Silwood Park campus turns 75 | Imperial News


A variety of events and activities are planned over the coming months to celebrate the campus’ unique history, culture, and accomplishments.

Silwood Park has been part of Imperial since 1947. Situated in a beautiful setting near the village of Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire, it has around 100 hectares of natural parkland.

The campus began as a center for applied entomology and quickly became a hotbed of pioneering developments in insect pest control. Since then, research has grown rapidly, and the campus has developed a worldwide reputation as a center of excellence in pure and applied ecology, bringing together researchers from around the world. In recent times, the field of research has expanded to include evolution, biodiversity, and conservation.

Professor Mick Crawley, Emeritus Professor at Silwood Park, said: “Science at Silwood evolved from insect pest control in 1947, to applied entomology and then to insect ecology. From there, under the inspiring leadership of Prod TRE (Dick) Southwood, the work expanded to include all of ecology and evolutionary biology, from theoretical research to experimental and applied research. By 1990, it was globally recognized as a center of excellence, attracting visiting experts from all parts of the world. Silwood graduates (Silwoodians) populate science labs and research centers on every continent.”

Over a thousand postgraduate students have graduated from Silwood since its inception, and about half of them have earned doctorates. Silwood alumni hail from over 60 countries and graduates have gone to work in almost every corner of the world. There are typically 200 staff and students working on campus at any given time. Undergraduate students at the South Kensington campus have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork and final year projects at Silwood.

Last year saw the launch of Silwood’s flagship center, the Georgina Mace Center for the Living Planet. Named after the eminent ecologist and conservation biologist, Professor Dame Georgina Mace FRS, the center is dedicated to producing science-based solutions to environmental problems. A new Silwood center is planned for fall 2022, the Leverhulme Center for the Holobiont, which will work on microbial-multicellular partnerships and will be led by Professor Tom Bell.

Professor Thomas Bell
Professor Thomas Bell

Silwood is becoming an increasingly multidisciplinary community, with growing collaborations between staff and students across the College and beyond. Professor Guy Woodward Assistant to the CDD, Life Sciences

Professor Guy Woodward, Deputy Head of the Department of Life Sciences, said: “In the future, we will need to be both smart and agile to adapt to a rapidly changing and often unexpected world and to shape the future. research landscape. We have seen huge shifts in societal and scientific priorities within Silwood’s orbit, from the need to understand and predict the next zoonotic pandemic to the impacts of new pollutants on the environment, and of course we will have to reposition all this in a larger context. of climate change.

“Silwood is becoming an increasingly multidisciplinary community, not only in terms of staff and students within campus, but also in terms of growing collaborations across the College and beyond. The Silwood community has both deepened and broadened in its reach and this direction of travel seems sure to continue as we go beyond our diamond anniversary and head into our first centenary – exciting times ahead of us all. !

birthday celebrations

The 75e This milestone will be celebrated with a program of events taking place over the next few months, starting with the Georgina Mace Center’s Biodiversity Debate and the annual Bugs, Birds & Beasts Family Day in July.

In autumn there will be the annual Sir Ernst Chain lecture, which will focus on ecology this year. There will also be a launch for the new Leverhulme Center for the Holobiont.

The flagship Silwood 75e The anniversary celebration will take place in September and will provide an opportunity for Silwood alumni to reminisce about their days of study and network with colleagues past and present.

South Kensington staff teams will also have the opportunity to hold their days or events away from home around Ascot and learn more about campus.

Today, Silwood researchers are tackling some of the big issues of our time: pandemics, the extinction crisis, and global warming. Professor Armand Leroi

Professor Armand Leroi, academic manager of 75e anniversary celebrations, said: “For decades, Silwood Park has been world famous for its ecologists and evolutionary biologists. In the 20th century, its researchers revolutionized ecology and the study of animal behavior. Today, they tackle some of the big issues of our time: pandemics, the extinction crisis, and global warming. This is where life on Earth – all of it – finds its place at Imperial.

Learn more

Our dedicated webpage will be regularly updated with information on how staff can participate in the celebrations.


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