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NPL at the Royal Institution of Great Britain

Sharing knowledge, expertise and ideas

In 2008, NPL and Imperial College London (ICL) signed a memorandum of understanding signalling their commitment to facilitate increased research collaborations between the two organisations. The NPL and Imperial partnership brings together academia and industry to address key challenges supported by measurement science,these challenges include:

  • Biology and cancer research
  • Quantum materials
  • Environment and clean energy

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us​ 

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Formalising the strong links between our two organisations today means researchers and students from across the College will benefit from the NPL's fantastic specialist facilities and we will be able to work together on many exciting projects in the future

Lesley Cohen, Professor of Solid-State Physics at Imperial College London

In the spotlight

Graeme Reid

Professor Josephene Bunch ​
NPL Fellow in Biomolecular Analysis, Co-Director of NiCE-MSI and Chair of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry at Imperial College London​


The Rosetta project has brought together a group of international and multidisciplinary chemists, physicists and biologists from the UK, including scientists from Imperial College London. Over the past five years, we’ve successfully established a truly groundbreaking untargeted MSI-driven systems biology approach that can probe tumour metabolism in unprecedented detail. The information that we are uncovering with this fundamentally new way of analysing cancer metabolism is already providing a much deeper understanding of tumour behaviour, prognosis and response to treatment.

One major section of the project has been developing ways to translate the Rosetta pipeline into the clinic for enabling the delivery of precision medicine. The intelligent surgical knife (iKnife) which was invented by Rosetta team member Zoltan Takats at Imperial College London provides a powerful example of a diagnostic tool with the potential to deliver benefits at different points along the patient journey. We are now exploring ways to detect changes in tumour metabolism with less-invasive approaches, such as the analysis of urine and stool samples or exhaled breath.

Case studies

James M

James Murawski​

Improving the stability of iridium-oxide anodes for hydrogen production​​

Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysers (PEMWE) represent many advantages over conventional alkaline electrolysers including the ability to operate at high current density as well as being able to better cope with intermittent use that would accompany the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. This project will look at improving the understanding of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts stability and dissolution mechanism as well as build on methods for standardised short term accelerated testing in aqueous acidic media that can better benchmark stability of OER catalysts for PEMWE applications.​​​​

Nicolas ReedNicholas Reed​​

Development of a novel approach for the direct measurement of effective dose in neutron and gamma fields​​

The aim of this PhD project is to develop a novel dosemeter that is sensitive to the energy and the direction of gammas and neutrons, allowing it to provide for the first time a direct estimate of the effective dose (the quantity in which dose limits are actually expressed). By combining the detector technology with modern machine learning techniques for analysing the signals, such a device could become a new reference instrument for neutron and gamma dosimetry​

Eric Saboye

Eric Saboya​​

Development of new methods for measurements and modelling techniques for accurate greenhouse emission estimates

This PhD project developed different measurement and modelling techniques for improving methane emission estimates of different sources in the UK. Having more accurate figures should increase the urgency of acting now. Cutting methane emissions is the fastest opportunity we have to immediately slow the rate of global warming and it’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

Research projects

The collaboration between Imperial and NPL looks to address many of the UK national challenges and projects. Currently case studies include:

Biology and Cancer Research 

Cancer Grand Challenges Rosetta Project​ - Finding a way of mapping tumours at the molecular and cellular level​

State-of-the-art Cryo-transmission electron Microscopy laboratory - The virtual lab is a new collaboration between institutes undertaking world-leading research in biological measurements, which positions UK as a global leader in the industrialisation of synthetic biology​

Quantum Materials  ​

QSNET - A network of clocks for measuring the stability of fundamental constants

Environment and Clean Energy

Hydrogen Grid to Vehicles (HG2V)  - The HG2V project investigates the implications of transporting hydrogen through the existing UK natural gas grid for end use in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

New research projects under development

If you are interested in finding out more or supporting any collaboration projects, please contact us

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Collaboration at a glance

>20 studentships in progress

3  active projects

118 joint publications

4  joint appointments

Dissemination of research

The amino acid transporter SLC7A5 is required for efficient growth of KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer​​ 
Colorectal tumors with mutated KRAS and APC require the amino acid transporter SLC7A5 to drive tumorigenesis. Mechanistically, SLC7A5 drives transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming by maintaining intracellular amino acid levels, leading to enhanced protein synthesis.​​

Exploring Ion Suppression in Mass Spectrometry Imaging of a Heterogeneous Tissue

This study has explored several aspects of regional analyte suppression in mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) of a heterogeneous sample, transverse cryosections of mouse brain.​

Influence of microporous layer on corrosion of metallic bipolar plates in fuel cells 
The effect of the presence of a microporous layer on the propensity for corrosion of metallic bipolar plates in an operating polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell is investigated using an in situ reference electrode array. ​​

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