Brunel University London is a
public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the ''Öffentlic ...
research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in va ...
located in the Uxbridge area of
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...
, England. It was founded in 1966 and named after the Victorian engineer
Isambard Kingdom Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was an English civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history," "one of the 19th-century engineering giants," and "one ...
. In June 1966, Brunel College of Advanced Technology was awarded a royal charter and became Brunel University. The university is often described as a British plate glass university. Brunel is organised into three colleges and three major research institutes, a structure adopted in August 2014 which also changed the university's name to Brunel University London. Brunel has over 12,900 students and 2,500 staff, and had a total income of £200.7 million in 2014/15, of which 25% came from grants and research contracts. Brunel has three constituent Academic Colleges: the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences; the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences; and the College of Health and Life Sciences. Brunel is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, and
Universities UK Universities UK is an advocacy organisation for universities in the United Kingdom. It began life as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom (CVCP) in the nineteenth century when there were informa ...
. The university is ranked as one of the top 400 universities in the world by '' QS World University Rankings 2021'' and the '' Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021''. The university won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.



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 Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was an English civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history," "one of the 19th-century engineering giants," and "one ...
, 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 (United Kingdom), 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 (United Kingdom), 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) branch line, 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.

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 left the Acton site. In 1980, the university merged with Shoreditch College of Education, located at Royal Indian Engineering College, Cooper's Hill, Runnymede (borough), 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, increasing the number of courses that the 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 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 (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 June 2011, Brunel University licensed Creative Barcode, an automated idea sharing platform which protects ownership of early stage ideas. The name was changed to Brunel University London by a supplemental charter dated 16 July 2014.


In the late 1990s Brunel devised a 10-year, £250 million masterplan for the campus. This involved selling off campus sites at Englefield Green#Brunel University Runnymede Campus, 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 (architect), 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 (film), 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 (TV series), Spooks'', ''Silent Witness'', ''The Sweeney'' and ''Inspector Morse (TV series), Inspector Morse''.

Organisation and governance


Brunel has three constituent Academic Colleges: ;College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences: ;College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences: ;College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences:

Research Institutes

Research at Brunel has been organised into three institutes: *Institute of Energy Futures *Institute of Environment, Health and Societies *Institute of Materials and Manufacturing


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. 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. The current Chancellor of the university is Richard Sykes (biochemist), Sir Richard Sykes, a biochemist and former Rector of Imperial College London. The Vice-Chancellor since 2012 is Julia Buckingham, formerly Professor of Pharmacology at Imperial College. 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.


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). 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). During the 2010/11 financial year Brunel had a capital expenditure of £18.8 million (2009/10 – £6.63 million). At year end of 2011, 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).

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 Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was an English civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history," "one of the 19th-century engineering giants," and "one ...
, 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 2014 RAE Brunel was ranked 33rd for Research Power. 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.

Made in Brunel

Brunel's Department of Design holds a yearly 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 South Bank, Southbank, London.


Brunel performed well in the annual rankings of UK universities produced by ''Rankings of universities in the United Kingdom#The Guardian, The Guardian'' and ''Rankings of universities in the United Kingdom#The Times, 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 ranked as one of the top 400 universities in the world by '' QS World University Rankings 2021'' and the '' Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021''. The university won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.

Student life

Student recreational and general facilities

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 (band), Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra, ELO, The Kinks, Thin Lizzy, Joy Division, The Pretenders, The Specials, The Stone Roses. The Sex Pistols played the first gig their 'Never Mind the Bans Tour' at Brunel on 16th December 1977.

Union of Brunel Students

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''

''The Brunel Times'' is Brunel University's official UK school paper, 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.

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. 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.)

Student housing

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 dormitory, halls of residence around the Uxbridge campus are named after bridges that
Isambard Kingdom Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was an English civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history," "one of the 19th-century engineering giants," and "one ...
either built or helped to design; other halls are named either after him, or after other notable engineers or scientists. For example: *Clifton Hall (named for the Clifton Suspension Bridge) *Saltash Hall (named for the Royal Albert Bridge that crosses the River Tamar at Saltash) *Chepstow Hall (named for the bridge across the River Wye at Chepstow) *Fleming Hall (named for Alexander Fleming, Sir Alexander Fleming) *Faraday Hall (named for Michael Faraday, Sir Michael Faraday) *Galbraith Hall (named for W R Galbraith, who designed the Kew Railway Bridge) *Mill Hall (named for John Stuart Mill) 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 academics

* Professor of Creative Writing Bernardine Evaristo, was joint winner of the Booker Prize 2019 * 2012 to present Will Self: Professor of Modern Thought * Professor Heinz Wolff: Emeritus professor at Brunel University London founded the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering in 1983 *Fiona Templeton: Senior Lecturer in Drama *Benjamin Zephaniah: Professor - Creative Writing

Vice-Chancellors of Brunel University

* 1966 to 1971: Dr James Topping * 1971 to 1981: Dr Stephen Bragg * 1981 to 1989: Professor Richard Evelyn Donohue Bishop * 1990 to 2001: Michael Sterling * 2002 to 2006: Steven Schwartz (psychologist), Steven Schwartz * 2006 to 2012: Christopher Jenks * 2012 to present: Julia Buckingham

Chancellors of Brunel University

* 1998 to 2012: John Wakeham, Baron Wakeham * 2013 to present: Richard Sykes (biochemist), Sir Richard Sykes

Notable alumni

Media, entertainment and the arts

* Ray BLK, stage name for Rita Ekwere, (''English''), singer-songwriter * Shohreh Aghdashloo, (''International Relations''), actress * Nick Abbot, (''Psychology''), radio presenter * DJ Xclusive, Rotimi Alakija, DJ, record producer and recording artist * Hajaz Akram, actor * Mark Bagley, comic book artist * Carl Barât, (''Drama'', did not graduate), musician, The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things (band), Dirty Pretty Things * Adam Benzine, (''Multimedia Technology & Design''), Oscar-nominated filmmaker and journalist * Jo Brand, (''Social Sciences and Nursing''), comedian * Dave Brown (comedian), Dave Brown, photographer, graphic designer, professional ape ''The Mighty Boosh'' * Hopewell Chin'ono, filmmaker and journalist * Marko Ciciliani, composer and audiovisual artist * Michael Dapaah (''Drama''), actor, writer and comedian * Greg Davies, (''English and Drama''), actor and comedian * Francis French, space historian * Alizeh Imtiaz, (''English and Film and TV Studies BA 2008''), director and actor * Tony James (musician), Tony James, (''Mathematics & Computer Science'' 1974), musician * Fischer-Z, John Watts, musician, Fischer-Z * Lee Mack, comedian * Sophie McShera, (''Drama''), actress * Oreke Mosheshe, (''Management and Law''), actor, television presenter and model * Archie Panjabi, (''Management Studies 1996''), actor * Nathaniel Peat, (''Mechanical Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing Systems''), social entrepreneur, The Last Millionaire, reality TV winner * Claire Phillips (artist), Claire Phillips, (''Mechanical Engineering 1986''), portrait artist * Amber Rose Revah (''Contemporary Performance''), actress, House of Saddam and The Punisher (TV series) * Bindya Solanki, (''Drama''), actor * Beverly Naya, Nigerian Actress, stars in the No.1 Telenovela/Soap Opera in Africa, Tinsel (TV series) * Lucy Verasamy, (''Geography''), weather forecaster * Kaan Yıldırım, (''Marketing''), Turkish Actor

Politics and royalty

* Joyce Anelay, Baroness Anelay of St John's, Joyce Anne Anelay, Baroness Anelay of St John's, politician, Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office * Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, royalty * John Leech (politician), John Leech (''History and Politics)'', politician, MP for Manchester Withington (UK Parliament constituency), Manchester Withington * John McDonnell (politician), John McDonnell, politician, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer * Ralph Miliband, political theorist * Ville Skinnari, (''LLM''), Finnish politician, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade * Reza Moridi, (MTech and PhD in Physics), Canadian politician * Hamdullah Mohib, (''PhD Computer Systems Engineering''), Afghan politician and diplomat, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States * Anastasios Papaligouras (''Master's in Comparative European Law''), Greek politician, former Minister of Justice * Pekka Sauri (''PhD 1990''), Finnish psychologist, politician, writer and cartoonist * Seng Han Thong (''MBA 1993''), Singaporean politician * Sarah Dines (''Law''), Conservative Party politician, MP For Derbyshire Dales (UK Parliament constituency) * Rosena Allin-Khan (''Medical Biochemistry ''), Labour Party politician, MP For Tooting (UK Parliament constituency) * Diana Johnson (''Law''), Labour Party politician, MP For Kingston upon Hull North (UK Parliament constituency) * Jenny Chapman (''Psychology''), Labour Party politician, MP For Darlington (UK Parliament constituency) * Rudi Vis (''PhD Economics''), Labour Party politician, MP For Finchley and Golders Green (UK Parliament constituency) * Alec Shelbrooke (''Mechanical Engineering''), Conservative Party politician, MP For Elmet and Rothwell (UK Parliament constituency) * John Tomlinson, Baron Tomlinson, John Tomlinson (''Health Services Management''), Labour politician and life peer * Shailesh Vara (''Law''), Conservative Party politician, MP for North West Cambridgeshire (UK Parliament constituency), North West Cambridgeshire * Claire Ward (''MA Britain and the European Union''), Labour politician, former MP for Watford (UK Parliament constituency) * Marina Yannakoudakis (''BSc Government, Politics and Modern History''), Conservative Party politician, Member of the European Parliament, MEP for London (European Parliament constituency), London * Abang Johari Openg, 6th Chief Minister of the State of Sarawak, Malaysia * Gagan Sikand, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Streetsville Constituency in Canada


* Tony Adams (footballer), Tony Adams (''Sports Science''), footballer, former Arsenal and England captain and Portsmouth F.C. manager * Eniola Aluko (''Law''), England Ladies footballer * Ross Brawn, team principal for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One, Mercedes Formula One team * Mike Coughlan (''Mechanical Engineering 1981''), former Chief Designer for McLaren Formula One team * James Cracknell (''MSc Sport Science 1999''), rower, Olympic gold medallist * Abi Ekoku, former GB Lions rugby league manager, British discus champion and Bradford Bulls, London Broncos and Halifax winger * Ben Gollings, rugby player, Captain of England Sevens, IRB Sevens Series all-time top scorer * Elizabeth Hall (athlete), Elizabeth Hall (''Physiotherapy''), athlete * Roger Hammond (cyclist), Roger Hammond (''Materials Science''), cyclist * Audley Harrison (''Sport Sciences 1999''), boxer, Olympic gold medallist * Richard Hill (flanker), Richard Hill (''Geography and Sports Science''), rugby player, 2003 Rugby World Cup winner * Ali Ibrahim, Egyptian rower * Catherine Murphy (athlete), Catherine Murphy, athlete * Beth Rodford (''Sport Science''), rower * Michael Olowokandi, former NBA player, No.1 overall pick of the 1998 NBA draft * Abiodun Oyepitan (''Politics and Sociology''), athlete * Perri Shakes-Drayton (''Sport Sciences 2011''), athlete * Tom Shanklin, rugby player, Lions tourist and Wales rugby union international * Iwan Thomas, (''Geography and Sports Science''), athlete * Chad Gould, (''Sports Science''), footballer * Heather Fell, (''Physiotherapy''), Olympic Modern Pentathlete and Triathlete

See also

*Universities in London


External links

* {{authority control Brunel University London, Educational institutions established in 1966 1966 establishments in England Buildings and structures in the London Borough of Hillingdon Uxbridge Universities in London Universities UK Isambard Kingdom Brunel