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Thu December 09 2021

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Cement tycoon funds construction of new Imperial biomedical centre

27 May 14 Imperial is to build a new biomedical engineering centre on the back of a £40m donation from a philanthropic cement tycoon.

Mike Uren
Mike Uren

The donation comes from Mike Uren, a civil engineer and former Imperial student who began Civil & Marine in 1955 as an aggregates dredging business on the north Kent coast. He sold it to Hanson in 2006 for £245m. It is now part of Germany’s Heidelberg Cement empire.

His gift will support the construction of the Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub, a building at Imperial West, the college's new 25-acre research and innovation campus in White City, west London.

Sir Keith O'Nions, president of Imperial College London, said: "Imperial is profoundly grateful to Michael Uren and his foundation for this remarkable gift, the most generous it has ever received. 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."

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Michael Uren OBE said: "It is an honour for me to be able to help this great university. Medical teaching and research didn't exist at Imperial in my day, but it has evolved into an institution where the work between engineering and medicine is today one of its outstanding strengths. Imperial has always applied academic excellence for the greater good, and I am thrilled by the prospect of this Biomedical Engineering Hub doing exactly that.

"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.  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.  Imperial was inspirational when I first joined it as a young engineering student in 1940, when London was under attack every night, and it is inspirational today.  May it continue to be so forever."

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