An economy without pollution

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New partner project with Imperial College London

The new President of Imperial College London, Prof. Hugh Brady (left), und TUM P
The new President of Imperial College London, Prof. Hugh Brady (left), und TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann starting the Imperial - TUM Zero Pollution Network at TUM Campus Garching.

Imperial College London (Imperial) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) want to work together on a new economy without pollution. The Imperial - TUM Zero Pollution Network will bring together scientists, industry, governments and other partners. The goal is to curb environmental pollution at its source. For example, the life cycle of technologies and products will be taken into account: from the procurement of raw materials to their further processing in industry and their use in society to their disposal and reuse.

The partnership will see academics and students from two of the world’s top universities working together on joint research and education programmes, and spending time in each institute’s laboratories. There will be an initial research focus on electrochemistry and energy storage technologies, sustainable manufacturing, and sustainable future mobility - with further themes developed over the next 2 years. The new network will exploit the strong research collaborations between the organisations including a collaborative PhD programme. Imperial and TUM will also work together to support student entrepreneurs to develop businesses.

Joint research on huge challenges

Imperial’s President Hugh Brady said: "The world is facing substantial threats from global pollution. It is destroying our climate and environment and impacting the health of millions of people every year. We urgently need to find new technologies and solutions to the pollution crisis and inspire fundamental changes in the way society and industry produces and consumes. This will require bold and ambitious ideas and a collaborative approach across borders and between sectors. This Network will bring together some of the leading minds in science, industry, government and society to shape and develop innovative ideas and technologies. Imperial’s vision is to realise a sustainable, zero pollution future. We have the power to help make that a reality by accelerating our research to benefit society. The Technical University of Munich is one of the world’s top universities and one of Imperial’s closest collaborators and we look forward to working with them on this major challenge."

TUM’s President Thomas F. Hofmann emphasized: "The scale and the time frame of the climate challenge demands more from us. We can do more, and we will do more by putting our TUM Sustainable Futures Strategy 2030 into practice and further targeting greener solutions in trusted international partnerships. Our flagship collaboration with Imperial College London will go a long way helping to tackle the daunting global challenges like the climate crisis. Students and scientists of Imperial and TUM are called to co-create sustainable circular economy approaches and zero pollution solutions to ensure that world will remain a livable place in future. And I am positive that we can make an impact together."

Imperial’s Vice Provost for Research and Enterprise Professor Mary Ryan - who leads the College’s Transition to Zero Pollution initiative - said: "The scale of the challenge is enormous. Human-made pollution is visible everywhere from air pollution in our cities to plastics in the deepest parts of our oceans. We now need to start considering pollution in all its forms, including carbon dioxide, and take a systems-thinking approach to the way we do research and translate technologies. We need a transdisciplinary approach and scientists, engineers, clinicians, and economists must work together to create innovative technologies and policies for a rapid transition to clean technologies."

A long partnership of Imperial and TUM

Imperial and TUM have been close collaborators for decades. In 2018, Imperial and TUM formed a strategic flagship partnership in education, research and innovation.In the past five years academics from the two universities have co-authored 654 research publications, an increase of 90%. Imperial and TUM also have 63 Joint Research Projects and 14 High-Impact Collaborative PhD projects. Collaboration includes research into wind turbines, solar energy and clean energy industrial processes.

Imperial College London is a global top ten university with a world-class reputation. The College’s 22,000 students and 8,000 staff are working to solve the biggest challenges in science, medicine, engineering and business. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 found that it has a greater proportion of world-leading research than any other UK university, it was named University of the Year 2022 according to The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, University of the Year for Student Experience 2022 by the Good University Guide, and awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its COVID-19 response.

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s leading research universities, with more than 600 professors, 50,000 students, and 11,000 academic and non-academic staff. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, combined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with the TUM Asia campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006, 2012, and 2019 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places as the best university in Germany.

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