The centrepiece of the major new campus, the £150 million Research and Translation Hub, will provide space for academics and business partners that can be adapted to keep pace with the changing demands of scientific discovery and innovation.
Imperial say that at the heart of the vision for Imperial West is a new approach to creating a university campus, with potential partners from business, industry, the NHS and other global universities invited to co-locate on the campus and collaborate directly with the College’s experts in science, technology, engineering, medicine and business.
Imperial bought the land for the new campus – the former Woodlans site – from the BBC in 2009. The first new building, which provides accommodation for over 600 postgraduates and early career researchers, has been occupied since September 2012. The rest of the site was granted planning permission in December 2012.
Today’s launch follows the award from HEFCE in November 2012 of £35 million towards the development of the £150 million Research and Translation Hub via the UK Research Partnership and Investment Fund.
Design work on the Hub, which is also funded by investor Voreda and from the College’s own resources, is underway. The College plans to complete the construction in 2015.
When open, the 42,000 square metre Hub will provide facilities for 1,000 scientists and engineers and space that could accommodate 50 or more spin out companies from inception through to maturity. Imperial has produced more spin-out businesses than any other UK university, 140 over the last 10 years, but has been able to accommodate only 10-15 at any one time in its South Kensington Campus Incubator.
Sir Keith O’Nions, President & Rector of Imperial, said: “To make a difference, to solve big problems, we need to bring brilliant people from different fields together and give them time and space. Thanks to Imperial West we have the space, and through launching this vision, we hope to convince potential partners in business, charities, governments, academia and healthcare of the benefits of forming long-term relationships with us at Imperial West.”
The college hopes that Imperial West and the College’s adjacent campus at Hammersmith Hospital – 500 metres away – will become two poles of a major new research quarter for London. On completion, the campus will generate an estimated 3,200 permanent jobs.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “London is home to some of the world’s leading universities and sharpest business minds. This fantastic venture will bring the best of both these worlds together turning brilliant ideas into jobs and economic growth and further bolster our reputation as the must-come destination for research and development.”
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, says: “Imperial is one of our country’s great universities and the new Imperial West campus is a really exciting development. It will focus on translational work – on applying the excellent research that Imperial does to bring benefit to the wider world. The government strongly supports the vision and plans for the new campus and we look forward to seeing it grow and prosper in the future.”