Blog posts

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

Professor Gavin Screaton FMedSci, currently Vice Dean (Academic Development) in the Faculty of Medicine, has accepted appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, with effect from 1 March 2015.


Since Professor Screaton joined the College in 2004 as the Chair of Medicine, a position he continues to hold, he has served as Campus Dean for Hammersmith, and Head of the Department of Medicine (formerly Division of Medicine), before becoming Vice Dean in 2013. He holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, and his research currently focuses on the immunology of infectious disease with particular respect to dengue virus infection.


Professor Screaton is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a member of the Association of Physicians and was made a Founder Senior Investigator in the National Institute for Health Research. He sits on funding panels at the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.  He is an honorary consultant physician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.


Professor Screaton will succeed Professor Dermot Kelleher FMedSci, Vice President (Health), who will take up appointment as the new Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Canada, on 1 September 2015. The College will now begin the search for a successor to Professor Kelleher as Vice President (Health).


John Neilson

College Secretary & Registrar

Vice President (Advancement)

Mrs Sarah Porter Waterbury, currently Vice President of Development and Campaigns at New York University, has accepted appointment as the College’s first Vice President (Advancement). Her remit will be to build relationships and support for Imperial through fundraising and advocacy, and her responsibilities will include alumni relations, development, database management, prospect research and events. She will report to the President and will take up her position on 20 April 2015.

Mrs Waterbury has held a range of development appointments during her career. She served as Major Gifts Officer at Harvard Business School from 1985, and then as Director of Development and External Relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University from 1993. In 1999 she became Deputy Vice President for Development at the American University of Beirut before joining the Children’s Hospital Boston as Senior Director of Campaign and Major Gifts. She took up her current role at NYU in 2009.

She was educated at Princeton University, New Jersey, where she took a BA in History, before working in private banking in South and Central America.

In advance of the Vice President (Advancement) taking up her position, the Alumni Office and the Regular Giving teams joined the Development division on 1 January 2015. Mrs Nicola Pogson, Head of Alumni Relations for the Business School, is serving on an interim basis as Head of the College’s Alumni Relations function. In this capacity she reports to Angela Bowen, Deputy Director of Development, who currently oversees all advancement functions.

John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Appointments in Business School

Professor Nelson Phillips, currently Chair in Strategy and Organisational Behaviour, has accepted appointment as Associate Dean of Faculty and Research of Imperial College Business School for three years, with effect from 17 November 2014. He succeeds Professor Gerry George, who is leaving the School to become Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University from 1 January 2015.

Professor Phillips was the Group Head of Organisation and Management at Imperial from 2005 to 2012. Prior to joining the College, Professor Phillips was the Beckwith Professor of Management Studies at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School from 2002 to 2005 and was an Associate Professor in the Strategy and Organisation Area at McGill University in Montreal, Canada from 1993 to 2002.

The Business School’s Groups have become Departments. To reflect this change, three Heads of Department have been appointed.

Professor Richard Green, currently the Alan and Sabine Howard Professor of Sustainable Energy Business, has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Management. He was appointed as Management Group Head in January 2013 for a three-year term. He was previously Professor of Energy Economics and Director of the Institute for Energy Research and Policy at the University of Birmingham, and Professor of Economics at the University of Hull. He started his career at the Department of Applied Economics and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

Professor Alex Michaelides, currently Professor of Finance, has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Finance. He was appointed as Head of the Finance Department in October 2014 for a three-year term. He is Research Fellow at CEPR (International Macroeconomics and Financial Economics Programmes), at CFS (Frankfurt) and NETSPAR (The Netherlands). He was previously a lecturer (2001-2006) and associate professor (2006-2010) at the Department of Economics, London School of Economics, and a professor of finance at the Department of Public and Business Administration, University of Cyprus in 2010-2014. 2014/15 – 07 Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Professor Mike Wright, currently Professor of Entrepreneurship, has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He became Innovation & Entrepreneurship Group Head in March 2013 for a three-year term. He is Director of the Centre for Management Buy-out Research, the first centre to be established devoted to the study of private equity and buyouts, which was founded in 1986 at the Nottingham University Business School. Previously he was Professor of Financial Studies at Nottingham University Business School since 1989.

John Neilson

College Secretary & Registrar

Vice President (Health)

The post of Vice President (Health) will be elevated to a College-wide role and will become the sole focus of Professor Dermot Kelleher FMedSci, who currently also serves as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Kelleher’s new remit as Vice President (Health) will be to support and grow the multidisciplinary approach to improving health across all of the College’s academic disciplines, and to develop strong external support and relationships for these efforts, with both international and domestic institutions. He will engage with healthcare partners in identifying new models of health care with particular emphasis on using data sciences in new and innovative ways. He will report directly to the President and will become a member of the Executive Group of the President’s Board.

As a result of the elevated role of Vice President (Health), a new Dean of the Faculty of Medicine will be appointed to lead the Faculty’s management and academic processes. The Dean shall report to Imperial’s Provost, Professor James Stirling CBE FRS, and will join the President’s Board, the Provost’s Board and the College Council. The changes will become effective upon the appointment of the new Dean.


John Neilson
College Secretary & Registrar

Update on consultation on USS reform – 25 November 2014

USS 2014 Actuarial Valuation

As part of the process for the 2014 actuarial valuation of the assets and liabilities of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the trustee is currently consulting on the proposed assumptions and data which it intends to use to determine the value of the scheme’s liabilities, and a draft of the updated Statement of Funding Principles.  Access the consultation document


Consultation process

The consultation requested feedback from Universities UK (UUK) and through it from individual participating employers by the end of November 2014.

On 21 November UUK issued a note on UUK’s assumptions proposed in the USS consultation and asked for responses by 28 November.


Imperial’s response

The College has chosen to share its response with staff. Its submission to UUK also includes a report published by a working group of Imperial academic staff, containing expertise in Mathematical Finance, Statistics, Actuarial Science and experience in decision making for large external pension funds, drawn together from the College’s Departments of Mathematics and Physics.

Imperial College London’s response to UUK on USS’s consultation on the proposed assumptions for the scheme’s technical provisions and recovery plan

Report on USS Pension Valuation by Imperial Working Party

Suspension of UCU Industrial Action

Suspension of UCU Industrial Action

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to write to inform you that UCU today confirmed a suspension of all industrial action in relation to their USS dispute. The suspension is to take immediate effect and will run to at least 15 January 2015.

The suspension has been agreed between UCU and UUK to allow a period of intense negotiation. We are pleased at this development and hope that a solution can be agreed.

Under the terms of UCU’s agreement with UUK, the 66 affected universities have been asked to confirm that they will not be applying their policies on the withholding of pay for breach of contract in respect of any individuals who actually participated between 6 and 19 November. This is on the condition that those individuals make up all work missed in a reasonable period of time. We have provided this confirmation.

It is the view of the President’s and Provost’s Boards that any reforms should strive to offer an affordable and sustainable pension scheme which has flexibility and remains attractive to both current and future members. We understand the importance of this issue to all of you and we will continue to represent our views to decision makers in this process. We will keep you informed as further information emerges.

With kind regards,

Louise Lindsay

Director of Human Resources

Notification of UCU industrial action from 6 November

Notification of UCU industrial action from 6 November

The message below was sent to members of USS on 31 October 2014 following notification from University and College Union (UCU) of plans for continuous action short of a strike.

Dear Colleagues,

Notification of UCU industrial action from 6 November

The University and College Union (UCU) has given notice of plans for continuous action short of a strike, intended to halt all actions necessary for, or associated with, student learning outcomes. We have been advised that the industrial action will start on Thursday 6 November and will include a comprehensive boycott of all student work submitted for assessment, including coursework and assignments.   Imperial is committed to providing our talented students with an outstanding education and any action having a detrimental impact on their experience is neither an appropriate nor effective route to resolve a dispute about staff pension benefits.

The industrial action follows a ballot over reforms being considered by the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) to address the scheme’s significant deficit.   As I noted in my message of 1 October, the College regarded the ballot as premature while proposals for potential USS benefit changes are not yet agreed.

Imperial’s position on pension reform

We recognise that pension provision is very important to our staff.  Because we participate in a collective pension scheme we are actively contributing to discussions through the national Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC).   The JNC consists of an equal number of employer and UCU representatives with an independent chair and is the forum for consideration of proposals and alternative options.

The College has submitted our views to the forum via the employers’ representatives.   We believe that reform is necessary.   We have made clear our priority is to maintain the best scheme possible for our staff on a financially sustainable basis.  Our preference is for USS to maintain a defined benefit scheme, based on career average earnings (CARE). Compared to the hybrid option proposed, this would enhance recruitment and retention packages, but we recognise that our preference would not be sustainable within the current range of contributions.  Any reform package must meet the requirements for funding sustainability set by the independent Pensions Regulator.

The CARE scheme carries a higher risk that the employer contribution will increase compared to the other options being considered.   The College is willing to accept that risk in return for improved employee benefits but the UUK proposals are, understandably, based on the majority view of participating employers.   We note that employers and employees will both incur increased contribution costs as a result of Government changes to the state pension and the impact this will have on the ‘contracted out’ status of occupational pension schemes – this, no doubt, has an impact on the ability of both employees and employers to increase their contributions.   The College is willing to fund a further modest increase in employer contributions to maintain career average benefits for all but we recognise that not all HEIs are in a position to do this.   We understand that employee contributions would also need to rise to maintain career average benefits for all.  We are therefore interested in seeing a development of the proposals that might offer choice to members, for example making it optional for members to pay more for defined benefit top-up.

While these discussions are ongoing, and options still being explored, we are disappointed that UCU is advocating action which could disadvantage students.

For further information about the USS reforms, and to register for a pensions briefing even on 5 November covering all of the schemes (occupational and state), please visit the following link:

Information on the USS reform proposals and to register for the pensions briefing

Imperial’s response to the industrial action

The College cannot condone industrial action that will impact on the quality of our students’ education.  If a member of staff decides to take part in the UCU action short of a strike, they will be undertaking some of their contractual duties but refusing to carry out all work associated with student learning outcomes and the setting and assessment of student work. This is partial performance of the member of staff’s employment contract.  The College is legally entitled to reject partial performance and will do so for this industrial action.   In these circumstances, the College is entitled to withhold pay, in full, for those who do not comply with their employment contract.

UCU has targeted actions related to student learning outcomes. It has also declared this action to be continuous i.e. without a stated end date.   Imperial places students at the centre of the university and will do everything it can to reassure them that their experience and education will not be affected by any action.

On an ex-gratia basis, and for those staff who carry out all their other duties and responsibilities (including student support and teaching), the College will continue to make partial payment of salary during the period of industrial action.    The refusal to set out and carry out assessments will result in the College withholding 25% of the member of staff’s contractual pay during the period of partial performance.    The College will not reimburse pay that has been withheld once the dispute is concluded.

There would be no obligation on the member of staff to attend work for the 25% period of the contract that they are not being paid where this relates to time that would have been spent on assessment activities.   The College’s discretionary payment of 75% of the contract is conditional on all other contractual responsibilities and attendance commitments being met in full.

The College values the wide-ranging contributions of staff to Imperial’s activities and our decision to withhold a proportion of pay for partial performance, rather than full pay as we are entitled to do, recognises that staff will continue to perform many of their other responsibilities if they take action short of a strike.

This is a voluntary action by the College and without prejudice to its legal rights.   The College reserves its rights to review the impact of the action and to increase the level of pay being withheld, or to withhold pay in full, at any time during the industrial action.

Impact of industrial action on pension benefits

Industrial action automatically suspends a member of staff’s employment contract, impacting on the accrual of pension and other benefits including death in service/life cover.  Where salary is withheld in full, pension benefits are suspended although a member of staff may apply to maintain life cover.    USS rules require advance notification, before industrial action commences, if a member of staff wishes to maintain protection of life cover.

For partial performance the employer may withhold pay and withhold pension contributions or withhold pay but maintain pension contributions.   The College is willing to maintain full pension contributions during the period of partial performance.   In order to maintain full pensions contributions a member of staff must (a) notify the College three days in advance of the commencement of action short of a strike (b) be prepared to fund their own employee contributions at the level of full pay.

For those members of staff who do not wish to maintain their own employee contributions in full, or do not notify the College in advance of commencing action, then the pension contributions will accrue at 75% of service during the period of industrial action – as if their contract of employment were part-time.

Informing the College

If you are a member of staff taking industrial action, in order to maintain your pension benefits in full, you should notify the College of your intention by emailing me, Louise Lindsay, Director of HR, via, copied to your Head of Department, at least three working days in advance of the first day of action.

Please state:

–       Your name, CID and department

–       When you intend to commence action (from the first occasion when you do not set or mark coursework or fail to carry out any other assessment activity)

–       Which courses will be affected by the industrial action

–       If you wish to have your pension benefits maintained at full salary

Upon receipt of the notification, I will reply to confirm the impact on your pay and pension benefits during the industrial action.

Minimising disruption
We are an educational institution and our priority is to provide for our students. We are working with Heads of Department to minimise the impact on Imperial students of any action taken by UCU members.  We hope that most staff will continue to work as normal.  Where staff take on additional work as a result of the dispute then we will ensure this additional responsibility is recognised appropriately.   Local HR teams will liaise with Heads of Department to advise on this further.

We are liaising with the Imperial Students’ Union and will be communicating directly with students about the situation once we understand the likely impact of the industrial action. We will assure them that the College does not condone the UCU action and is exploring all options to keep any disruption to student learning outcomes at a minimum.

This advice has been published to the College’s website and will be updated as required.

If you have any questions about any of the guidance please do not hesitate to contact me via

Kind regards,


Louise Lindsay

Director of Human Resources



Enterprise at Imperial

Corporate Partnerships has been renamed as Enterprise. It will be led by Dr Simon Hepworth as Director of Enterprise and will comprise the following four groups:

1. A Programme Management Office, which from 1 August combines the Project Management team from Imperial Consultants (ICON) and the Major Projects team from Corporate Partnerships. The new group is led by Dr Simon Philbin and provides programme, project and consortium management services for academic-led initiatives.

2. The Corporate Partnerships group, delivering research funds from industry, now led by Nik Pishavadia;

3. The Enterprise Ventures group, supporting delivery of complex projects and new College initiatives, including Imperial Business Partners and Tech Foresight;

4. The Enterprise Strategy group, supporting the growth of the College’s enterprise community.

ICON will remain a separate entity to continue to facilitate staff consultancy work.

Background to UCU ballot on dispute regarding USS

Important background to UCU ballot on dispute regarding USS

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are being balloted between 1 October and 20 October on industrial action over reforms being considered to address the significant deficit in the scheme.

The Employers Pensions Forum for Higher Education has said that “UCU’s ballot material includes misinformation over employers’ proposals for reform that are not yet finalised”. The information below, provided by the Universities and College Employers Association, sets out the background to this statement and the current position with discussions about the future of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

Key points

  • The USS has a sizeable and persistent yet volatile deficit. In March 2013, this deficit (the difference between the scheme’s assets and the value of the benefits for which it is liable) was £11.5 billion. In March 2014 the deficit is expected to be around £8billion. Reform of USS members’ future benefit structure is necessary to address the deficit and ensure that the USS remains viable.
  • The employers are working with the UCU and the USS Trustees to consider what approach is needed to address the deficit, including considering the necessary changes to the scheme’s future benefit structure. The employers’ objective is for the USS to remain affordable, attractive and sustainable for both employees and employers, while addressing the deficit and reducing the risk of future contribution increases.
  • The UCU modelling that is provided as supporting evidence for the ballot for industrial action is premature and ill-informed. By disregarding the modelling being considered jointly by UCU and UUK, UCU has provided misinformation to its members even though the employers’ proposals for reform have not yet been finalised and are the subject of continuing discussion between UUK and UCU.
  • UUK has just concluded consultations with USS employers on the possible options to address the deficit. The employers’ position will then be developed further in the coming weeks and USS will provide high quality modelling to enable understanding of any impact on future benefit accrual.
  • The benefits a member has built up before the date that any changes are implemented will be protected and will be calculated based on their service and pensionable salary at the date of change.
  • Institutions will receive a report on the outcome of the employer consultation following the EPF USS Group meeting and the employers’ proposals for reform will be publicly circulated once they are finalised later this autumn. UUK will also share modelling on the implications of the proposed reform for different categories of USS members in terms of their future benefit structure.
  • The employers’ proposals will be shared with UCU through the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) in October. The JNC consists of an equal number of employer and UCU representatives and an independent chair. We also expect the UCU to put forward their proposals for reform to the JNC.
  • Following the negotiations during the autumn and a decision by the JNC, a formal consultation with all affected employees and representative bodies on any proposed reforms to USS will take place in early 2015. Employees’ views must be taken into account by the JNC and USS Trustees before a decision to implement any changes is made.

Timeline of key forthcoming dates
7 October
Employers’ representatives in the Employers Pensions Forum (EPF) USS Group meet to discuss the responses received from scheme employers following the recent UUK employer consultation, and decide on the proposals for future scheme design and contributions which will then be taken forward to negotiation with UCU.

22 October
USS JNC meeting where member representatives (UCU) will meet employer representatives (UUK) to consider initial proposals from the employers – and if UCU wishes, from UCU – for future benefit reform.

13 November
Further USS JNC meeting aiming to conclude discussions between the parties on potential benefit reforms and decide on the proposed changes that will be the subject of the statutory consultation by employers with affected employees.

Early 2015
The USS Trustee Board considers the JNC decision and asks scheme employers to commence the statutory employee consultation with affected employees on proposed USS benefit reforms which will last for at least 60 days. All active members of USS as well as employees who have opted out of USS or other USS eligible non-members should by law be included in the consultation as well as certain representative bodies. This consultation must be undertaken by each scheme employer with their own employees. The JNC and USS Trustees will then receive feedback from the consultation before making final decisions by June 2015.

For more information, visit the HR webpages about this story.

Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences

Professor Tom Welton, FRSC, currently the Head of Department of Chemistry and Professor in Sustainable Chemistry, has accepted appointment as the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences with effect from 1 January 2015.

Professor Welton joined the Department of Chemistry at the College in 1993 as Lloyds of London Tercentenary Fellow.  He became a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry in 1995 and, subsequently, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000 and Reader in 2002, before being promoted to Professor in 2004. His research interests are focused on sustainable and ‘green’ chemistry, making chemicals, and related industries, both environmentally and economically sustainable. He has held departmental positions of Examinations Officer and Director of Undergraduate Studies and has been a member of a wide range of strategic College Committees and Boards.

Beyond the College, he is Chair-elect of the Heads of Chemistry UK and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Council, as well as a member of the steering group for the Royal Society’s diversity programme.

Professor Welton will succeed Professor Maggie Dallman, who has led the Faculty since 2008, and who will take up appointment as Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships).  Professor Alan Armstrong will succeed Professor Welton as Head of the Department of Chemistry.