Imperial College London to launch new Global Development Hub

29 Apr 2021 | Network Updates | Update from Imperial College London
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Imperial College London signage on the City and Guilds Building

Imperial College London signage on the City and Guilds Building. Photo: Imperial College London website.

New Hub will galvanise expertise as Imperial researchers continue to forge vital international partnerships

The College will launch a new Global Development Hub later this month to bring together Imperial’s expertise to maximise the global impact of its world-leading research, education and innovation. The hub plans to engage with the United Nations Sustainable Agenda 2030 and to prepare for sustainability challenges that might arise 20, 30 or 50 years into the future.

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, will launch the Global Development Hub on Thursday 29 April 2021. The event will be introduced by Professor Maggie Dallman, Vice-President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) and Professor Michael Templeton, Professor of Public Health Engineering. This will be followed by remarks from Imperial’s President Professor Alice P. Gast and a Q&A session with Amina J. Mohammed, led by Professor David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s Special Envoy on COVID-19 and Co-Director of Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation.

The launch comes as Imperial research continue to develop essential partnerships in support of international development goals, including through projects that have received funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) in the past. The scheme has supported world-class research groups and innovative companies to co-create major new partnerships across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and shaped a UK research and innovation ecosystem that is responsive to sustainable development needs. For example, with GCRF support, Imperial researchers have developed a partnership between the University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka) and the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) to set up a conflict-injury hub, worked to boost South Africa’s self-sufficiency in essential medication manufacture and collaborated with the University of Ghana to create novel rapid malaria diagnostics.

The research and innovation landscape has also grown to innovate in response to sustainable development challenges. At Imperial, 72 start-ups and spin-outs from our innovation ecosystem are now focused on applying science and technology to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals: FungiAlert, for example, has developed a device that acts as an early detection system for phytophthora - a soil-based pathogen estimated to destroy harvests worth up to $2-7 billion, per crop, each year. BBOXX provides solar installations in pay-as-you-go instalments to rural communities in Tanzania and Rwanda, helping people in areas with very little energy infrastructure to gain access to local power and pay for it from an app on their smartphone. 

The Global Development Hub will serve as a convening platform to utilise Imperial’s global impact on sustainable development and support the development of further research and innovation projects in this space as well as longstanding College partnerships like the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub and new ones, such as the Imperial and the African Institute of Mathematics Sciences (AIMS). It will offer a community-building network to support new multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research partnerships focused on global development challenges, a platform to support education and student experience linked to sustainable development and a series of SDG-focused access points to the research and innovation ecosystem at Imperial.

Imperial College London is committed to instil in students a passion for sustainable development and the skills and thinking needed to rise the challenge of the UN SDGs and the legacy beyond them.  The Hub will champion areas where skills and approaches related to the SDGs are being integrated into the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum in innovative forms ranging from Change Makers to design engineering modules co-delivered by Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. The Hub will also support scholarships focused on sustainable development, such as the new Imperial-British Council Women in STEM scholarship partnership, which will enable female scientists from a group of countries in Latin America to study on a range of excellent courses aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This article was first published on April 28 by Imperial College London. 

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