The SME Internship Fund provides funding to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to engage Imperial students and graduates in paid project based internships between July-September. 

The scheme is a fantastic way to gain access to imperial's vast and diverse talent pool, bringing new skills and perspectives into your business from some of the brightest minds studying STEM in the UK. 

Projects must be a minimum of six weeks in duration and can be advertised as full or part time hours. Eligible SME's will recieve a 50% salary contribution towards the cost of hiring an Imperial intern based on the intern being paid a minimum rate of £11.95 per hour. 

Submitting a project proposal:

Project proposals for 2023 are now closed. You can submit your interest in the 2024 scheme here.

Project proposals are reviewed by a panel on a rolling basis and funding is allocated on a first come first served basis to organisations and projects that meet the scheme's eligibility criteria (please find more details below). If you have any questions, please contact the Placement and Internship Unit.

If you would like to know more about employing international students from Imperial College London, please see the AGCAS handout Recruiting International Graduates A Guide for Employers‌‌ for all the key information.‌

SME Internship Fund Tabs

How does it work?

Step one: Project Scoping

Funding is limited and will be allocated once all applications have been received and reviewed by the selection panel. A member of the Careers Service Placement and Internship Unit will contact you after the deadline to inform you of the outcome of your application.

If selected for funding, collaboratively we will support you to scope the project and outline the skills and experience required. Using this, the Placement and Internship Unit will prepare a job description which forms the basis of the student internship advertisement.

Step two: Advertising

Once the job description is confirmed, the opportunity will be advertised through our Careers Service online system JobsLive for a minimum of two weeks. The Placement and Internship Unit will monitor applications throughout this period and publicise the internship to eligible students and graduates through various marketing channels. 

Step three: Shortlisting 

When advertising is completed The Placement and Internship Unit will shortlist the applications and provide you with the applications of the most suitable candidates based on the criteria outlined in the job description. 

Step four: Interviews

Once you’ve reviewed the applications, you will be able to contact the candidates to arrange interviews at your convenience. Please advise the Placement and Internship Unit of your recruitment decision and directly provide feedback to the unsuccessful interviewees.

Step five: Funding Agreements

Once you have confirmed with the student their start date, hours/days of work and total salary, the Placement and Internship Unit will send a Funding Agreement to the SME host. Please note; this is not an employment contract, full details of the internship should be confirmed between the intern and the company in a separate agreement provided by the company. 

Step six: Invoicing

The host SME will pay the intern their salary directly through the company. SME Internship Fund contribution will be sent via invoice before the end of July 2023 (full instructions on this process will be shared with sucessful project hosts);. 


In order to be eligible, your organisation must be:

  • Registered and based in the UK
  • SME (250 employees or less)
  • Annual turnover of less than £1 million

If you are a member business or charity based in Scale Space or I-HUB on the White City campus, please visit the Imperial College London White City Internship Fund page for alternative support. 

In order to be eligible, the project must be:

  • A minimum of six weeks duration
  • Delivered outside of Imperial Academic Term dates
  • Paid London Living Wage (£11.95 per hour)
  • Offered to an Imperial student or graduate
  • Suitable for STEM disciplines
  • Able to provide challenging graduate-level experience

How do I apply?

Applications for the Summer 2023 SME Internship Fund have now closed.

If you would like more information about the 2024 funding timelines, or to discuss this internship fund further, please email or submit your interest in the scheme here