Blog posts

Vice-President (Communications and Public Affairs)

Mr Luke Blair, currently an equity partner and board director at London Communications Agency (LCA), has accepted appointment as the College’s first Vice-President (Communications and Public Affairs). He will take up his position in September.

In the interim period until Mr Blair starts his appointment at the College, Mrs Caroline Davis, Head of Communications, will serve as Acting Director of Communications and Public Affairs, reporting to the President.

As Vice-President, Mr Blair will lead the Communications and Public Affairs Division, directing activities to promote Imperial’s work in the UK and internationally, to communicate with the College community, and to develop Imperial’s brand and its digital media strategy. He will advise the College leadership team as a member of the President’s Executive Group, President’s Board and Provost’s Board, and will report to the President.

A former political correspondent Mr Blair spent 10 years in journalism. He then held public relations roles at London First, the Design Council and the public relations consultancy Fishburn Hedges before joining LCA in 2003.

In Mr Blair’s 12 years at LCA he has covered communications leadership roles across the private and public sectors, including local government, the NHS and Transport for London. He has also been a member of the Cabinet Office communications review team and is a regular judge of PR industry awards.

Mr Blair holds a BA in English from Reading University and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Head of the Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dr Markus Perkmann has taken up appointment as Head of the Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Imperial College Business School, with effect from 1 February 2016.

Dr Perkmann joined the Business School in 2008 as a Senior Research Fellow, going on to become Head of the Business Model Innovation theme within the then Innovation Studies Centre. He was appointed Associate Professor of Technology and Innovation Management in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group in July 2013.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Associate Provost (Academic Planning)

Professor Neil Alford, Chair in Materials and Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering, has accepted appointment as Associate Provost (Academic Planning), a new part-time role, with effect from 4 April 2016.

Initially a two-year appointment, reporting to the Provost, Professor Alford will work on defining and developing new multi-disciplinary research facilities and research hubs, particularly at the White City Campus. He will work in conjunction with the many varied areas of College which are involved in these activities and particularly closely with Professor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), and Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost (Research). The Associate Provost (Academic Planning) will be a member of the Provost’s Board.

Professor Alford joined the College in 2007, and since then he has occupied a number of leadership positions. Professor Alford has served as Head of the Department of Materials, Acting Vice Provost (Research) and he remains Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering. His research focuses on Functional Materials, and in 2013 he was awarded the MBE for services to Engineering.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Academic Registrar

Mr David Ashton has accepted appointment as Academic Registrar from 1 June 2016.

Mr Ashton has been Director of Student Services and then Director of Student Administration at University College London since 2003. In the decade prior to that he held a number of Registry appointments at the LSE, including Head of Student Services. He has a degree in history from the University of Bristol.

The College is grateful to James Balloch, who has been serving as Acting Academic Registrar since 1 January 2016, and will continue until David Ashton takes up appointment.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Vice-Provost (Education)

Professor Simone Buitendijk has accepted appointment as Vice-Provost (Education) from 1 August 2016.

In this role Professor Buitendijk will be responsible for leading Imperial’s vision for education and student experience, including the implementation and continuing development of the Education and Student Strategy and student-focused components of the College Strategy 2015-20. Professor Buitendijk will also have an association with the School of Public Health as Professor of Maternal and Child Health.

Professor Buitendijk has held the role of Vice-Rector Magnificus at Leiden University since 2011, with responsibility for education and student affairs. Alongside this role she is Professor of Women’s and Family Health at the Leiden University Medical Center.

Professor Buitendijk studied Medicine at Utrecht University, going on to receive a Master’s degree in Public Health at Yale University’s School of Medicine and a PhD degree at Leiden University. She was appointed Senior Researcher in the Netherlands Institute for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in 1990, serving as Associate Head of its Division of Child Health before becoming Head of the Division in 2006.

Professor Buitendijk is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) Steering Group on Gender in Academia and of the LERU Steering Group of Vice-Rectors for Learning and Teaching.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Acting Dean of the Business School

Professor Nelson Phillips, Associate Dean of the Business School, has accepted appointment as Acting Dean of the Business School from 1 July 2016, with Professor Anand Anandalingam stepping down from 30 June.
A global search will be launching soon to appoint a permanent Dean to succeed Professor Anandalingam.

Professor Phillips joined the College in 2005 as Group Head of Organisation and Management. He was appointed Associate Dean of Faculty and Research in 2014, and since June 2015 has held the Abu Dhabi Chamber Chair in Innovation and Strategy.

Prior to joining Imperial, he was the Beckwith Professor of Management Studies at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and Associate Professor in the Strategy and Organisation Area at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Professor Phillips completed his PhD in Organisational Analysis from the University of Alberta, Canada in 1995.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Heads of Department in the Faculty of Engineering

Professor Nicholas (Nick) Buenfeld FREng will continue as Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for another five years, until 31 August 2021. Professor Buenfeld is Professor of Concrete Structures and has been Head of the Department since 1 September 2011.

Professor Mark Sephton has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering from 1 August 2016, for a period of 5 years, in succession to Professor Johannes (Jan) Cilliers.

Professor Sephton was appointed in 2005 as Reader in Earth Science and Engineering, and was promoted to Professor of Organic Geochemistry and Meteorics in October 2007. Currently he is the Head of the Earth and Planets Group and has a departmental responsibility for safety.


Professor Daniel Rueckert FREng has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Computing from 1 October 2016, for a period of 5 years, in succession to Professor Susan Eisenbach.
Professor Rueckert obtained his PhD from Imperial College in 1997 and he became a lecturer at the College in 1999. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2003 and to Professor of Visual Information Processing in 2005. Professor Rueckert has undertaken senior departmental roles, such as Director of Research from October 2009 to September 2013, and he is currently Deputy Head of Department.

Professor Nilay Shah FREng has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1 October 2016, for a period of 5 years, in succession to Professor Andrew Livingston.

Professor Shah obtained his MEng (1st Class) in 1988 and his PhD in 1992 from Imperial College, becoming an employee in June 1989 as a Research Assistant. He was appointed as a Lecturer in 1992, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1998 and promoted to Professor of Process of Systems Engineering on 1 October 2001. Professor Shah has undertaken senior departmental roles including Director of Undergraduate Studies from October 2003 to July 2007. Currently he is the Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) and Director of Research for the Department of Chemical Engineering.


John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Vice-Provost (Research)

Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng, FIEEE, FBCS, FIET has accepted appointment as Vice-Provost (Research) from 4 April 2016.

In this role Professor Jennings will be responsible for developing and providing leadership to the delivery of the College’s research strategy, and for enhancing the quality, impact, management and delivery of research in the College.

Professor Jennings is currently the inaugural Regius Professor of Computer Science and the Head of the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton. In addition to his academic role at Southampton, he was the inaugural Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security to the UK Government from 2010 – 2015.

Professor Jennings’s research focuses on artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and agent-based computing. His first degree in Computer Science was from the University of Exeter and his PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Queen Mary, University of London.

He was made Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2016 Queen’s New Year Honours List for his services to computer science and national security science.

Assistant Provost (Academic Promotions)

Professor Nigel Gooderham has taken up appointment as Assistant Provost (Academic Promotions), with effect from 1 January 2016. This is a part-time role which will form part of the senior academic leadership of the College. Professor Gooderham will continue in his academic role in the Department of Surgery and Cancer.

Professor Gooderham joined the College as Senior Research Officer in 1985 at the Hammersmith Hospital. He transferred to the South Kensington campus as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine in 1998 and was promoted to Professor of Molecular Toxicology in 2006. Professor Gooderham was previously Deputy Director of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine, Acting Head of the Department of Humanities, Consul (Non-Clinical) for the Faculty of Medicine, and Senior College Consul. He recently completed two years of service as the academic staff representative on Council.

This appointment follows Professor Stephen Richardson’s retirement on 31 December 2015. Also, following Stephen Richardson’s retirement, Chris Banks, Director of Library Services, will now report to the College Secretary & Registrar, and Richard Dickins, Director of Music and the Blyth Centre, will now report to the Provost.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

National Pay Award 2015/16


UCEA (the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association) has advised that, following the conclusion of the national pay negotiations, institutions can now implement the 2015/16 national pay offer. The College’s national pay scales have therefore been updated to incorporate a rise of 1% effective from 1 August 2015 for those staff remaining on national non-clinical rather than local pay scales.

Payment at the appropriate new rates will be made in November 2015 salaries and will be backdated to 1 August 2015.