Brunel university

Brunel University
Established 1966
Type Public
Endowment £2.01 million (at 31 July 2011)[1]
Chancellor Sir Richard Sykes
Vice-Chancellor Professor Julia Buckingham
Admin. staff 1,616
Students 15,446
Undergraduates 10,345
Postgraduates 3,779
Doctoral students 974

Uxbridge, Middlesex, England
51°31′58″N 0°28′22″W / 51.53278°N 0.47278°W / 51.53278; -0.47278Coordinates: 51°31′58″N 0°28′22″W / 51.53278°N 0.47278°W / 51.53278; -0.47278

Campus Suburban
Affiliations Association of Commonwealth Universities
European University Association

Brunel University (informally Brunel) is a public research university located in Uxbridge, London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1966 and is named after the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Brunel is a campus university located on the outskirts of Uxbridge. It is organised into eight constituent academic schools and around 10 research institutes. Brunel has around 15,200 full-time students and 2,500 staff and had a total income of £178.5 million in 2010/11, of which £14.8 million came from research grants and contracts.

Brunel's origins lie in Acton Technical College, which was founded in 1928. In 1957 Brunel College of Technology separated from Acton Technical College with a focus on the education of engineers. Brunel College of Technology was awarded the status of College of Advanced Technology in 1960 and became Brunel College of Advanced Technology in 1962. In June 1966 Brunel College of Advanced Technology was awarded a Royal Charter and became Brunel University.

Brunel is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association and Universities UK.



Brunel 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, Hillingdon was chosen to house the new buildings, and work hadn’t even started 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.[2]

1966 to present

The Royal Charter granting university status was awarded on 9 June 1966. The University continued to use both campuses until 1971 when it finally left the Acton site.

In 1980 the University merged with Shoreditch College of Education, located at Cooper's Hill, Runnymede. This 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. This increased the number of courses that Brunel University was able to offer. Traditionally the university's strengths were in engineering, science, technology and social sciences but with the addition of the West London Institute, new departments such as arts, humanities, geography & earth science, health and sports science were added, and the size of the student body increased to over 12,000.

In recent years 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.[3] and he was followed by Professor Julia Buckingham, previously at Imperial College London, who took up the position of Vice Chancellor at Brunel in October 2012.

In June 2011, Brunel University licensed Creative Barcode, an automated idea sharing platform which protects ownership of early stage ideas.[4]


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.

Since the original Masterplan, the University has spent a further £50 million on campus renovation and work is currently underway on the building of a new 'Eastern Gateway' building, which will house a 400 seat lecture theatre, main reception, the Brunel Business School and the Beldam art gallery.[5]

The Brunel campus (especially those buildings in the 1960s 'Brutalist' architectural style) has appeared in several films, most famously in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, large parts of which were filmed on campus. It has also featured in several UK television series including Spooks, Silent Witness,The Sweeney and Inspector Morse.

Organisation and administration

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 2006.[6]

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 a number of Committees which support its work.

Brunel's academic governing body is the Senate, which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. The Senate has a number of Committees which support its work.

Schools and departments

Brunel currently has the following eight constituent Academic Schools:[7]

  • School of Arts;
  • Brunel Business School;
  • Brunel Law School;
  • School of Engineering and Design;
  • School of Health Sciences and Social Care;
  • School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics;
  • School of Social Sciences; and
  • School of Sport and Education.


In the financial year ended 31 July 2011, Brunel had a total income (including share of joint ventures) of £178.5 million (2009/10 – £169.47 million) and total expenditure of £172.36 million (2009/10 – £163.79 million).[1] Key sources of income included £69.83 million from tuition fees and education contracts (2009/10 – £64.51 million), £55.92 million from funding body grants (2009/10 – £57.55 million), £14.81 million from research grants and contracts (2009/10 – £12.57 million), £0.65 million from endowment and investment income (2009/10 – £0.6 million) and £37.29 million from other income (2009/10 – £34.25 million).[1] During the 2010/11 financial year Brunel had a capital expenditure of £18.8 million (2009/10 – £6.63 million).[1]

At year end Brunel had endowment assets of £2.01 million (2009/10 – £1.59 million), reserves of £140.31 million (2009/10 – £130.83 million) and total net assets of £177.46 million (2009/10 – £170.2 million).[1]

Coat of arms

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.[8]


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.[9]

Depending on the degree course followed, some undergraduate students may 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.[10] In the RAE Brunel was ranked 37–39 (joint) for Research Power.[11]

Courses at Brunel draw on staff's research in areas including Cancer Genetics, Environmental Science, Human-Centred Design, Materials Processing, Contemporary Music and Digital Performance, Children’s Education and Sports Medicine.[9] The Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics is internationally recognised for outstanding research in the field of cancer genetics.

Made In Brunel

The Brunel School of Engineering and Design holds a yearly design exhibition called Made In Brunel, to promote and showcase the work of final year students to the design industry.[12] In past years it has been held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and the Oxo Tower Wharf. The 2011 exhibition was held at the Bargehouse, on the Southbank, London.[13]


(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[17]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[18]
(2014, national)

Brunel traditionally 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). In recent years both The Guardian and The Times had 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 recently published 2013 Guardian University Guide, the university saw its national ranking rising to 44th which was the highest climb of all universities. Also, in 2012 Brunel was ranked 35th in Times Higher Education's 100 under 50 ranking of the top 100 world universities under 50 years old.[19]

In the 2011/12 THES world university rankings, Brunel ranked 251-275 (shared), representing a sharp rise in rankings.[20] The University won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.[21]

Both major world ranking place Brunel within the global top 400, representing the top two percent in global academic institutions.[22]

Student life

Student recreational and general facilities

Brunel has a gym,spa and running track with professional training and medical facilities. There is a pharmacy, shop, 2 bars,a nightclub called academy,a food cafe, medical center, many computer suites, recreational buildings for films, many companies who come onto campus for events (such as the box nightclub and driving simulator (redbull) ) and many others. (

Union of Brunel Students

The Union of Brunel Students is the students' union of Brunel University.[23] The Union is based within the Hamilton Centre on the Uxbridge campus.

Among other services, the Union runs three venues on the Brunel campus: the Academy nightclub, Loco's bar and Subway.[24]

The Union is led by 14 democratically-elected staff from the student body - four Student Officers, four Standing Committee Chairs and six Working Group Chairs - supported by over 30 professional staff.[23]

Radio Brunel

Main article: Radio Brunel

Brunel has a student-run radio station called Radio Brunel. It recently relaunched as an internet only station.

Formula Student

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.[25] 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.[26] 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.)

The university also runs a second racing team, composed exclusively of post-graduate students from the MSc Automotive and Motorsports Engineering course, called Brunel Masters Motorsports.[27] The BMM team were the UK Class 2 Formula Student Champions in their first year, 2005.

Student housing

Brunel’s £250 million campus redevelopment programme, completed in 2008, saw the refurbishment of existing halls and the construction of 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 either directly after him, or after 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).

Notable alumni

Media, entertainment and the arts

Politics and royalty


See also


External links

Template:Brunel University

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