Adversity for the UK economy could be an opportunity to become to a world leader in innovation, through the commercialisation of the academic research of the country’s best universities, said Dr Graham Spittle, Chairman of the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board, speaking at the Imperial College Business School-sponsored Innovation Summit held at the Royal Society in December 2009,
Imperial Innovations, the College’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) -listed technology transfer company, has already shown itself to be highly successful at commercialising Imperial College London’s academic research. It has over 80 spin-out companies in its
portfolio and its share price rose by 24% during 2008–09.
Building a sustainable future for a world with nine billion inhabitants will require unprecedented cooperation between business, academia and policy makers. But while the scale of the task is almost incomprehensibly enormous, the challenges also create opportunities, argues Professor Gerard George, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Imperial College Business School.
Read about the recent Innovation for Inclusive Growth conference, with keynote speaker Professor John Beddington CMG, FRS, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government and Honorary Principal Research Fellow in Imperial’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. The one-day conference was hosted by the Business School and the Advanced Institute of Management Research at Imperial in April 2010.
Photosynthesis accounts for 98 per cent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the complex process by which photosynthesis splits water to release oxygen is not well understood.
The new Ultrafast Spectroscopy Laboratory in the Division of Molecular Biosciences at Imperial will help scientists study light-activated processes, like photosynthesis, by helping to reveal how the proteins involved in photosythesis are activated at a molecular level.
The lab’s three state-of-the-art laser systems can analyse the measure the vibrations of the atoms and molecules in proteins by generating intense light pulses that last for femtoseconds (0.000000000000001 seconds).
Two recent pieces of research from the Faculty of Natural Sciences have revealed new ways of tackling the armour and weapons of Clostridium difficile, the ‘superbug’ that causes severe infections in hospital patients and the elderly.
C. difficile is a bacterium that can cause severe gut infections in humans, particularly in those taking antibiotics. Some strains of C. difficile are resistant to treatment with most antibiotics, earning them the name ‘superbugs’.
Read about what the scientists have discovered and watch Dr Ed Tate from the Department of Chemistry, and Professor Neil Fairweather and Dr Kate Brown from the Department of Life Sciences, talk about Clostridium difficile, their new research and how it could help tackle superbug infections in the future here.
The Energy Futures Lab is tackling the energy research challenges of the twenty-first century and is the focus for energy research at Imperial.
It builds on the high-quality research across the College in areas including energy efficiency, nuclear power, renewable energy, transport, electrical networks, economics and policy development.
By developing multi-disciplinary research programmes, the Lab is developing the sustainable future energy supply for society.
Consumer debt has increased dramatically in recent years leading to calls for better controls on how retail risk is measured and managed. The recent introduction of tighter regulations has required financial institutions to adopt sophisticated risk assessment models.
The Mathematics in Banking and Finance programme of Imperial’s Institute for Mathematical Science specialises in research in the consumer financial services sector, and in the development of statistical, data mining, and machine learning techniques applied in this area, in particular.
Professor David Potts‘s group in the Geotechnics Section of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has developed software, which was used to help stabilise the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The group’s program modelled the tower and its foundations in order to investigate all of the proposed methods of stabilisation. It played a pivotal role in the final choice of stabilisation method and was used to provide behaviour predictions against which observations were compared as the stabilisation works were carried out.
The Leaning Tower is now safe and was reopened to the public in 2001 following a 10-year closure.
Although the recent rise in obesity in the developed world is down to an unhealthy environment, with an abundance of unhealthy food and many people taking very little exercise, the difference in the way people respond to this environment is often genetic.
Scientists say that missing DNA, such as that identified in new research by an international team led by Professor Philippe Froguel, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, may be having a dramatic effect on some people’s weight.
Providing a secure energy supply for the future is one of today’s key issues.
Researchers in Imperial’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, led by Professor Chris Toumazou, are doing pioneering work leading to new developments in medical diagnosis equipment, personalised healthcare devices, new regenerative medicine techniques and new medical imaging technologies.
- Imperial and its spinout company DNA Electronics have developed SNP Dr, a prototype healthcare device that assesses whether patients are genetically predisposed to suffering adverse reactions to prescription drugs.
- Professor Toumazou has also played a key role in developing the first cochlear implant, which can improve hearing in people who are profoundly deaf or very hard of hearing, and has received international recognition for his work.