Imperial College London is developing a world leading science and technology environment for knowledge creation, knowledge transfer, collaboration, innovation and enterprise at its new campus at Imperial West in White City. It aspiration is to build an engaging community delivering energy and efficiency to those within it, well connected to other key areas of London, including the Imperial Campus at South Kensington. Imperial West is to be a place where businesses from the very small to the very large are accommodated and where there can be extensive development of highly relevant relationships - between academics, those from the business world involved with product and service development, and clinicians.
The challenges lie in creating this environment in a place new to the College, approximately 3 miles from the principal campus, and connecting it into the research/R&D ecosystem that exists at the College, in the rest of London, and in the UK/rest of the world - so that it is truly a place that relevant people want to be in, come to, and take benefit from. At a more detailed level, it is about ensuring that academics at Imperial get involved with activity at the new campus, faculty move out here and enjoy the experience, and the location becomes an ‘Open Innovation Hot-Spot’ for businesses to engage with both the College and each other.
Creative Places was asked to provide some early advice at relatively high and strategic level on positioning and promotion. We guided on actions to take so that academic community members can truly realise benefit from a move here, how best to make the proposition work for relevant businesses, and the work that might be undertaken to help establish the location for business.
There is good interim activity on the new campus already, managed by ThinkSpace, and the scene has been set for this to become one of the best research intensive and collaborative environments in the UK. A Research and Translation Hub is under development, to accommodate the Chemistry Department, a new national hub for translation and innovation in Synthetic Biology and a new Data Science Institute.
The Michael Uren Institute of Biomedical Engineering is to commence construction in 2015 and the London node of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) ICT Laboratory is already operating from a suite within Centre House. This initiative involves Imperial, UCL, the University of Edinburgh, the Institute for Sustainability, Intel, BT, Vodafone and IBM.