Education

Imperial academic to lead UK's new national science hub

An Imperial chemical engineer will lead a new national centre of excellence in technology development and innovation.

Professor Andrew Livingston, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, will be the Interim Academic Lead at the Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI).
The RFI will bring together the UK’s strengths in physical sciences, engineering and life sciences to create a national centre of excellence in technology development and innovation. Researchers will develop new technologies – based on advances in the engineering and physical sciences – designed to tackle major challenges in health and life sciences.

I am personally excited by the opportunity to work and learn alongside excellent colleagues from such a wide range of disciplines, and to share in the creation of a completely new Institute and the delivery of the breakthrough science and engineering it promises.
– Professor Andrew Livingston
Imperial College London

The government announced a £100 million investment in the Institute in February as part of its industrial strategy.
Professor Livingston said: “Successful research and innovation are critical to the prosperity of the UK. Many of the most exciting opportunities are at the intersection of disciplines or driven by university-industry collaboration, and the RFI represents a unique opportunity for the convergence of science, engineering and medicine.
“I am personally excited by the opportunity to work and learn alongside excellent colleagues from such a wide range of disciplines, and to share in the creation of a completely new Institute and the delivery of the breakthrough science and engineering it promises.”
Professor Livingston, currently director of the Barrier Centre, stepped down as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2016 after leading itfor two successive terms since his appointment in 2008.
High achiever
Professor Livingston joined Imperial in 1990 as a Lecturer following a PhD at the University of Cambridge and a three-year stint in industry.
As well as leading the Department to new heights, his impressive credentials include setting up a hugely successful membrane manufacturing company. He has received a number of medals and awards over the years and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006. 
He has also led the Separations, Engineering and Technology research group at Imperial. They have produced more than 500 academic papers, initiated two start-up companies and have had more than 30 industrial collaborations, as well as supporting more than 50 PhD students who have contributed to the group since it began in 2003. This group was recognised this year as part of the President’s Awards for Excellence in Research.
Rosalind Franklin Institute
The RFI is named in honour of Rosalind Franklin, the pioneering British scientist whose use of X-rays to study biological structures played a crucial role in the discovery of DNA’s ‘double-helix’ structure, alongside the work of Nobel laureates Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins.
It is managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with its main ‘hub’ based at Harwell in Oxfordshire. Alongside Imperial, other academic partners include the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, King’s College London and University College London.

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