All students are expected to participate in a student internship or exchange during their CDT programme. This may take the form of:
- An academic exchange – spending time in another research lab (national or international)
- An industry internship – the CDT has several partners in industry that may be able to host you for a short internship. If your project already involves an industry partner, you would normally spend your internship working at the partner institution, or
- A policy/other internship – there are many opportunities for other types of internship available, eg the EPSRC science policy internship scheme
"The industry-component in CDTs is great with so many PhDs nowadays not ending up in academia. Having an internship as a required component in your track raises awareness for necessary steps towards a career outside academia, lowers the barrier to interrupt research and then finally leads to relevant work experience that's so important later." Carl Lubba, Cohort 2
How does it work?
You will make arrangements for the internship yourself, in consultation with your supervisor.
Finding an opportunity
- Check our list of potential contacts
- Speak to your supervisor, collaborators and colleagues
- Check websites of relevant companies or organisations for opportunities
- Speak to Robert Ferguson, Bioengineering's Industrial Liaison Manager
- Speak to the Imperial Enterprise Lab
We encourage you to start discussions with your supervisor as early as possible (preferably in the MRes year), so that you can plan your internship well in advance and maximise opportunities.
Where your internship is directly related to your research, you would be expected to take this time as “study leave”. This allows you to remain registered, and continue to receive your bursary during the internship, as if you were studying at the College. You will need to complete a study leave form to have this approved.
If your internship is unrelated to your research, you would normally take an interruption of studies during this time. This suspends your registration for the internship period meaning that this time does not count towards your degree (ie you will have an additional 3 months of registration added at the end of your normal registration period). Tuition fee and bursary payments are suspended during an interruption of studies.
Each student is eligible for a contribution towards travel/living costs during the internship. The amount of funding will vary depending on the nature of your internship (eg whether it is industry-funded, whether you will continue to be paid your bursary or not). Funding will be arranged on a case-by-case basis.
If you have details of any contacts/schemes not listed here, please contact Kate Hobson
- RCUK Policy internships - To work at partner host organisations on one or more policy topics relevant to both the student and the host. Closing date for applications: 16:00 on 10 August 2017
- Data Incubator Fellowship - an intensive 8 week fellowship that prepares masters students, PhDs, and postdocs in STEM and social science fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. Closed for 2017 but register on their website for future opportunities
- Royal Society
- Deep Science Ventures (normally 6 months)
- UK Government
- Cortexica Vision Systems Ltd - Artificial intelligence and computer vision
- Elekta - equipment and software used to improve, prolong and save the lives of people with cancer and brain disorders
- Integra Life Sciences - a world leader in medical technology, innovative solutions in orthopedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, and reconstructive and general surgery
- Medfield Diagnostics AB develops medical device based on microwave technology
- Össur develops, manufactures and sells non-invasive orthopaedics equipment, including bracing and support products, compression therapy, and prosthetics
- Scientifica distributes and develops premium scientific equipment to enhance the research of neurons, neuronal circuits and animal behaviour
- Stryker is one of the world's leading medical technology companies
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc - global biotechnology company investing in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases.
Sofia Dall'Orso, cohort 2
Academic exchange to lab of Prof William Fifer, Columbia University Medical Centre, New York - Jan - Feb 2017
"This international academic exchange was a great experience both from an academic and personal perspective...The gained experience is of great value for the progress of my work and contributed to forge a strong international collaboration that wouldn’t have been as solid otherwise."
Carl Lubba, cohort 2
Industrial internship (paid) with Toshiba - June - Aug 2017
"The industry-component in CDTs is great with so many PhDs nowadays not ending up in academia. Having an internship as a required component in your track raises awareness for necessary steps towards a career outside academia, lowers the barrier to interrupt research and then finally leads to relevant work experience that's so important later."
Cher Bass, cohort 1
Industrial internship with start-up company NeuroCreate, London - Mar - Jun 2018
"The Internship at NeuroCreate was a great experience in which I was involved in developing machine learning algorithms for the purpose of classifying creativity from EEG signals. I really enjoyed the machine learning work, but also I was involved in some of the business aspects, in which I attended some business seminars. We also did a few visits to potential customers, in which we collected data in real-life situations, such as creative brainstorms, and discussed how they could use our services in their work environments. Overall, it was a great experience in which I learnt about the development of start-ups, as well as enhanced my skills at developing algorithms to solve real-world problems."
Hugo Weissbart, cohort 1
Academic exchange to Perceptive Systms Lab, ENS, Paris - July - Oct 2018
"The internship was for me an opportunity to apply my knowledge of EEG processing and statistical learning in a new paradigm. The project was focused on analysing the EEG activity in response to change in statistics of sound. The experiment itself was an extension to previous results obtained in their lab on animal models with invasive recording. I was glad to work on a lower level aspect of auditory perception, as my actual thesis is concerned with the higher cognitive functions of language processing."
"Beyond the scientific benefits, regarding methods of analysis and signal processing that I learned throughout the project, I benefitted from being in another university. The French academic system, and the organisation within their lab were exemples of different approaches in producing scientific research that I am happy to have been able to observe before finishing my PhD."
Extended academic exchange to lab of Prof Juergen Knoblich at IMBA, Vienna - Aug 2018 - May 2019
"The object of the lab exchange with Prof Juergen Knoblich’s group at IMBA was to explore the use of biomaterial scaffold structures for cerebral organoids, to provide a fixed structure for pluripotent cells to aggregate and form tethered organoids around the material. Cerebral organoids currently do not recapitulate the spatial organization of the developing brain. Using a materials based approach, we are currently exploring scaffold functionalization with bioactive molecules, to release growth factors with spatiotemporal control. We envisage that this will provide a tool to facilitate controlled patterning and organoid polarization, as a strategy to improve the reproducibility and functionality of cerebral organoids.
Main benefits were the expertise and training that they provided for cerebral organoid culture and growth, which I have been able to bring back to the Stevens group. I also think it was really beneficial to experience being in another lab during my PhD."
Cohort 4 student
Clinical trials internship - June - Aug 2019
"The internship at a stroke drug clinical study central team was a great opportunity to have an insight into clinical trials, how they are set-up from the initial contact of potential clinical sites to obtaining regulatory approvals and to recruiting the first patients. The amount of hidden work was staggering, such as the difficulties of the negotiation of the contracts with the clinical sites in different countries and associated legislation. Overall, the experience was very valuable and would benefit everyone who would like first-hand experience in the field of clinical trial management."
Mikolaj Kegler, cohort 4
Industrial internship with Logitech - Jun - Oct 2019
"I did my internship at Logitech in Lausanne, Switzerland. I was a part of a relatively young R&D team based in the company’s global HQ.
The main topic of my PhD is biologically-plausible modelling of brain circuits taking part in natural speech perception. During my time at Logitech, I swapped realistic neuronal network models for their artificial counterparts. Specifically, I was developing novel AI tools for the retrieval of missing or degraded information from voice recordings. While I have scratched the surface of the topic in the past, this summer allowed me to greatly extend my expertise and apply it to solve complex real-life problems. My internship was concluded by writing two papers which were recently submitted to a renowned international conference (ICASSP2020, links: arxiv.org/abs/1910.09058, arxiv.org/abs/1910.09909). The internship also allowed the strengthening of a collaboration between my research group at Imperial and Logitech. We have recently submitted a joint workshop proposal for the summer of 2020.
The experience of working in the industry went beyond my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the environment of industrial research does not differ that much from academia."
Jonny Taylor, cohort 4
Patent law internship (paid) with two separate companies - July - Aug 2019
"My internship was in patent law and I worked for two different companies, spending two weeks at each. I gained a real insight into the working life of a patent attorney and had the opportunity to work on live cases which covered a diverse range of technologies including medical devices, cyber security, biometrics, nuclear waste-disposal and Jet engines. My tasks included responding to patent examination reports, patent opposition, attending inventor meetings and drafting. The learning curve, both in terms of the technology and the law, was therefore extremely steep, however this fusion of science and law made the role particularly enjoyable.
This opportunity gave me the chance to develop professionally outside of the research environment. I believe that my communication and presentation skills improved substantially as a result of the internship because it is essential for patent attorneys to communicate effectively with clients, patent examiners and supervisors. It is very important to understand the needs of clients and to meet their expectations and I gained an understanding of how this is carried out in practice. Further, I developed legal knowledge that is useful as a researcher and could help with technology transfer."
Sihao Lu, cohort 3
Academic exchange to lab of DrSpencer Smith, University of California - July - Sept 2019
"During the summer of 2019 I spent three months at the University of California, Santa Barbara where I worked with Dr Spencer Smith on optics development for neuroscience.”
“The experience allowed me to improve my programming skills through the development of tools for the design of optical systems. In the process, I also gained a better understanding of multi-photon optical systems. This is a slight departure from my regular work at Imperial College, where I perform in vivo experiments, measuring calcium in the brain. However, the skills I have learned will augment my current skillset. During my time working with Dr Smith's lab, I also had the opportunity to meet with various experts in the field of multi-photon imaging for neuroscience both within the lab and from other labs. It was an immensely educational experience and I returned to London with many new ideas for my work."
Lotte Weerts, cohort 3
Industrial internship with Google - July 2019 - Feb 2020
"I interrupted my PhD in exchange for industry experience. For the next four months, I would be joining the Text-to-Speech team in the Google London office...those four months turned out to be one of the best work experiences I have had so far.”
“Overall, my internship experience was excellent. Coming back to my PhD has been interesting too, since I gained a bunch of inspiration and new experiences that I now get to apply in my PhD work. I highly recommend other PhD students to take a break from their academic work and do an internship too. Being able to just try out working at a company for a couple of months is a unique opportunity that you are unlikely to get later on in your career!"
James Tyrrell, cohort
Industrial internhip with XSOR Capital Innovations - May - Aug 2020
"The aim of the internship was to develop quantitative trading strategies that could be automated. This involved the application of mathematical methods in fields such as statistics, signal processing and machine learning to financial markets"
"The work experience was undoubtedly valuable.It was a comprehensive introduction into trading, financial markets, and the development of quantitative research...The work experience was also valuable in how it developed my skills...In applying my skills in a new context, I was able to further develop my proficiencies. This will help in the remaining time of my PhD as well as the career beyond."
"Since completing the internship, the number of quantitative finance/investment recruiters contacting my LinkedIn profile has increased...the experience was invaluable for career progression in quantitative research/trading."