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Fifty years of achievement, but the best is yet to come

Chancellor Sir Richard Sykes launched Brunel University London’s 50th anniversary celebrations last night by commemorating some of its many world-changing achievements.

In front of the packed Eastern Gateway Building auditorium, Sir Richard traced Brunel’s history from a College of Advanced Technology to a university with a global reputation.

Along the way he spoke about famous scientist Professor Heinz Wolff’s role sending the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, into space; the Institute for the Environment winning the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011; and the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1986 to launch the UK's first university science park on the Kingston Lane campus.

Sir Richard said one of the university’s greatest achievements was establishing significant links with industry, adding that the future for Brunel is bright, with its involvement in current projects such as the National Structural Integrity Research Centre, in partnership with engineering research organisation The Welding Institute, and the university’s Advanced Metals Casting Centre, which aims to bridge the gap between the lab and full-scale industrial trials.

Speaking about the university’s strengths, Sir Richard said: “The university recognised that a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach is the only way to work in today’s climate, which demands that research has an end product and one that fits in with the needs of industry.”

The launch lecture was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon, Councillors George and Judith Cooper, heads of local industry, supporters of the university, alumni, staff and students. It begins a series of events at Brunel to mark the university’s 50th year in 2016 – which will include public debates, film nights, a gala party and a Discovery Trail on campus. The centrepiece will be the university's Charter Day on 6 July next year, when the university will celebrate becoming a university 50 years ago.

Sir Richard added: “We have seen tonight just some of the ways in which the university has had an impact on the world in the past 50 years and, even though it is by no means an exhaustive study, it is incredible to see just how far Brunel has come.

“It’s time to take the lessons we’ve learned from the past half-a-century and face the future as everything a university should be – modern, forward-thinking, practical, entrepreneurial, inclusive and collaborative.”

For details of all the events the university has planned, visit