Incoming IROP students at Orientation 2017

Students from partner universities at the IROP welcome and orientation

Madeleine Fellner at NUS

Madeleine Fellner (Chemistry) at National University of Singapore

Pavan Inguva (Chemical Engineering) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matas Petreikis at MIT 2017

Matas Petreikis (Materials), MIT

Jack Dunning at UBC 2016

Jack Dunning (Earth Science and Engineering), UBC

Alexander Al-Zubeidi (Chemistry), SNU

Arjun Kumar at SNU 2016

Arjun Kumar (Physics), SNU

IROP afternoon tea 2016

Students from partner universities join Imperial for the summer

The 'International Research Opportunities Programme' (IROP) offers students an exciting chance to spend 8 weeks at one of Imperial’s partner Universities. This is an exciting opportunity to broaden your perspective, gain new experiences and develop your skills.

"My contribution was beneficial both to the group and to myself, as it offered me the chance to experience real life research in a practical aspect of physics, which will undoubtedly help me make my future career choice.
"I’ve greatly increased my self-confidence, and now feel much more prepared to adapt to new working and social environments, and be flexible when working in new and unfamiliar situations."
"This experience has made me consider much more strongly the possibility of further study or a career abroad after I graduate, as I feel I now have a clear understanding of what skills and attitude it requires. "

Read more Student experiences on the International Summer Research Opportunities Programme (IROP).


What is IROP?

In conjunction with Imperial departments and partner universities all over the world, the International Relations Office coordinates opportunities for undergraduate students to gain research experience at a partner university overseas.

IROP is the College's International Research Opportuntities Programme. These research opportunities present a unique opportunity to gain international research experience and to experience life in another country during the summer break. The International Relations Office also coordinates IROPs for international students coming to Imperial to undertake a period of research from our international partner Universities.

Participants in the schemes can expect:

  • to spend ~8 weeks working in a safe yet challenging research environment in an international setting.
  • to work with world-renowned researchers on cutting-edge projects.
  • to receive pre-departure support and assistance with visas, accommodation and registration at the partner university.

IROP takes place during the summer break from the end of June to the end of August. Exact dates for each partner scheme will be confirmed each year.

Where can I go?

IROP exchanges in 2023-24:

Department participation in IROP exchanges is confirmed each year. Summer 20025 IROP exchanges and participating departments will be advertised in November 2024.

What can I expect from IROP?

Gain real research experience in world-class labs:
Find out about the life of a research scientist while working on a project that is aligned to your research interests. Students conduct research under the supervision of an academic at universities renowned for science and technology. Gain new skills and develop your knowledge.

Professional development:lab
A recent report published by the Confederation of British Industry shows 47 per cent of employers are dissatisfied with graduates’ international cultural awareness[1]. Additionally, one third of employers viewed a graduate with any overseas international experience as more employable. In addition to research experience you can develop your professional skills in intercultural communication and team-work.

Broaden your persepective:
Experience different working, learning and teaching styles! This is a great opportunity to take a step back and to think about where your degree can take you. Some participants chose their final year project on the basis of their IROP experience.

How can I apply?

Opportunities will be advertised to eligible students from participating departments. Opportunities are limited and not all departments participate.   

General IROP eligibility criteria:

  • Be a full time undergraduate student and meet departmental requirements regarding year and course. For example, the opportunity may be restricted to students in certain years, or to students studying specific degree courses. 
  • Have at least one year remaining at Imperial after IROP
  • Be able to commit to the full duration of IROP 
  • Not be enrolled on a degree with year abroad or placement abroad at the time that you participate in IROP 

Additional eligibility requirements may be set by each department. 

As a guide, the IROP application process involves:

  1. Complete the College's online IROP application form

The application form asks applicants to: 

  • Confirm their personal details 
  • Select the IROP partner/s they would like to apply to and rank their preference (if applicable)
  • Indicate three supervisors of interest per partner that they would like to work with on a research project. This information is used to match selected students to a suitable project and supervisor.  Please note, if selected for IROP it is not guaranteed that students will be matched with one of these three supervisors and all IROP students are asked to be flexible.Please do not contact any academics directly.  
  • Upload the following:
    • a statement of motivation
    • pre award transcript
    • up-to-date CV

The statement of motivation should: 

  • Be 1-2 pages long 
  • Outline your interest in the research fields you have indicated and describe any relevant skills/knowledge/competencies 
  • Outline what you hope to gain from taking part in the International Research Opportunities Programme, outside of the research experience.

N.B. If applying to multiple IROP partners, we recommend using the partner as a subheading and addressing each partner separately in the statement of motivation.  

2. The IROP Team share your application with your department for selection.

The selection process may involve an interview, but this is dependent on your department.  

3. If nominated to IROP by your department, you may then be required to complete an application to the partner. This is currently only required for IROP at TUM. 

4. Application outcomes are communicated to all applicants - usually in January. 

Please note, the above information is a guide and is subject to change. Individual departments may require additional steps. Participating departments will make information about the scheme, the application process and the timeline available to students in their department in the Autumn term each year (usually in November). Please refer to the information provided by your department for that academic year. 

What funding is available?

All selected Imperial students receive a bursary to participate in IROP.

The bursary is co-funded by the International Relations Office and the student's home department.

moneyThe bursary is a contribution to all necessary costs of participating in IROP (flight, accommodation, food, visa - if applicable, health insurance and local travel). The amount is calculated based on information from partners and previous students but actual costs will be affected by personal preferences.

Students are responsible for funding extra costs such as social activities or further travel and are recommended to plan for this in advance. 

Bursary payments are administered by the International Relations Office. More information about the bursary will be provided to successful candidates. 

N.B. If you are a female student from Imperial College who is studying for a degree in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Life Sciences or Geology and you would like to undertake an international research placement with a leading female scientist in a similar institution you may be eligible to apply for a bursary from the Stevenson Fund