Dear Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. 

It is hard to believe how much the world has changed in the few months since the coronavirus pandemic emerged. A recent College article on our First Six Months on the Frontline is a terrific overview of the leadership role the Imperial community has played in response to COVID-19.

Imperial moved to remote working in March and colleagues joined together to ensure that essential research and teaching continued remotely. Our medics took final exams online, for what we believe is the first time in the world, enabling many to rapidly begin work in the hospitals. Many colleagues volunteered to support the NHS and other community efforts.

Throughout all of our planning, the safety and wellbeing of staff and students remains our highest priority. Academic staff have worked collaboratively to develop innovative multi-mode teaching combining online and in-person learning in preparation to welcome students back in the Fall term.

Research continues to play a transformative role. Professor Robin Shattock’s self-amplifying RNA vaccine is in phase one human trials and initial signs are encouraging, as his team works tirelessly to develop an affordable vaccine that can be distributed globally, including to low-income countries. Colleagues have provided influential guidance for policymakers, worked hard to develop a new one-hour testing device, track virus exposure, and study the disease. All are important contributions to seeing us through the pandemic and have been underpinned by philanthropy.

Our work continues beyond COVID and I am immensely proud to announce the new Imperial College Mathematics School targeting underrepresented groups. This is a wonderful example of the leadership role we can play to expand opportunity and reach talented young people.

We have also commissioned a group, chaired by Prof. Nilay Shah, to examine our history to consider how we best can steward our legacy in a way that fits our values. This group will seek input from across the College and alumni community in the coming months.

Thank you for your support for Imperial. We appreciate your encouragement, offers of help and messages of solidarity. Please keep in touch and let us know about your own response to COVID-19

With best wishes,

Alice Gast
Imperial College London