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Funding to support high impact international placements for PhD students in labs at Imperial's strategic international partners

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The Imperial Global Fellows Fund supports high impact international placements for PhD students in labs at Imperial’s strategic international partners.

Students, with support of their PhD supervisor and host supervisor, will have the opportunity to spend between 1 and 3 months at one of the following partners:

  • Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai, India
  • Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France (NB approval is needed from both the CNRS host supervisor and her/his head of department or institute)
  • African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana
  • Cornell University, USA
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
  • Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea

 Please note, we are unable to support placements at institutions that are not included on the list above.


Deadlines for applications will be:

  • 20 September 2023
  • 27 November 2023

Please note, there will be no more application rounds this academic year. 

Placements must be at least 4 weeks long and completed by 31 August 2024.


Programme Information

The new Global Fellows Fund supports high impact international placements for PhD students in labs at Imperial’s strategic international partners.

With support from both their PhD supervisor and a host supervisor at one of Imperial’s partner institutions, PhD students can apply for funding from the Turing Scheme to spend between 1 and 3 months at the partner institution.

The goals of the programme are to:

  • Develop new skills, experimental techniques and/or methodologies through access to commentary training and laboratories not available at Imperial;
  • Take part in activities to enhance their professional competencies and expertise through international and interdisciplinary teamwork;
  • Add value to the PhD experience by providing students the opportunity to develop as internationally mobile and globally minded scientists.

Participants will enhance:

  • their ability to work collaboratively on research ideas;
  • their ability to network and communicate effectively and with impact in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams;
  • their intercultural and international competency and awareness;
  • their creativity to develop collaborative research ideas; their appreciation of research in international institutions.


Imperial College participants must:

  • Be a current doctoral student from any discipline (note: this programme is not open to MRes students).
  • Should be over 6 months into their PhD at the time the placement takes place.
  • Have not previously received a Global Fellows Fund grant in the last 12 months.
  • Have support from their Imperial supervisor and a host supervisor at an Imperial partner institution to undertake a placement that will support their scientific and professional goals.

For students who have prior experience of living in the country of the proposed placement, please explain how this placement will add value or build on that experience. Please note, if we receive more applications than available funding priority will be given to students without extensive experience of the country of destination.

Application Process

Applicants should first discuss their interest in undertaking a visit as part of the Global Fellows Fund with their supervisor or other contacts in their department. This will help to gain a sense of existing collaborative relationships with Imperial partner institutions, and to gauge the potential of finding a host supervisor.

Applicants who identify an academic or group which they think might be suitable for a visit should either ask their supervisors to contact the potential host or contact the host directly themselves to determine suitability. Letter for potential PhD host supervisors 202324

Academics at partner institutions are not required to host Imperial students and it is fully at their discretion to determine if a visit is suitable for scientific, professional, and logistical (i.e. space) reasons.

Once a suitable host supervisor is found, applicants will need to complete an online application providing details on the host and answering the following questions:

  • Please provide a layperson summary of your work (200 words, not reviewed)
  • Please provide details of your proposed research placement. What will you do during your research placement and how will it add value to your PhD (500 words)
  • Please explain how you will take advantage of this opportunity in the host institution and country to enhance your personal and professional skills, competencies and networks (250 words)
  • Please explain why you would be a good ambassador for Imperial and how the placement will have a positive impact on the wider College community. For example, by developing networks and connections that benefit your faculty/department (250 words)


Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by the Global Fellows Fund Review Committee chaired by the Director of Graduate School with relevant faculty representatives.

Applications will be reviewed after each application cycle on 20 September 2023 and 27 November 2023. 

The panel will assess applications based on the following criteria:

  • Added value to PhD (application of research to PhD project, opportunity to develop new skills, experience new approaches or equipment)
  • Added value to individual (Skills, networks and personal development)
  • Added value to Imperial (research links, pipeline to future collaborations)

Applicants will be informed via email whether their application has been successful and provided with further details on receiving the Turing scheme grant and arranging the placement.

Applicants who are approved for funding, can then contact their host institutions to organise registration and other logistics.


Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany 

An Entrepreneurial University ranked among Europe’s most outstanding universities in research and innovation, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) offers 183 degree programs covering engineering and natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, management and social sciences. TUM is the only technical university in Germany to have held the title of “University of Excellence” consecutively since 2006, is ranked 2nd in Germany and 38th in the world (THE World University Rankings 2022).

TUM and Imperial formed a strategic partnership in education, research and innovation in 2018. Under this flagship partnership, Imperial and TUM have launched a research seed fund, hosted workshops for students to work together to tackle global challenges, and developed training programmes for scientific leaders of the future.

Details on TUM-Imperial joint initiatives are available here


Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Bengaluru, India

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was established in 1909 by a visionary partnership between the industrialist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Mysore royal family and the Government of India.

Over the last 111 years, IISc has become India’s premier institute for advanced scientific and technological research and education. IISc has a vibrant and diverse campus spread over 440 acres of greenery in the city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India’s hub of high-tech companies (in aerospace, electronics, and information technology), educational and research institutions, and numerous start-ups.

IISc’s reputation and pre-eminence ensures that it attracts the best young faculty members trained in the best laboratories around the world. In 2018, IISc was selected as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) by the Government of India, and it consistently figures among the top Indian institutions in world university rankings.

IISc’s research output is diverse, interdisciplinary and cuts across traditional boundaries. The Institute has over 42 academic departments and centres that come under six divisions.

Details on IISc research groups and academics are available here.


Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai, India

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay was the second of the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to be established. The IITs are highly prestigious Institutes that were created as Centres of Excellence for India’s training, research and development in science, engineering and technology. IITB is now recognised as one of the best technical universities in the world and is one of the topmost choices amongst Indian students for STEM courses, having been ranked as the 3rd top engineering university in India, 2023.

Located in Powai, one of the northern suburbs of Mumbai, the campus is an island of green nestled among the hills and flanked by the Powai and Vihar Lakes. Residents of the institute reap the advantage of being in the busy financial capital of India, while at the same time enjoying the serenity of a campus known for its natural beauty.

Academics at Imperial and IIT Bombay are working together to research clean energy, sustainable transport, water management and modelling for infectious disease.

IIT Bombay offers over 85 courses across 13 academic departments and 34 centres. 

Details on academic divisions, and subsequently academics, are available here.



Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Karolinska Institute (KI) is Sweden’s single largest centre of medical academic research and offers the country’s widest range of medical courses and programmes. As one of the world’s leading medical universities, KI is a one-faculty university dedicated solely to research and education in medical and health sciences, employing around 3,000 researchers. Ranked 11th in Europe and 39th in the world overall, KI is ranked 6th in Europe within the area “Clinical and Health” (THE World University Rankings 2021/22).

KI is Imperial’s top co-publishing partner in Sweden, with 1,192 co-authored publications in the past 5 years (<50 authors). Imperial’s School of Public Health is working with the EU-funded CoroNAb project led by KI, in collaboration with Statens Serum and ETH Zurich, to identify multiple neutralising antibodies and nanobodies against coronavirus and to recommend where their use would be maximally effective.

KI welcomes Imperial students in their medical elective courses during their research stays as space permits, and applicants must adhere to registration procedures and dates.  Many classes are taught in English. 


French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is an interdisciplinary public research organisation under the administrative supervision of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Created in 1939, the CNRS now has ~33,000 researchers and 1,144 research laboratories in France and abroad.

CNRS and Imperial established a strategic partnership in 2018. Since then, collaboration has developed into 4 formal CNRS collaboration mechanisms: the Abraham de Moivre International Research Lab in Mathematics; the Imperial Theoretical Physics group as the UK lead in the Quantum Fields and Strings International Research Project; the International Research Project in Integrative Metabolism; the joint PhD programme.

Imperial and CNRS researchers have co-authored almost 2,800 publications in the past 5 years and worked together on 56 joint Horizon 2020 research consortia. Both institutions are currently exploring opportunities to increase the collaboration further.


African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Rwanda, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal and Ghana

AIMS is a pan-African network of Centres of Excellence for postgraduate training and research in the mathematical sciences. The Institute's vision is to accelerate Africa’s transformation through innovative scientific training, technological advances and cutting-edge research. There are currently five AIMS Centres of Excellence across the continent: South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda. The Centres bring together some of Africa's most stalwart researchers to conduct world-class research that advances the understanding of nature using mathematics and it’s applications.

AIMS and Imperial established a strategic partnership in 2019 and there are education and research collaborations taking place across a range of interdisciplinary fields including statistics, public health, machine learning and climate change.

Information for applicants:

  • This opportunity is open to all students whose research involves an element of mathematical problem solving and methodologies
  • Students are encouraged to spend three months at one of the five AIMS Centres (preferably between March and July)
  • Students will be matched with a supervisor at one of the five AIMS Centres on submitting a succesful application. When completing the application form please populate the International Supervisor/Department section  with ‘Not applicable for AIMS placements’.


Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Cornell University is an Ivy-League private research university and a partner of the State University of New York. Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell is home to over 25,000 students and nearly 1,800 professors. Cornell's mission is to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. 

Cornell's colleges and schools encompass more than 100 felds of study, many of which provide opportunities for learning and engagement that span the state, the nation, and the world. 


University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is Canada's top university and one of the world's top research-intensive universities, bringing together top minds from every background and discipline to collaborate on the world's most pressing challenges. The ideas, innovations and contributions of more than 640,000 graduates advance U of T's impact on communities across the globe. U of T prepares students for success through an outstanding global education rooted in excellence, inclusion, and close-knit learning communities.


 Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan

Tokyo Tech is the top national university for science and technology in Japan with a history spanning more than 130 years. Of the approximately 10,500 students at the Ookayama, Suzukakedai, and Tamachi Campuses, half are in their bachelor's degree program while the other half are in master's and doctoral degree programs. International students number 1,700. There are 1,200 faculty and 600 administrative and technical staff members.

In the 21st century, the role of science and technology universities has become increasingly important. Tokyo Tech continues to develop global leaders in the fields of science and technology, and contributes to the betterment of society through its research, focusing on solutions to global issues. The Institute's long-term goal is to become the world's leading science and technology university.


Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea

Founded as the first comprehensive university in 1946 by the merger of ten higher education institutions, Seoul National University is widely regarded as the top university in Korea by reputation, ranking and output. The university has three campuses, the main campus in Gwanank District and two additional campuses in Daehangno and Pyeongchang County.  There is also an additional medical campus (Yeongeon) in the Northestern part of the city. The university compromises of 16 colleges, 1 graduate school and 9 professional schools. There are almost 17,000 undergraduates, and 11,000 post graduate students. 



Financial Information

Financial details on the Turing scheme are available on the Student Financial Support webpages.


Special grant top up

For the 2023/24 academic year, the International Relations Office will provide top up funding equal to the cost of living grant provided by the Turing scheme grant to help cover more of the overall costs.  For those eligible for extra funding due to meeting the enhanced criteria, the matching top up will not include flight costs nor exceptional costs.

NB The Turing Scheme grant is a contribution to the overall cost of undertaking the placement and will not cover total costs. Students are advised to discuss with their supervisor potential sources of funding that would be able to supplement the grant to cover any additional costs not cover by the Turing scheme grant or International Relations top up.