|Established||1966 – gained University Status by royal charter|
1962 – Brunel College of Advanced Technology
1928 – Acton Technical College
1902 – Shoreditch College of Education
1878 – Maria Grey College
1798 – Borough Road College
|Endowment||£1.57 million (2022)|
|Budget||£271.3 million (2021-22)|
|Chancellor||Sir Richard Sykes|
Kingston Lane, Uxbridge UB8 3PH,
England, United Kingdom
|Colours||Blue and gold|
|Affiliations||Association of Commonwealth Universities|
European University Association
Brunel University London (BUL, and often known simply as Brunel) is a public research university located in the Uxbridge area of London, England. It was founded in 1966 and named after the Victorian engineer and pioneer of the Industrial Revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In June 1966, Brunel College of Advanced Technology was awarded a royal charter and became Brunel University; in 2014 the university formally adopted the name Brunel University London (BUL). The university is considered a British plate glass university.
Brunel is organised into three colleges, a structure adopted in August 2014. Brunel's three constituent Academic Colleges include the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences; the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences; and the College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.
Brunel has over 16,150 students and 2,500 staff, and an annual income of £271.3 million (2021-22), of which £22.4 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £311.9 million.
The university is ranked as one of the top 350 universities in the world by QS World University Rankings and in the top 100 by the 2023 Annual Impact Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The university won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011. BUL is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, and Universities UK.
Brunel University London is one of a number of British universities which were established in the 1960s following the Robbins Report on higher education. It is sometimes described as a "plate glass university". The university's origins lie in Acton Technical College, which was split into two in 1957: Acton Technical College continued to cater for technicians and craftsmen, and the new Brunel College of Technology (named after Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the British engineer) was dedicated to the education of chartered engineers.
The campus buildings were designed in the Brutalist style of architecture by Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners, Architects.
In 1960 Brunel College of Technology was awarded the status of College of Advanced Technology, and it was decided that it should expand at another site in order to accommodate the extra buildings that would be needed. Uxbridge was chosen to house the new buildings, and construction work hadn't even begun before the Ministry of Education officially changed the college's status: it was officially named Brunel College of Advanced Technology in 1962 – the tenth Advanced Technology College in the country, and the last to be awarded this title.
The Uxbridge (Vine Street) railway branch line was closed in 1964, and the college purchased the land adjacent to its site where the railway had run for £65,000 from the local council.
A royal charter granting university status and the power to award degrees was awarded on 9 June 1966, and the institution became Brunel University.
The university continued to use both campuses until 1971, when it left the Acton site. In 1980, the university merged with Shoreditch College of Education (Shoreditch Training College), located at Cooper's Hill, Runnymede, which became Brunel's second campus.
In 1995, the university expanded again, integrating the West London Institute of Higher Education, and adding campuses in Osterley and Twickenham, and increasing the number of courses that the university was able to offer. Traditionally the university's strengths were in engineering, science, and technology, but with the addition of the West London Institute, new departments such as arts, humanities, geography and earth science, health and sports science were added, and the size of the student body increased to over 12,000.
Brunel has been the subject of controversy as its approach to higher education has been both market-driven and politically conservative. The decision to award an honorary degree to Margaret Thatcher in 1996, following the University of Oxford's refusal to do so, provoked an outcry by staff and students, and as a result the ceremony had to be held in the House of Lords instead of on campus. In the late 1990s, the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Engineering were all closed, and, in 2004, the then Vice-Chancellor Steven Schwartz, initiated the reorganisation of the university's faculties and departments into schools, and closed the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. The succeeding Vice-Chancellor, the sociologist Christopher Jenks, took office in 2006. He was followed by Julia Buckingham, previously at Imperial College London, who took up the position of Vice-Chancellor at Brunel in 2012.
In 2014 the university underwent an internal reorganisation and the name was changed to Brunel University London by a supplemental charter dated 16 July 2014. In 2016 Brunel celebrated its 50th Anniversary since being awarded its royal charter, and staged a 14-month programme of more than 40 celebratory events.
In December 2020, the university's Chancellor Sir Richard Sykes lead an independent review of the Vaccine Taskforce (UK) strategy and goals, and in June 2021 he was subsequently appointed as the taskforce's new chair, leading work to find, procure and deliver vaccines and oversee preparations for vaccine booster programmes as part of UK's COVID-19 vaccination programme.
In April 2021 it was announced that Professor Julia Buckingham CBE would be stepping down as Vice-Chancellor and President after nearly 10 years in the role. She has been succeeded by Professor Andrew Jones, who took up the position in January 2022.
In the late 1990s Brunel devised a 10-year, £250 million masterplan for the campus. This involved selling off campus sites at Runnymede, Osterley and Twickenham and using the revenue from the sales to renovate and update the buildings and facilities on the Uxbridge campus. Works carried out included a library extension, a state-of-the-art sports complex, renovated students' union facilities, a new Health Sciences teaching centre, and the construction of more halls of residence.
The original Brunel campus was designed by Richard Sheppard, Robson and Partners, with many buildings retaining the 1960s 'Brutalist' architectural style. It has appeared in several films, most famously in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, large parts of which were filmed on campus, particularly in the John Crank Building (demolished July 2019) and the Grade II listed Lecture Centre. It has also featured in several UK television series including Spooks, Silent Witness, The Sweeney and Inspector Morse.
Brunel has three constituent Academic Colleges:
Research at Brunel has been organised into five institutes 
Brunel exists by virtue of a royal charter first granted in 1966 and it has the status of an exempt charity as defined by the Charities Act 2011.
The governing body of Brunel is the council, which comprises university staff and students and independent members. The Council appoints the Vice-Chancellor and other senior officers. The council has established a number of Committees which support its work.
The current Chancellor of the university is Sir Richard Sykes, a biochemist and former Rector of Imperial College London. The Vice-Chancellor since 2022 is Professor Andrew Jones, formerly Deputy President at City, University of London.
Brunel's academic governing body is the Senate, which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. The Senate's powers, duties and functions are set out in its Ordinances, and it has a number of Committees which support its work.
In the financial year ended 31 July 2020, Brunel had a total income (including share of joint ventures) of £237.1 million (2018–19 – £229.8 million) and total expenditure of £235.7 million (2018–19 – £224.7 million).
Total income for 2019–20 was £237.1 million, £7.3 million (3.2%) higher than in 2018–19. Tuition fees overall increased by £10.1 million, reflecting the increase in the number of students enrolled, while funding body grants were flat at £30.6 million. Research grant income for 2019/ 20 was £3.1 million higher than in 2018–19 on a recognised income basis. Research income reflects the timing of work undertaken on research grants, as income is recognised in the financial statements over a period typically averaging three years. Other income reduced by £6.0 million, or 12.4%. This consists of student residences income, conference, hotel, retail and also income from summer school activity for foreign language students on the campus. All categories were significantly impacted by the pandemic, including the decision by the university not to charge rent for accommodation for the final term.
Excluding the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension revaluation, expenditure was £9.8 million (4.3%) higher than in 2018–19. Excluding pension adjustments, staff costs of £135.0 million were £15.5 million (13.0%) higher than in 2018–19. The university invested resources in its academic provision as its tuition fee income and student numbers have increased and has also targeted staff cost investment in its information technology provision and other support services. Other operating expenses of £76.9 million were £5.6 million lower than in 2018–19.
The Brunel Coat of Arms was granted to the university in 1966 and incorporates various images representative of the university's heritage and principles. For example, the masonry arch symbolises Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the compass and cogwheel symbolise technology, the ermine lozenge is an allusion to the Arms of Lord Halsbury, the first Chancellor of the university, and the crest of the swan symbolises Uxbridge.
Brunel students have access to specialist laboratories for electronic imaging, bioprocessing and experimental techniques; flight, driving and train simulators; a 3-D body scanner; an MRI scanner; motion-capture equipment; an occupational therapy suite; sports and performing arts facilities; and academic archives in cult film and contemporary writing.
Depending on the degree course followed, many undergraduate students may choose to undertake practical placements and projects as an integral part of their courses (a founding principle of the sandwich degree structure).
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 90% of Brunel research submitted was rated as being of international quality. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 Brunel was ranked 33rd for Research Power.
A comparison of the data submitted to REF2021 compared to the submission for REF2014 demonstrates a 9.6% increase of staff Full-time equivalent (FTE) submitted, a 5.9% increase in Early Career Researchers, 22% increase in PhD graduation per staff (FTE) per year and a 55% increase in spend per staff (FTE) per year.
Courses at Brunel draw on staff's research in areas including Law, Cancer Genetics, Environmental Science, Human-Centred Design, Materials Processing, Contemporary Music and Digital Performance, Children's Education and Sports Medicine.
Brunel's Design School holds an annual design exhibition called Made In Brunel, to promote and showcase the work of final year students to the design industry. In past years it has been held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and the Oxo Tower Wharf. From 2011 onwards the exhibition has been held at the Bargehouse, on the Southbank, London.
|Times / Sunday Times (2023)||110|
Brunel performed well in the annual rankings of UK universities produced by The Guardian and The Times, in part due to its strong performance in the Teaching Quality Assessment (where Brunel received a score of 20/24 or better for every subject assessed). The Guardian and The Times ceased using the TQA to compile their rankings (they use the National Student Survey results instead) and therefore Brunel had fallen in both rankings. However, the university regained its league position in 2012 partly due to improved student satisfaction and spending on students. As a result, it was ranked 39th in the Sunday Times University Guide. In the 2013 Guardian University Guide, the university's national ranking rose to 44th. In the 2014–15 THES world university rankings, Brunel ranked 226–250 (shared), representing a sharp rise in rankings. Brunel was ranked as the 93rd best university worldwide in the field of engineering and technology, 32nd among European institutions and 11th among British institutions according to THES world rankings. In August 2014, Brunel re-entered the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings after a four-year absence at number 409 globally, and 34 in the UK. Also, in 2015 Brunel was ranked 25th in Times Higher Education's 100 under 50 ranking of the top 100 world universities under 50 years old. The university is currently ranked as one of the top 350 universities in the world by QS World University Rankings 2024 and the top 100 in the Annual Impact Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023.
The university won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.
Brunel has a gym, spa, and running track with professional training and medical facilities. On campus there is also a pharmacy, a shop, one bar called Locos, a nightclub called Venue, and a café named "1966" after the year of the university's founding. Historically Brunel Student Hall and The Sports Barn were key venues for band tours in the 1970-90's with some of the biggest names in rock music including, Fairport Convention, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Deep Purple, Genesis, ELO, The Kinks, Thin Lizzy, Joy Division, The Pretenders, The Specials, The Stone Roses. The Sex Pistols played the first gig of their 'Never Mind the Bans Tour' at Brunel on 16 December 1977.
The Bannerman Centre at the heart of the campus contains a 4 floor library (opened in 1973 by Heinrich Böll) with c.400,000 books and 1,500 study spaces, usually open 24/7 during term-time. The Bannerman Annexe contains the Professional Development (Careers) Centre, PC labs, large teaching rooms with collaborative technology and various student service functions such as the Assistive Technology Centre.
The Union of Brunel Students is the students' union of Brunel University. The Union is based within the Hamilton Centre on the Uxbridge campus.
Among other services, the Union runs two venues on the Brunel campus: the Venue nightclub, Loco's bar.
The Union is led by fourteen democratically elected staff from the student body – six Student Officers, four Standing Committee Chairs and six Working Group Chairs – supported by over thirty professional staff.
The Brunel Times is Brunel University's official student newspaper. Before 2019, it was called Le Nurb, which has Brunel spelt backwards. Before that, it was a magazine called Route 66, named after the different campus locations Runneymede, Osterley, Uxbridge and Twickenham, not after a bus route which supposedly ran through Brunel's campus along Cleveland Road. The newspaper editorial team is made up of volunteer students and is funded by the Union of Brunel Students. Traditionally, the newspaper has held a left-wing bias and has published interviews with prominent political figures including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, a Brunel alum and MP for Hayes and Harlington.
Hillingdon Herald is a monthly newspaper, written and produced by students from Brunel University London, with a focus on the London Borough of Hillingdon and wider London. Launched in October 2021, the first issue included columns from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip; former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell; and David Simmonds, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.
Brunel was one of the first UK universities to enter the Formula Student engineering competition, an annual event in which universities from around the world compete in static and dynamic events using formula style racing cars designed and manufactured by students. Brunel's Formula Student teams have won prizes in the annual competition every year since they first entered in 1999.
The Brunel Racing team is composed of undergraduate and postgraduate students, each being allocated an area of the car to develop. Students on MEng Mechanical Engineering courses act as team leaders and manage BEng students throughout the year to ensure a successful completion of a new car each year. Brunel Racing were UK Class 1 Formula Student Champions in 2002, and were the leading UK team at Formula ATA 2005, the Italian Formula Student event. In 2006 Formula Student Event, Brunel Racing were also the highest finishing UK competitor using E85 (fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol.)
Brunel's £250 million campus redevelopment programme, completed in 2008, refurbished existing halls and the built the new Isambard Complex. There are now 34 self-catering halls of residence on-campus, with a total of 4,549 rooms, including studio flats for co-habiting couples. Rooms are available for undergraduates, postgraduates, students with disabilities and co habiting couples. All rooms have network access.
Many of the halls of residence around the Uxbridge campus are named after bridges that Isambard Kingdom Brunel either built or helped to design; other halls are named after him or other notable engineers or scientists. For example:
There are also three accommodation complexes: the Bishop Complex (Bishop, Kilmorey, Lacy and St Margaret's Halls); the Lancaster Complex (Lancaster, Stockwell, Southwark, Borough Road, Maria Grey and Gordon Halls); and the Isambard Complex (North, Meadow, Michael Bevis, Concourse, Stephen Bragg, West, Maurice Kogan, David Neave, Central, East, Runnymede, George Shipp, Trevor Slater, Shoreditch, Syd Urry, South and Brian Winstanley Halls).
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The Egham Museum tells the story of Egham, Egham Hythe, Englefield Green, Thorpe and Virginia Water from pre-history to the present day.
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