You will shape the future, Imperial College London's Rector tells new graduates
Despite graduating into a tough job market, Imperial College London's newest postgraduate degree holders should be optimistic about the opportunities ahead of them, Rector Sir Keith O'Nions will say at today's graduation ceremonies held in the Royal Albert Hall.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Despite graduating into a tough job market, Imperial College London’s newest postgraduate degree holders should be optimistic about the opportunities ahead of them, Rector Sir Keith O’Nions will say at today’s graduation ceremonies held in the Royal Albert Hall.
The largest Postgraduate Awards ceremonies in the College’s history will see around 2,000 science, engineering, medicine and business graduands receive their degree, watched by 4,700 guests. Describing today’s graduates as “our greatest contribution to societies around the world”, Sir Keith will tell them:
706“Pessimism and self-doubt have always been in rather short supply at Imperial and would in my view be entirely misplaced at these times. You have the knowledge and understanding that is key to meeting the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow - you will without doubt be part of moulding the world’s future. Your skills, knowledge and expertise are necessary now more than ever, because it is only through innovation in science, technology and medicine and sound business sense that our economy will advance. We can only guess at the advances that your generation will make - but I am confident you will be part of it."
Also attending the ceremonies are leading figures from the worlds of business and science. Honorary degrees will be awarded to the former Science Minister Lord Sainsbury, biomedical engineering pioneer Professor Robert Nerem and leading immunologist Professor Sir Andrew McMichael. Admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London are the entrepreneur Ram Gidoomal, Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and Lady Wolfson, Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation.
The ceremonies will also celebrate staff and students who have made outstanding contributions to the College’s life and work. Physics postgraduate student Jad Marrouche of the Department of Physics receives a Student Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of his outreach work and Professor Jane Mitchell of the National Heart and Lung Institute receives the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision. Two academic groups focusing on nanoscale science and technology and molecular systems engineering receive Research Excellence Awards worth £150,000 each, awarded to support research of high academic achievement and significant future potential.
For further information please contact:
J-P Jones Imperial College London Press Office Tel: 020 7594 6704 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Out of hours duty press officer: +44( 0 )7803 886 248
Notes to editors:
Biographies of the new honorary graduates:
Professor Sir Andrew McMichael
Sir Andrew McMichael is an internationally leading immunologist renowned for his work on T cell immune responses to virus infections, in particular influenza and HIV. He is Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford, where he leads projects on subjects including the development of HIV vaccines, with two candidate vaccines now being tested in phase one clinical trials by his group.
He qualified in medicine in 1968 from the University of Cambridge and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, now part of Imperial’s School of Medicine,and obtained his PhD in immunology at the National Institute for Medical Research in 1974. He began his career as a house physician and house surgeon at St Mary’s and Hammersmith Hospitals, now part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
In 1977 he moved to the Nuffield Departments of Surgery and Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, then became a Professorial Fellow at Trinity College in 1983 and then at Corpus Christi College in 2000.
Sir Andrew was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992 and elected to the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 2004. Awards and honours include the Novartis Prize in 1998, the Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist award in 1998, the Sheikh Hamdan Award in 2000, the Ambuj Nath Bose Prize, Royal College of Physicians, in 2001, and Imperial’s Ernst Chain Prize and the Nature/NESTA Award for Lifetime Mentoring in 2006. He was knighted in 2008 for services to medical science.
Professor Robert M. Nerem
An early pioneer of bioengineering, Professor Robert Nerem founded the discipline at Georgia Tech in 1987, developed his group into one the highest rated in the field in the USA. He began his career in the Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at Ohio State University, where he completed his degree in 1964, and rose to the rank of professor in 1972 and Associate Dean for Research in the Graduate School in 1975.
His interest in applying engineering to the human body was stimulated when, while studying heat transfer to space vehicles re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, he was asked to help investigate the effects of lift-off on astronauts. He subsequently spent a year as a visiting professor at Imperial College London with the celebrated bioengineer Professor Colin Caro, and continued to pursue his interest in biomedical engineering on returning to Ohio.
In 1979 Professor Nerem moved to the University of Houston, where he served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He then took up the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine at Georgia Tech in 1987, where he also founded and directed the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and the Georgia Tech/Emory Centre for the Engineering of Living Tissues in 1998.
He was the founding President of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and a past President of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine and the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville
A noted businessman, politician and philanthropist, Lord Sainsbury’s contribution to the UK’s science and technology base has been immense. As Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for science and innovation at the Department for Trade and Industry, he earned the respect of researchers for his genuine passion for science and technology.
He acted as a high profile spokesperson for science on issues such as nuclear power, stem cell research and the use of animals in research, and his time as minister from 1998 to 2006 covered a period of unprecedented government investment in science.
His commitment to bettering society through science, technology and med icine led him to found the Gatsby Cha ritable Foundation in 1967. Since then it has awarded around £500 million to support work in fields such as technical education, plant science and mental health.
High profile projects advanced by the Foundati on include the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL, the Sainsbury Laboratory for Plant Molecular Pathology in Norwich, Sainsbury Management Fellowships for UK Engineers, and the Institute for Government, which s upports the skills development of senior civil servants and politicians.
Lord Sainsbury also has extensive business experience in the family’s supermarket chain, as Finance Director from 1973–90, Deputy Chairman from 1988–92 and Chairman from 1992–98. Prior to that, he read history and psychology at King’s College, Cambridge, and gained an MBA from the Columbia Graduate School of Business in 1971. He was created a life peer in 1997.
Biographies of new fellows
Mr Ram Gidoomal
Ram Gidoomal is a talented business leader and entrepreneur, an energetic philanthropist and an enthusiastic promoter of civic responsibility. As an Asian refugee from Kenya, he first arrived in the UK in 1967 at the age of 16 and shortly after won a place at Imperial College London to study physics.
He graduated in 1971 and remained at the College as a Research Assistant until 1975, when he decided to focus instead on building a career in business. He has maintained a long connection with the College, sitting on its governing Court and Council, and was the first chair of the Research Ethics Committee and the Student Trustee Board.
After leaving Imperial he worked for the multinational company Inlaks, becoming Deputy Group Chief Executive in 1978 and UK Group Chief Executive in 1985, and it was a business trip to Mumbai in this role that was the trigger for setting up his first charity. The Christmas Cracker Charitable Trust was founded in 1989 and mobilised 50,000 teenagers to raise over £5 million during the subsequent eight years for people suffering from the effects of poverty in developing countries.
Many other charitable endeavours followed, including the South Asian Development Partnership, founded in 1991 to encourage entrepreneurial activities in the UK and South Asia, Citylife, which helps disadvantaged people in the UK to find jobs and housing, and the Employability Forum, set up to help refugees to find employment.
In addition to his business and charitable success, Mr Gidoomal stood in the 2000 and 2004 London Mayoral elections, polling around 100,000 votes on each occasion. He was awarded the CBE for services to the business community and race relations in 1998.
Mr Lim Chuan Poh
Lim Chuan Poh has made enormous contributions to science and education in Singapore and internationally through senior roles in both the Agency for Science, Technology and Research ( A*STAR ) and the Ministry of Education.
As Chair of A*STAR, a position he has held since April 2007, he leads an international community of scientists with the mission of carrying out worldclass research, translating findings into applications that have both social and economic value and nurturing the next generation of scientists. He was previously A*STAR’s Deputy Chair and was a board member of its Biomedical Research Council since 2004.
Prior to moving to A*STAR, Mr Lim was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, a post he held from July 2003. Major successes in this role include transforming the publicly funded universities into Autonomous Universities and reviewing the university research framework to create the Academic Research Council and a new Academic Research Funding Framework.
He is a strong supporter of international collaboration between leading research-intensive universities, in particular guiding the establishment of the NUS-Duke Graduate Medical School. Before turning his talents to science and education, he pursued a successful 23-year career with the Singapore Armed Forces, rising to the positions of Chief of the Army and then Chief of the Defence Force from 1998 to 2003.
He is a mathematics graduate of Cambridge University, and also attended Harvard Business School to complete the Advanced Management Programme in 2003. He was named one of Science magazine’s ‘people to watch’ in 2009, and has received a number of awards in Singapore and internationally for his contribution to science, education and the military.
Lady Wolfson of Marylebone
Lady Wolfson became a Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation in 1992, following her marriage to Lord Wolfson of Marylebone in 1991. Together, they are amongst the UK’s leading philanthropists, providing around £35 million each year through the Foundation to support scientific and medical research, education and the arts.
Lady Wolfson plays a prominent role in the Foundation, founded in 1955, taking a particular interest in its activities in the arts and humanities, and sitting on the science and medicine panel. Amongst the many projects at Imperial supported by the Foundation are the new Wolfson Education Centre for medical students at Imperial’s Hammersmith Campus and the Wolfson and Weston Research Centre for Family Health launched in 2002, which is working to reduce infant mortality and birth defects such as cleft palate and spina bifida.
Lady Wolfson is also a Trustee of the Wolfson Family Charitable Foundation, a Governor of Tel Aviv University, Joint President of the Edith Wolfson Hospital, Holon, Israel, and Honorary President of Haddassah Hospital, Jerusalem. She has been awarded the Fellowship of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and King’s College London, and an honorary degree by UCL. Lady Wolfson is also a Trustee of the Royal College of Physicians.
About Imperial College London
Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.
Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve health in the UK and globally, tackle climate change and develop clean and sustainable sources of energy.
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