Imperial College London
|Motto||Scientia imperii decus et tutamen|
Motto in English
|Knowledge is the adornment and protection of the Empire|
|Type||Public research university|
|Established||1907 by Royal Charter|
|Endowment||£126.2 million (as of 31 July 2016)|
|Visitor||The Lord President of the Council ex officio|
|3,692 (as of 2014)|
|7,240 (as of 2014)|
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its founder, Prince Albert, envisioned a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute. The Imperial Institute was opened by Queen Victoria, his wife, who laid the foundation stone in 1887. In 1907 Imperial College London was formed by Royal Charter. In the same year, the college joined the University of London, before leaving it a century later. The curriculum was expanded to include medicine after mergers with several historic medical schools. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.
Imperial is organised into faculties of science, engineering, medicine, and business. The main campus is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The university's emphasis is on technology and its practical application. Imperial's contributions to society include the discovery of penicillin and the development of fibre optics.
Imperial is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, in 2017 ranking 8th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 9th in the QS World University Rankings, and 22nd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. It has been ranked as the most innovative university in Europe. Imperial staff and alumni include 15 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 70 Fellows of the Royal Society, 82 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and 78 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
- 1 History
- 2 Campuses
- 3 Administration and organisation
- 4 Academic profile
- 5 Controversies
- 6 Student life
- 7 Notable alumni, faculty and staff
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition in 1851 was organised by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Fuller and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Great Exhibition made a surplus of £186,000 used in creating an area in the South of Kensington encouraging culture and education for everyone. His vision built the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Geological Museum, Royal College of Science, Royal College of Art, Royal School of Mines, Royal School of Music, Royal College of Organists, Royal School of Needlework, Royal Geographical Society, Institute of Recorded Sound, Royal Horticultural Gardens, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. Several royal colleges and the Imperial Institute merged to form what is now Imperial College London.
Royal College of Chemistry
The Royal College of Chemistry was established by private subscription in 1845 as there was a growing awareness that practical aspects of the experimental sciences were not well taught and that in the United Kingdom the teaching of chemistry in particular had fallen behind that in Germany. As a result of a movement earlier in the decade, many politicians donated funds to establish the college, including Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone and Robert Peel. It was also supported by Prince Albert, who persuaded August Wilhelm von Hofmann to be the first professor.
William Henry Perkin studied and worked at the college under von Hofmann, but resigned his position after discovering the first synthetic dye, mauveine, in 1856. Perkin's discovery was prompted by his work with von Hofmann on the substance aniline, derived from coal tar, and it was this breakthrough which sparked the synthetic dye industry, a boom which some historians have labelled the second chemical revolution. His contribution led to the creation of the Perkin Medal, an award given annually by the Society of Chemical Industry to a scientist residing in the United States for an "innovation in applied chemistry resulting in outstanding commercial development". It is considered the highest honour given in the industrial chemical industry.
Royal School of Mines
The Royal School of Mines was established by Sir Henry de la Beche in 1851, developing from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment. He created a school which laid the foundations for the teaching of science in the country, and which has its legacy today at Imperial. Prince Albert was a patron and supporter of the later developments in science teaching, which led to the Royal College of Chemistry becoming part of the Royal School of Mines, to the creation of the Royal College of Science and eventually to these institutions becoming part of his plan for South Kensington being an educational region.
Royal College of Science
The Royal College of Science was established in 1881. The main objective was to support the training of science teachers and to develop teaching in other science subjects alongside the Royal School of Mines earth sciences specialities.
20th century - City and Guilds College
In 1907, the newly established Board of Education found that greater capacity for higher technical education was needed and a proposal to merge the Royal School of Mines, the Royal College of Science, and City and Guilds College, was approved and passed, creating The Imperial College of Science and Technology as a constituent college of the University of London. Imperial's Royal Charter, granted by Edward VII, was officially signed on 8 July 1907. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.
City and Guilds College was founded in 1876 from a meeting of the City of London's livery companies for the Advancement of Technical Education (CGLI), which aimed to provide a practical education for craftsmen, technicians, technologists, and engineers. Faced with their continuing inability to find a substantial site, the Companies were eventually persuaded by the Secretary of the Science and Art Department, General Sir John Donnelly (who was also a Royal Engineer) to found their institution on the eighty-seven acre (350,000 m²) site at South Kensington bought by the 1851 Exhibition Commissioners (for GBP 342,500) for 'purposes of art and science' in perpetuity. The latter two colleges were incorporated by Royal Charter into the Imperial College of Science and Technology and the CGLI Central Technical College was renamed the City and Guilds College in 1907. They were incorporated into Imperial College a few years later in 1910.
Imperial acquired Silwood Park in 1947, to provide a site for research and teaching in those aspects of biology not well suited for the main London campus. On 29 January 1950, the government announced that it was intended that Imperial should expand to meet the scientific and technological challenges of the 20th century and a major expansion of the college followed over the next decade. In 1959 the Wolfson Foundation donated £350,000 for the establishment of a new Biochemistry Department. A special relationship between Imperial and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi was established in 1963.
The Department of Management Science was created in 1971 and the Associated Studies Department was established in 1972. The Humanities Department was opened in 1980, formed from the Associated Studies and History of Science departments.
In 1988, Imperial merged with St Mary's Hospital Medical School, becoming The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 1995, Imperial launched its own academic publishing house, Imperial College Press, in partnership with World Scientific. 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. In 1998, the Sir Alexander Fleming Building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II to provide a headquarters for the college's medical and biomedical research.
In 2000, Imperial merged with both the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Wye College, the University of London's agricultural college in Wye, Kent. It initially agreed to keep Agricultural Sciences at Wye, but closed them in 2004. The origins of the later acquired College of St Gregory and St Martin at Wye, was originally founded by John Kempe, the Archbishop of York, in 1447 as a seminary, with an agricultural college being established at Wye in 1894 after the removal of the seminary. In December 2005, Imperial announced a science park programme at the Wye campus, with extensive housing; however, this was abandoned in September 2006 following complaints that the proposal infringed on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and that the true scale of the scheme, which could have raised £110m for the college, was known to Kent and Ashford Councils and their consultants but concealed from the public. One commentator observed that Imperial's scheme reflected "the state of democracy in Kent, the transformation of a renowned scientific college into a grasping, highly aggressive, neo-corporate institution, and the defence of the status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – throughout England, not just Wye – against rampant greed backed by the connivance of two important local authorities. Wye College campus was finally closed in September 2009.
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.
In 2004 the Imperial College Business School and a new Main Entrance on Exhibition Road were opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The UK Energy Research Centre was also established in 2004 and opened its headquarters at Imperial.
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. Imperial became fully independent of the University of London in July 2007 and the first students to register for an Imperial College degree were postgraduates beginning their course in October 2007, with the first undergraduates enrolling for an Imperial degree in October 2008. In July 2008 the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics was opened in the Materials department.
Imperial's main campus is located in the South Kensington area of central London.
South Kensington is home to a high concentration of cultural institutions: Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Albert Hall. Its location is also next to attractions: Kensington Palace and Gardens, National Art Library, Harrods Mall, and the Brompton Oratory.
The Imperial Institute was created in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee with the intention of it being a scientific research institution exploring and developing the raw materials of the Empire countries. The building was constructed in South Kensington between 1888 and 1893. The expansion of the South Kensington campus in the 1950s & 1960s absorbed the former Imperial Institute, designed by Thomas Collcutt, of which only the Queen's Tower remains among the more modern buildings.
White City Campus
A second major campus is currently under construction in the White City area of London. The White City Campus innovation hub will house new research facilities, space for spin-off entrepreneurial companies as well as student accommodation.
In addition to its original South Kensington campus, Imperial has six other campuses across London and a campus in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot:
Charing Cross Campus, Hammersmith
A medical teaching and research campus based around Charing Cross Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, cafe and fitness gym.
Chelsea and Westminster Campus
A medical teaching and research campus based around Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
Hammersmith Campus, East Acton
A medical teaching and research campus based around Hammersmith Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, catering outlets and sports facilities.
Royal Brompton Campus, Chelsea
A medical teaching and research campus based around the Royal Brompton Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
St Mary's Campus, Paddington
A medical teaching and research campus based around St. Mary's Hospital. Facilities include a campus library and sports facilities.
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.
Administration and organisation
Imperial's research and teaching is organised within a network of faculties and academic departments.
- Imperial College Faculty of Engineering
- Imperial College Faculty of Medicine
- Imperial College Faculty of Natural Sciences
- Imperial College Business School
Imperial hosts six cross-departmental centres that have been established to promote inter-disciplinary work. Each focusses on a particular societal challenges. They are (in order of foundation):
- Energy Futures Lab
- Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment
- Institute for Security Science and Technology
- Institute of Global Health Innovation
- Data Science Institute
- Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering
Finances and endowment
The college's endowment is sub-divided into three distinct portfolios: (i) Unitised Scheme – a unit trust vehicle for college, Faculties and Departments to invest endowments and unfettered income to produce returns for the long term; (ii) Non-Core Property – a portfolio containing around 120 operational and developmental properties which college has determined are not core to the academic mission; and (iii) Strategic Asset Investments – containing college’s shareholding in Imperial Innovations and other restricted equity holdings.
The 2015 QS World University Rankings named Imperial as the 2nd best university worldwide. Imperial regularly places in the top 10 universities worldwide including in the 2016 QS World Universities Rankings and the Times Higher Education Ranking.
In 2016, Imperial placed 5th best university in Europe in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 4th in Europe in the QS World University Rankings, and 3rd in Europe in both the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the US News & World Report Global Rankings.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Imperial 1st in engineering in Europe.
In Times Higher Education World University Subject tables it is ranked 2nd in Europe, 3rd in the world for clinical and health, 4th in Europe, 9th in the world for engineering and technology, 3rd in Europe, 9th in the world for life sciences and 4th in Europe, 13th in the world for physical sciences.
In the QS World University Subject tables of 2010 it is ranked 5th in Europe for clinical medicine and pharmacy, 3rd in Europe for engineering, technology and computer sciences, 5th in Europe for natural sciences and mathematics and 2nd in Europe for physics.
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. 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.
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. As of 2014 the average starting salary of a graduate was the highest of any UK university. The New York Times ranked Imperial College as one of the top 10 most-welcomed universities by the global job market.
The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise returned 26% of the 1225 staff submitted as being world-leading (4*) and a further 47% as being internationally excellent (3*). The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise also showed five subjects – Pure Mathematics, Epidemiology an d Public Health, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering – were assessed to be the best in terms of the proportion of internationally recognised research quality.
Imperial submitted a total of 1,257 staff across 14 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. In the REF results 46% of Imperial's submitted research was classified as 4*, 44% as 3*, 9% as 2* and 1% as 1*, giving an overall GPA of 3.36. In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results Imperial was ranked 2nd overall for GPA and 8th for "research power" (compared to 6th and 7th respectively in the equivalent rankings for the RAE 2008).
Imperial has a dedicated technology transfer company known as Imperial Innovations. 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.
Imperial, in conducting research on Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, hosts the largest brain bank in the world consisting of 296 brains donated by individuals affected with either of these diseases.
In 2016, Imperial received £2million to establish a DNA Synthesis and Construction Foundry to accelerate developments in new synthetic biology technologies.
In 2015/16, the acceptance rate was 14.3% for undergraduates and 15.9% for postgraduates. At undergraduate level, there is 1 place for 7 candidates. In 2016, the domain with the lowest acceptance rate was Mechanics (11.0:1 ratio). The highest was Bioengineering (3.8:1) but it was also the course with the highest UCAS Tariff entry (600). By way of example, acceptance ratio in Mathematics was of 8.0:1 and in Medicine was of 7.3:1.
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. 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.
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.
Wye campus sale
Imperial acquired Wye College in 2000, which is set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was rapidly dismantled, causing controversy, particularly a plan for substantial redevelopment in the area, with adverse environmental implications. A local campaign eventually secured the overthrow of the scheme, following which the Wye campus was closed in September 2009. The Wye campus, some of it dating back to the 15th century, is currently vacant and available for sale or rent.
Accusations of ill-treatment of staff
In 2003, it was reported that one third of female academics "believe that discrimination or bullying by managers has held back their careers". It was said then that "A spokesman for Imperial said the college was acting on the recommendations and had already made changes". Nevertheless, allegations of bullying have continued: in 2007, concerns were raised about the methods that were being used to fire people in the Faculty of Medicine. New President of Imperial College, Alice Gast says she sees bright lights in the horizon for female careers at Imperial College London.
In September 2014, Stefan Grimm, of the Department of Medicine, was found dead after being threatened with dismissal for failure to raise enough grant money. The College made its first public announcement of his death on 4 December 2014. Grimm's last email accused his employers of bullying by demanding that he should get grants worth at least £200,000 per year. His last email was viewed more than 100,000 times in the first four days after it was posted. The College announced an internal inquiry into Stefan Grimm's death which reported in March 2015.
For the 2014/15 academic year, Imperial had a total full-time student body of 16,610, consisting of 9,015 undergraduate students and 7,595 postgraduates. 50.7% of the student body is from outside of the UK. 32% of all full-time students came from outside the European Union in 2013-14, and around 13% of the International students had Chinese nationality in 2007-08.
Imperial's male–female ratio for undergraduate students is uneven at approximately 64:36 overall and 5:1 or higher in some engineering courses. However, medicine has an approximate 1:1 ratio with biology degrees tending to be higher.
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. The Union is given a large subvention by the university, much of which is spent on maintaining around 300 clubs, projects and societies. Examples of notable student groups and projects are Project Nepal which sends Imperial College students to work on educational development programmes in rural Nepal and the El Salvador Project, a construction based project in Central America. The Union also hosts sports-related clubs such as Imperial College Boat Club and Imperial College Gliding Club.
The Union operates on two sites; Beit Quad, South Kensington and Reynold's, Hammersmith.
Sports facilities at Imperial's London campuses include four gyms, two swimming pools and two sports halls. 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.
Imperial College Radio
Imperial College Radio (or 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.
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 is weekly student newspaper, first released on 9 December 1949. In addition to news, Felix also carries comic strips, features, opinions, puzzles and reviews, plus reports of trips and Imperial College sporting events.
Imperial College Boat Club
The Imperial College Boat Club is the rowing club of Imperial and was founded on 12 December 1919. 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.
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.
The Imperial College Dramatic Society (ICDS or DramSoc) is one of two major theatrical arts societies, with the other being the Musical Theatre Society, and it was founded in 1912. 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, and regularly attends the Edinburgh Fringe. ICDS is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the Union's theatrical space, the Union Concert Hall.
Bars and Pubs
There are a number of popular pubs and bars on campus and also surrounding the campus, which become a popular social activity for Imperial's students.
Imperial College owns and manages twenty one halls of residence in Inner London, Ealing, Ascot and Wye. 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 at 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". Some students also live in International Students House, London.
List of Halls of Residence:
- South Kensington Village
- Beit Hall
- Garden Hall
- Weeks Hall
- Linstead Hall
- Gabor Hall
- Wilkinson Hall
- Falmouth Hall
- Selkirk Hall
- Tizard Hall
- Keogh Hall
- Evelyn Gardens
- Bernard Sunley Hall
- Fisher Hall
- Holbein Hall
- Southwell Hall
- Willis Jackson Hall
- Wilson House
- Orient House
- Parsons House
- Pembridge Hall
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.
Academic affiliations include: Thomas Huxley, Sir Tom Kibble, co-discoverer of Higgs Boson; Sir Tejinder Virdee, Sir John Pendry, Sir Christopher Kelk Ingold, physical organic chemistry pioneer; Sir William Henry Perkin, discoverer of the first synthetic organic chemical dye mauveine; Sir Edward Frankland, originator of the theory of chemical valency; Sir William Crookes, discoverer of thallium; Murad Osmann, Harold Hopkins, Alfred North Whitehead, Steven Cowley, James Calder; Meghnad Saha, mathematician and astro-physicist and Sir John Ambrose Fleming.
Non-academic affiliations include: H. G. Wells, author; Nicholas Tombazis, chief car designer at McLaren and Ferarri; Ralph Robins, CEO of Rolls-Royce; Brian May, guitarist of rock band Queen; Chew Choon Seng, CEO of Singapore Airlines; Julius Vogel, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India; Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore; Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom; Huw Thomas, Physician to the Queen; Viscount Addison, Leader of the House of Lords; Roger Bannister, first four-minute mile; Andreas Mogensen, first Danish astronaut; Winston Wong, entrepreneur; Alan Howard, hedge fund manager and philanthropist; Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group; Michael Birch, entrepreneur; Henry Charles Stephens, politician.
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