Concert Hall.

Student housing

Prince's Gardens, surrounded by college halls of residence

Imperial College owns and manages twenty one halls of residence in Inner London, Acton, and Ascot. Over three thousand rooms are available, guaranteeing first year undergraduates a place in College residences.

The majority of halls offer single or twin accommodation with some rooms having en suite facilities. Study bedrooms are provided with basic furniture and with access to shared kitchens and bathrooms. The majority of rooms come with internet access and access to the Imperial network. Most of them are considered among the newest student halls at London universities.

Most students in college or university accommodation are first-year undergraduates, since they are granted a room once they have selected Imperial as their firm offer with UCAS. The majority of older students and postgraduates find accommodation in the private sector, help for which is provided by the college private housing office. However a handful of students may continue to live in halls in later years if they take the position of a "hall senior", and places are available for a small number of returning students in the Evelyn Garden halls.[175] Some students also live in International Students House, London.

List of Halls of Residence:[176]

  • South Kensington
    • Beit Hall
    • Eastside Halls
      • Linstead Hall
      • Gabor Hall
      • Wilkinson Hall
    • Southside Halls
      • Falmouth Hall
      • Selkirk Hall
      • Tizard Hall
      • Keogh Hall
  • Evelyn Gardens
    • Holbein Hall
    • Southwell Hall
    • Willis Jackson Hall
  • Parsons House
  • Pembridge Hall
  • Putney Boathouse
  • Wilson House
  • Woodward Buildings
  • Xenia

Notable alumni, faculty and staff

Nobel laureates: (medicine) Sir Alexander Fleming, Sir Ernst Boris Chain, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley, Rodney Robert Porter, (physics) Abdus Salam, Sir George Paget Thomson, Patrick Blackett, Baron Blackett, Dennis Gabor, Peter Higgs, (chemistry) Sir Norman Haworth, Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, Sir Derek Barton, Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, Sir George Porter.[16]

Fields medalists: Klaus Friedrich Roth, Sir Simon Donaldson, Martin Hairer.[177]

Academic affiliations include: Sir Tom Kibble, co-discoverer of Higgs Boson;[178]Sir Tejinder Virdee, experimental particle physicist;[179]Sir John Pendry, theoretical solid state physicist;[180]Sir Christopher Kelk Ingold, physical organic chemistry pioneer;[181]Sir William Henry Perkin, discoverer of the first synthetic organic chemical dye mauveine;[182]Sir Edward Frankland, originator of the theory of chemical valency;[183]Sir William Crookes, discoverer of thallium;[184]Sir Alan Fersht, chemist;[185]David Phillips, chemist;[186]Harold Hopkins, contributed to the theory and design of optical instruments;[187]Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician and philosopher;[188]Steven Cowley, physicist and president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford;[189] and Sir John Ambrose Fleming, inventor of the vacuum tube.[190]

In biology and medicine; Thomas Huxley, advocate of the theory of evolution; Wendy Barclay, virologist; Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England;[191]David Livingstone, medical missionary. In engineering; Chi Onwurah, politician;[192]Dame Julia Higgins, polymer scientist;[193]Dame Judith Hackitt, former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive;[194]Dudley Maurice Newitt, scientific director of the Special Operations Executive;[195]Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, engineer and Member of the House of Lords, Clare Lloyd, biologist.[196]

Non-academic affiliations include: H. G. Wells, author;[197]Nicholas Tombazis, chief car designer at McLaren and Ferrari; Ralph Robins, CEO of Rolls-Royce;[198]Brian May, guitarist of rock band Queen;[199]Chew Choon Seng, CEO of Singapore Airlines; Sir Julius Vogel, former Prime Minister of New Zealand;[200]Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India;[201]Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore; Huw Thomas, Physician to the Queen;[202] Sir Roger Bannister, ran the first four-minute mile;[203]Andreas Mogensen, first Danish astronaut; David Pearson, software engineer; Winston Wong, entrepreneur; Alan Howard, hedge fund manager and philanthropist; Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group;[204]Michael Birch, entrepreneur; Henry Charles Stephens, politician; Sir Michael Uren, businessman and philanthropist; Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer, Pallab Ghosh, BBC correspondent, Hannah Devlin, science journalist.

See also


  1. ^ The motto and coat of arms were granted to Imperial College by Royal Warrant in 1908.[1]
  2. ^ New UCAS Tariff system from 2016


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