Imperial to create 'Silicon Valley London' with £40m gift

Imperial College London will build a new biomedical engineering centre on its White City campus thanks to a £40 million donation

May 27, 2014

Michael Uren hopes donation will create ‘a new Silicon Valley’

The gift, the largest the university has ever received, came from Michael Uren – an Imperial alumnus and philanthropist – and the Michael Uren Foundation.

Mr Uren, an engineer and businessman, said the campus would become a new “Silicon Valley”.

The new building will be home to engineers, scientists and clinicians who will carry out research into affordable medical technology. Clinical areas will provide patients with direct access to innovations and facilities will also be available for spin-out companies.

Mr Uren, who graduated in mechanical engineering in 1943, said: “What I find so exciting about this project is that here is Imperial building one of the biggest research centres in the world within a few miles of the City of London, which itself has become the biggest financial centre in the world today.” 

He added: “By putting the two together, what is quite clear is that the investment world will be watching for, and waiting for, the research and inventions which will create tomorrow’s great companies.

“It seems to me that, in effect, what we are creating here is a new Silicon Valley London, which is bound to succeed.” 

The building will be named Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub in his honour.

Sir Keith O’Nions, Imperial president, said that the university was “profoundly grateful” to Michael Uren and his foundation for a “remarkable gift”. “It will create a wholly new building and set of facilities for engineers and medics to come together and make new discoveries and innovations on an unparalleled scale. It provides enormous impetus to the development of Imperial West as an innovation district.”

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said the donation “will push forward research in an exciting and crucially important area of medical science”.

He added: “This donation, coming so soon after the launch of MedCity, demonstrates unquestionably that London and the South East is one of the leading regions in the world for game-changing science.” 

holly.else@tsleducation.com

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