The first wave of Imperial’s Turing scheme recipients celebrated the international ties they formed during placements abroad.
More than 150 undergraduate and postgraduate students at Imperial received funding from the UK government’s Turing Scheme last year to support their research, study and industrial placements at universities, research institutes, hospitals and companies in 32 countries.
Students spent time in countries such as the USA, Japan, Germany, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia at top research institutes such as MIT and Technical University of Munich.
Speaking at the Turing Scheme Reception: Celebrating International Opportunities event, Imperial’s Vice President (International) Professor Maggie Dallman said: “After the disruption to travel and international experiences due to the pandemic it is fantastic to see so many examples of our student community embarking on international experiences, making new friends and connections around the world and gaining new skills and perspectives which they bring back to their studies and to the community at Imperial.
“Imperial is an international university. We know the huge benefit that our diverse community brings to all that we do. These experiences represent one of the many ways in which our students are encouraged to develop their skills and enthusiasm for the collaborative exchange of ideas and to achieve a positive impact both during and after their time at Imperial.”
A key priority of the Turing scheme is to widen access to these opportunities to students from lower income backgrounds or those who meet the relevant eligibility criteria. You can find out more about applying for the funding scheme here.
Anitha Uthayasooriyan, Reshaba Pushparatnam and Abinaya Muraleetharan, 3rd year Medicine students took part in the Curriculum Research Innovation programme with Community Action Nepal.
They said: “Our expedition to Nepal was life-changing; we never imagined with our financial backgrounds that we could access an opportunity like this. The generosity of the Turing Scheme has not only encouraged our professional development, but also our personal development. It challenged us to adapt to a new environment where we faced physical barriers, such as our unfamiliarity with the native dialect, to mental barriers, such as feeling we may not overcome hurdles in the terrain.
"We would like to express that with the aid of the scheme, financial difficulties were not a hindrance when seeking international opportunities and how crucial this was in our development as medical students.”
Edward Hartley, a 3rd year undergraduate in the Department of Computing, completed an IROP placement in the Media Lab at MIT in summer 2022. Edward said: “The summer placement has massively increased my confidence, allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture and really confirmed my interest in entering research.
“My project was to predict the transport-mode choice of a population when a new mode of autonomous transport is introduced. The lab had previously created a prototype for an autonomous shared bike which would drive itself to where it was demanded. They had also simulated the level of service (e.g. wait time, proportion of demand met) that would be provided by a given size of fleet of these bikes. My project aimed to understand, if the new bikes were introduced, questions including how many people would use them over other current mobility choices.”
Maya Lopez, from the Department of Life Sciences, undertook an industrial research placement in Tokyo, Japan and was hosted at Kyoto University.
Maya, whose project investigated the mechanisms of primed to naïve resetting of human pluripotent stem cells, said: “One of the benefits of the placement was undertaking research at one of Japan’s top research institutes with the finest technology and facilities. I was able to apply a lot of the skills I learned during my course and internship and expand that for a purpose.”
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