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Professor Ian Walmsley FRS, currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics at Oxford, has been appointed as the next Provost of Imperial College London. The Provost is Imperial’s chief academic officer and provides the leadership to ensure excellence in Imperial’s core academic mission in education, research and translation. He will take up his role on 1 September 2018, succeeding Professor James Stirling on his retirement. Professor Walmsley graduated from Imperial with a first class honours in physics and has long standing ties with the College.

In his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Walmsley has led Oxford's research and innovation strategy. He has been responsible for coordinating the University's relationships with its major research funders and the engagement of research activity with wider audiences.

He told his Oxford colleagues:

“I have really enjoyed my time at Oxford: it has been an exceptional experience in teaching, in research and in academic administration. I’ve made many good friends among students, academic colleagues and staff, and will be sad to leave such a wonderful institution. Nevertheless, it will be exciting to return to where I began my university-based career and to contribute to the UK’s research and educational pre-eminence in new ways.”

Professor Walmsley leads the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, which is building the core elements of a quantum computer. He also headed up the creation of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, a national multidisciplinary research centre led by the University of Oxford. Collaborations between Professor Walmsley's Oxford group and Imperial physicists have resulted in breakthroughs in the use and measurement of ultrafast lasers and in understanding complex waveforms, as well as advances in quantum photonics and applications to quantum information processing. 

Professor Donal Bradley, Head of MPLS Division, said: "The Division wishes Professor Walmsley all the best in his new role as Provost of Imperial College.  We will miss greatly Ian's many contributions to the academic life of the university and especially within MPLS his outstanding leadership of our Quantum Technologies programme and connections to the local enterprise and innovation communities. We are very sorry to see Ian leaving but look forward to many opportunities to work together in the future."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson also congratulated him on his appointment:

“Ian has made an enormous contribution to academic life in Oxford during his seventeen years here. As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research for the past nine years he has led our stellar results in the Research Excellence Framework as well as our innovation and knowledge exchange strategy. A distinguished physicist, he has also been a valued member of the senior team and we are all going to miss him. We all wish him well at Imperial.”

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial, said: “Ian is an exceptional academic leader and an eminent scholar. His strong support for collaboration across disciplines, sectors and between nations will make him an outstanding champion for the College and our community. He understands what it takes for great universities to thrive in this era of change. His leadership will be a great asset to the College and I look forward to working with him to take the College from strength to strength.”

This story uses parts of the announcements on the University of Oxford website and the Imperial College website. See http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2018-03-02-ian-walmsley-appointed-provost-imperial-college-london and https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/185070/oxford-provice-chancellor-eminent-physicist-appointed/