April 13, 2024

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Imperial opens major new building for School of Public Health | Imperial News

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Photo: Sign on side of building in the sunshine reads Imperial School of Public Health




A significant new research facility, driving advances in health policy and preventing and treating disease, has officially opened today.

The new School of Public Health building at Imperial College London’s White City Campus was opened by Professor Sir Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England.

The celebration saw distinguished guests rubbing shoulders with Imperial’s senior leadership, staff and students. Dame Marit Mohn and Community Jameel gave generous contributions towards the building’s design and construction, and Dame Marit attended the event along with George Richards, Director of Community Jameel, as well as policymakers and local community leaders.

Photo: Chris Whitty, a white man in his 50s, speaks from a podium in front of a backdrop saying 'Imperial' in the university's new branding
Professor Sir Chris Whitty takes to the podium, saying: “It’s an amazing space and you’re very lucky to work here.”

The new building is a hive of flexible spaces where academics, collaborators, students and the local community can create ambitious ideas together. Set in Imperial’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem at the rapidly expanding White City Innovation District, the School will support modern advances in genomics, data sciences, community engagement and educational facilities.

Imperial is one of the world’s leading institutions for public health research, driving advances at a local, national and global scale. Imperial’s School of Public Health experts have also been at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19, as well as improving child health and primary care. They have also established new centres in cancer epidemiology and climate change and disease.

Imperial’s strong foundation in science allows it to channel knowledge and understanding, making it one of the most effective centres for public health in the world. Professor Sir Chris Whitty

The design and construction of the new building has been made possible thanks to a fundraising campaign that has attracted the support of leading philanthropists, and the work of the School will focus across four key areas: World Health, Life-Long Health, Community Health and Policy, and Children’s Health and Wellbeing. 

A landmark donation from Dame Marit established the Mohn Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing, where researchers are tackling the health threats affecting children in London, the UK, and beyond. In partnership with Community Jameel, Imperial established the Jameel Institute in 2019, which unites expertise in data analytics and epidemiology, to improve understanding of diseases and health emergencies – including the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change and disease. While a gift of £2.5 million from Humphrey Battcock enabled Imperial to appoint Professor Frank Kelly as the inaugural Battcock Chair in Community Health and Policy and to form Europe’s largest cluster for research into air pollution and health.

photo: 9 story building with large windows faces out onto a road
New home for the School of Public Health

Professor Deborah Ashby, Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine and former head of the School of Public Health, said: “Five years ago we launched the campaign for a dedicated centre for the School of Public Health that would bring our scientists, researchers and students together in one place for the first time. Today that vision has come to fruition, in no small part thanks to the generosity of our philanthropic donors, and this is an exciting moment for all of us.”

The new School of Public Health building has been designed by Allies and Morrison, who also designed the neighbouring Sir Michael Uren Hub which was completed in 2019. The new building provides nearly 5,400 square metres of space, fitted out by Graham Construction.

The site sits in the Imperial WestTech Corridor including South Kensington, Paddington Life Sciences, White City Innovation District and the Old Oak Park Royal development area. It is close to the Invention Rooms, where Imperial engages with local communities and brings global expertise to bear on London health challenges; clinical research settings at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; and Imperial’s Hammersmith Campus, where The Princess Royal recently opened the £120 million state-of-the-art MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS).

 Photo: Four smartly dressed people in conversation, against a pop-up banner bearing the name 'Imperial' in the university's new brand colours and style
In conversation (L-R) Professors Sir Chris Whitty, Deborah Ashby and Neil Ferguson meet Dame Marit Mohn

Professor Neil Ferguson, Director of the School of Public Health and Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, said: “Imperial’s strong position in public health science was demonstrated by our world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the work we do here will ensure our scientists are in the very best position to devise the pandemic preparedness strategies of the future. We want the School of Public Health to be in the strongest possible position to address the most pressing public health challenges in the decades to come.”

Speaking at the event, Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Sir Chris Whitty said: “Preventing disease and shrinking the time that people spend with ill health is essential to them to having a good life, contributing to their families and society and, as well as to the economy and reducing pressures on the NHS. Imperial’s strong foundation in science allows it to channel knowledge and understanding, making it one of the most effective centres for public health in the world. This puts Imperial in an incredibly strong position, so I’m very excited by what’s coming together here. It’s an amazing space and you’re very lucky to work here.”

9 smartly dressed people stand proudly in their new office with big smiles on their faces. A sign on the wall reads Jameel Institute / Combating disease threats worldwide.
Members of the Jameel Institute, led by Professor Neil Ferguson (Right), are among the first in the new building at Imperial’s White City Campus

Commenting on the opening, Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial, said: “Our School of Public Health is already home to globally important research. This new building will bring together our staff, students, industry and partners – to mix and collaborate and innovate. As we launch our new strategy this year, the work in this building and at our campuses across London and beyond will help Imperial chart a path through an unpredictable world that is facing unprecedented challenges and accelerate the impact of new discoveries and ideas.”

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial, said: “The School of Public Health had a huge impact on the world as we navigated the pandemic, and it now has a home with state-of-the-art facilities that will enable research to thrive on a campus that bring together medical science and engineering.”

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