Sir Keith O’Nions has taken over the position of Acting Rector at Imperial following the resignation of Sir Roy Anderson. O’Nions began his role at the start of the New Year and sent out an introductory E-mail on the 11th giving students some background information and positive hopes for the coming year.

Sir Keith’s role as Acting Rector is temporary as the replacement is yet to be announced, and upon entering office, he thanked Sir Roy Anderson for “giving so much to Imperial during his time as Rector” and that his work means he is “taking the helm of a University in a very strong condition”.

O’Nions was knighted in 1999 and has held positions including Director General of the Research Councils, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, and Head of Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University before setting up the Institute for Security Science and Technology upon his arrival at Imperial in 2008.

In his E-mail, he stressed that students “are a big part of why Imperial is here”, and explained that a strong memory of his own student days at Nottingham and Alberta, Canada was the sense that he mattered to the University. He explained his approach to be to develop the medium term strategy to maintain a world class education that the students “expect and deserve”.

He is very proud of Imperial’s status and its students, stating “Imperial’s high global reputation is no accident”, with it being “won because we strive for excellence in everything we do.” He continued to explain that “some of the best research, teaching and support staff in the world work here and some of the best students in the world study here.” His fondness for Imperial extends to a personal level and he said it “looks like an organisation that is agile, moves with alacrity and knows where it wants to go” from the outside, impressions which were later confirmed by his experiences as an insider.

He has recorded an interview online with a lecturer on the Science Communication course for those seeking more information.