Sustainable cities and the future of AI: News from the College

Mandy Thorpe

Mandy Thorpe

By Andrew Youngson , Hannah MacLachlan , Tom Rutland , Murray MacKay , Laura Singleton , Deborah Evanson , Hayley Dunning

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From a new programme exploring urban sustainable environments, to an inspirational talk from the founder of Google Brain, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Creating sustainable cities

The Centre for Environmental Policy has created a new MSc programme under the umbrella of its award-winning MSc in Environmental Technology.

The new Urban Sustainable Environments (USE) option will address how cities can deliver high quality living through the key elements of health, pollution, green space and waste in a systems-based approach.

The option will be led by Dr Audrey de Nazelle , a pioneer in research on integrative solutions to healthy and sustainable urban environments, and Dr Tilly Collins , an urban ecologist and entomologist with expertise in urban green spaces.

Dr de Nazelle said: “The MSc programme will form the next leaders in sustainable cities, engaging students to think holistically and work transversally to address urban health and environmental challenges and create and manage novel solutions towards healthy and sustainable cities.”

Young Chemist on the Periodic Table

To celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has created a Periodic Table of Younger Chemists. Ten chemists have been revealed each month and April saw Imperial chemist Dr Anna Regoutz added to the table.

Dr Regoutz is honoured for her work on tuning the properties of bulk, thin-film and nanomaterials for new devices such as electronics and biosensors.

She is also recognised for her efforts in teaching and inspiring the next generation of scientists; her lectures at Imperial were awarded a Student Academic Choice Award for Best Teaching for Undergraduates in 2018. Read Dr Regoutz’s full entry on the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists.

“Exciting new chapter”

Mandy Thorpe, Director of Central Biomedical Services, is retiring after 40 years at Imperial. "It’s an exciting new chapter," she said, "but tinged with sadness after being at Imperial my whole working life."

She began as a junior animal technician at Charing Cross Hospital, before moving to St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and then the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. All three animal units were brought together in CBS, which she helped establish in 1997. She became Director in 2011.

During her career, Mandy has seen new laws on animal procedures, leading to more sophisticated facilities and a stronger culture of care. The animal technician role has also evolved. "As well as day-to-day care of the animals, we now assist the research groups quite closely."

As Director, she has been central to Imperial’s animal research action plan, culminating in last year’s recognition by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. "Being the first UK university to receive this accreditation is a very prestigious achievement, and particularly rewarding for me."

Her contribution to Imperial was recognised in 2015 with the award of the College Medal.

Her successor is Rob Floyd, who led the accreditation project

Imperial entrepreneur wins Mayor’s prize

An Imperial entrepreneur has been named a winner of the Mayor of London’s Entrepreneurship Competition 2019.

George Winfield, an Imperial alumnus, is the founder of Spyras - a startup developing a paper-based breathing monitoring system that can detect patient deterioration from sepsis.

He won the Tech category in the competition, which recognises student innovations that could help make London a better place to live and work

George has previously won Imperial’s White City Innovators programme , and was one of the first participants to take part in the MedTech SuperConnector - a new entrepreneurial training programme for Early Career Researchers led by Imperial.

New Senior Research Fellow

The Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at the Business School has appointed a new Senior Research Fellow, Dr Raffaele Della Croce to strengthen its expertise on climate investment.

He will be responsible for analysing the business models, financial instruments and investment strategies that can help the global economy adapt to climate change.

Dr Della Croce is a leading economist at the OECD where he is responsible for doing research on sustainable finance, long term investment financing and connectivity infrastructure. The Research Fellowship was made possible through a donation from Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a low-carbon and renewable energy infrastructure investment specialist.

Invention Rooms in the running

The Invention Rooms, Imperial’s pioneering community innovation space at White CIty, has been shortlisted in Guardian University Awards 2019, in the Social and Community Impact category.

The award recognises programmes that have engaged with communities at a local, national, or global level, and implemented changes that have had a lasting impact.

The Invention Rooms , which first opened its doors in November 2017 , is the first facility of its kind in the UK. It represents a new and unprecedented approach to community engagement and outreach, bringing the local White City community together with Imperial’s staff and students to get a hands-on experience of making and prototyping.

The winners of the Guardian University Awards 2019 will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday 10 April.

Keeping London open

On Tuesday, President Alice Gast co-hosted a roundtable discussion with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on the impact of Brexit and immigration reform on universities.

The Mayor voiced concern over the proposed 30,000 minimum salary threshold for skilled workers and expressed his support for continued UK participation in European research programmes - issues Imperial is campaigning on.

Professor Gast said: “London is a global centre for discovery and innovation and our universities should be central to Brexit negotiations. The free flow of academic and student talent is key to London’s economic success.”

Future of AI

Over 400 guests gathered at the College on 1 April to hear from Dr Andrew Ng , a globally recognised leader in AI.

Dr Ng is the former Chief Scientist at Baidu and the founding lead of Google Brain. A long-time advocate of accessible education, Dr. Ng is the Co-founder of Coursera, an online learning platform that has worked with Imperial to launch pioneering new online degrees.

Andrew’s speech focussed on emerging trends in AI and Online Education, and was part of the Data Science Institute’s Distinguished Lecture series. Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise), Professor Nick Jennings, followed Andrew’s speech with a lively question and answer session.

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Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.

Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs

Hannah MacLachlan
Communications and Public Affairs

Tom Rutland
Communications and Public Affairs


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