Imperial College Launches Vision for Imperial West

White City site to become research and translation quarter

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Imperial College has launched its vision for Imperial West, its new campus on Wood Lane.

Leaders from business, research and government joined Imperial College London staff on March 6 for the launch of its vision for a new seven acre campus in White City, west London, which will become London's first major research and translation quarter. 

Imperial's President & Rector Sir Keith O'Nions showcased the centrepiece of the new campus, a £150 million Research and Translation Hub, and laid out the College's vision for a £1 billion innovation eco-system where 3,000 researchers will work to solve the scientific challenges of the future. 

Guests were shown a film called Imperial West - Launching the Vision and an exhibition showcasing construction plans for the campus and local community, alongside displays highlighting some of Imperial's most exciting research, innovation and spin-out companies. 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and David Willetts Minister for Universities and Science were especially taken by the chance to don Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks developed by Imperial physicists working with metamaterials. The Mayor and Minister were astonished to find their bodies become almost completely see-through on screen. 

Other Imperial research and translation activities on display included ultra-efficient rechargeable batteries from Nexeon, microchips incorporated with DNA analysis from DNA Electronics, synthetic biosensors, new appetite regulation technology, and realistic simulations of hip replacement surgery. 

The project was hailed by Boris Johnson who spoke at the launch, held on the College's South Kensington Campus. 

He said: " London is emerging as the innovation and scientific capital of the world. And our ambition – my ambition as Mayor – is to keep driving that process on and to accelerate it.

“Here at Imperial you’ve got the right answer, which is to capture the flash of inspiration, harness the bang and convert it into wallop for the London and the UK economy – and that is what you’re doing at Imperial West."

“You’ll be following in the footsteps of all the innovators at Imperial that have made it the greatest scientific institution in the world.”

Councillor Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council said: "White City is a brilliant part of London and one of the best connected. It's absolutely fantastic that Imperial has decided to expand here. Imperial West is an exciting venture and will bring around three thousand jobs to the borough. We're already home to some world leading enterprises and businesses and Imperial's increased presence will be a great boost for our vibrant community."

Imperial West also includes accommodation for 606 post graduate students at Wood Lane Studios, shops, a four star hotel, a new public square and Brickfields Hall, at the corner of Shinfield Street and Eynham Road, a community hall opened in autumn, which is available for local residents to book for social events.

Imperial West was given the go ahead by Boris Johnson in October last year, despite local opposition to the inclusion of a 35 storey tower on the site - a plan dubbed Imperial Folly by local campaigners. You can read this story here.

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London has submitted a planning application  for a new campus, plus offices, homes and shops, a new four star hotel and a public square on on the former BBC site on Wood Lane, currently known as Imperial West.

If the proposals get the go ahead from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, they will complete Imperial's regeneration of the site, where phase one, Wood Lane Studios, is already well underway. This phase will provide 606 postgraduate studios and nine homes for key workers.

The development of this new open access campus will form a major element of the wider regeneration of the White City Opportunity Area, which is being promoted by London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Greater London Authority.

Following consultation with the council and local residents, the Masterplan proposals, designed by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson and PLP Architecture, comprise:

· World class facilities for health and biomedical research which will bring together academics from across the College to provide a centre of excellence to attract and retain the very best scientists

· New Business Accelerator – delivering research and office launch pad space for new technology start-up businesses developed by the College’s technology transfer company, Imperial Innovations plc

· Grade A office space – for College technology partner organisations, creating an environment where commerce and entrepreneurs can develop together in a world-leading academic research environment

· Postgraduate facilities- delivering research and teaching space for Imperial’s Graduate School to expand and consolidate in West London

· New homes - 1, 2, and 3 bedroom private, NHS and College key worker homes

· Publicly accessible square – an extensively landscaped, open green space at the heart of the development, forming a new London square the size of Soho Square, opening up a site which has been closed to the public for many decades

· Pedestrian and cycle access - new safe routes throughout the site, opening up and linking to the wider Opportunity Area

· Four-star hotel – including conference and leisure facilities, health/fitness, restaurant and coffee shop

· New local convenience services – including retail, pharmacy, healthcare services, early years’ education nursery.

John Anderson, Project Director for Imperial West, says: " Imperial West will enable the College to expand upon the success of its South Kensington site to create a second, open access academic campus that provides the physical infrastructure for world-class research and teaching, leading-edge facilities for business development and technology transfer, and create an attractive environment to live and work in.

" Imperial West will provide real and lasting benefits for the capital, helping to grow the London economy, and has the capacity to generate and sustain over 3,000 jobs."

In the meantime, Wood Lane Studios are set to be completed by August this year so that accommodation will be available to postgraduate students in time for the start of the academic year. For more details, visit Wood Lane Studios.