Don’t knock us for our success, says boss of Imperial College

Imperial College London on Exhibition Road in central London (PA)
Imperial College London on Exhibition Road in central London (PA)

Universities in the “golden triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge should be celebrated and not criticised for successfully attracting funding, the head of a major London university said.

Hugh Brady, president of Imperial College London, said golden triangle universities, sometimes referred to as “Loxbridge”, should be strengthened further and viewed as an asset to the country.

The triangle, which includes Imperial and LSE, has been criticised for attracting a disproportionate amount of Britain’s research funding.

But Professor Brady said the funding system distributes money on the basis of excellence and it is “imperative” that this continues.

He told the Standard it is puzzling to hear suggestions that the golden triangle might be a problem because it is attracting too much investment.

He said: “In most other countries in the world we would be absolutely celebrating the success of the golden triangle, investing in it, promoting it, encouraging others to partner with it, so that it becomes an even more successful engine room for economic growth for job creation and for advancement of society more broadly.”

He added: “How to level up and raise all boats is a really important challenge for Government but let’s look at the golden triangle as being an asset.

“It is not the golden triangle versus the rest of the country.”

Imperial College is in the process of opening a medical school in Cumbria. Professor Brady said: “That’s what real levelling up looks like on a sustainable basis and in a way that’s absolutely meaningful for the communities with which we partner.”

He added: “I am comfortable with people thinking strategically as to how to effectively roll out a successful levelling up agenda, as long as we don’t throw good money after bad. As long as we continue to invest in excellence and that is the primary driver of investment.”

He added: “The great strength of the UK research and innovation system is that all money has been distributed on the basis of excellence, so I think it’s imperative that that continues.”

Professor Brady said the success of Imperial College, which is in the top 10 best universities in the world, is due partly to its location in London which is attractive to staff and students from across the world.