What is IROP?


The International Research Opportunities Programme (IROP) is an undergraduate student exchange programme which takes place over ~8 weeks in the summer. Read more in this Imperial news story.  

Participants gain practical research experience in an area of interest overseen by a host supervisor at Imperial, whilst experiencing student life on campus alongside peers from the College’s strategic partner institutions.  

IROP exchanges would not be possible without the support from faculty who generously provide their time and expertise to host students for research projects.

Each year, Imperial departments exchange students with our partner institutions which include: MIT, Cornell University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Toronto.  

The scheme is coordinated by the IROP team in the International Relations Office at Imperial  (irop@imperial.ac.uk).

Since 2014, 325 Imperial students have completed IROP projects at one of our partner institutions and 303 students from our partners have been hosted at Imperial.

Frequently asked questions

What does being an IROP supervisor involve?

Supervisors are expected to work with the IROP student to plan a suitable project for the 8 week period, to provide project supervision during the summer and to welcome the students into their research group.

Supervisors must be:

  • reasonably available to supervise for the full 8 weeks. If long periods of annual leave are planned during the IROP period, supervisors must identify a co-supervisor
  • It is recommended to identify a day-to-day contact who can also support the student during their project – this can be a PhD student or post-doctoral researcher  

IROP is extra-curricular, there are no assessment requirements. However, supervisors work with their IROP student to agree how the project outputs will be shared e.g. a presentation to the research group, a written report, a paper. The presentation of project outputs is an integral part of the IROP experience and a valuable development opportunity for students.

Supervisors must also arrange a suitable workspace for their IROP students and make arrangements for any necessary safety training and access arrangements. This may involve liaising with departmental administrative staff.

All non-academic details (accommodation, registration, orientation) are handled by the IROP team.

How can I become an IROP supervisor?

In February, the IROP academic lead in each department receives the details of the IROP students who will be joining the department that summer, and approaches academics to host the student.

If you would like to express interest in becoming an IROP supervisor, please contact irop@imperial.ac.uk and we would be happy to pass your interest onto the IROP academic lead in your department.

A general overview of the student selection/project matching process is:

  1. Partner institutions undertake a selection process to choose students to be nominated to Imperial 
  2. Nominated students provide a PDF application pack containing the following:
      1. statement of motivation, transcript, CV
      2. The names of three Imperial faculty who they would be interested to undertake a research project with - based on the student's research interests. Students are told that they may need to be flexible.
  3. Departmental IROP academic leads approach faculty in the department to identify a suitable host supervisor for each student. Prospective supervisors can choose to interview the student prior to confirming acceptance.
  4. Once matched, the IROP Team connects students with their confirmed host supervisor via email. 
  5. The supervisor and student independently discuss and agree the plans for the research project, including any preparation work.  


What are the IROP dates?

The programme begins on the 1st Monday after the end of the academic year – usually late-June or early July and finishes at the end of August.

As IROP is a cohort programme involving several partner institutions and dates are agreed with partners in advance. Variations to the IROP dates are not possible.


What are the funding arrangements?

As IROP is reciprocal, Imperial provides funding to outgoing IROP students and funding for incoming IROP students is the responsibility of the home university. No funding is provided to supervisors.

What support do IROP students receive for arranging housing, registration etc?

The IROP team supports all IROP students with the practical and non-academic aspects of the exchange including:

Registration and Visa 

Students will be instructed to register as Imperial students for the research project. Visa guidance will be provided during registration.  


Accommodation will be arranged for all participants in student halls of residence. Students are given guidance for commuting to either the South Kensington or White City Campus each day. 


The IROP team provide guidance to students about travelling to Imperial and provide an in-person orientation on day 1 of the programme that includes a campus tour, introduction to Imperial, and an opportunity to connect with the rest of the IROP cohort.    

Socio-Cultural Programme 

The IROP Team organises social events for IROP students to get to know each other and explore London.  

The IROP team is the students' main point of contact for non-academic queries related to their IROP participation (irop@imperial.ac.uk)

Any questions?

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the programme in more detail, please contact the IROP Team (irop@imperial.ac.uk) or Laura Bulmer (l.bulmer@imperial.ac.uk), Senior International Relations Manager (Education and Mobility) 

IROP reflections

IROP reflections

"Tokyo Tech holds a special place in my heart and so it brings me great joy to be able to strengthen our existing collaborations with them through this programme. Akira actually works with my colleagues and a student who did their PhD with me during my time at Tokyo Tech so our ties are already strong but through being part of IROP we’re able to exchange ideas and perspectives on a deeper level. It’s mutually beneficial" - Dr Céline Mougenot, Senior Lecturer and leader of the Collaborative Design group, Dyson School of Design Engineering

IROP reflections

“The IROP programme allows us to exchange knowledge and perspectives across institutions while training the next generation of scientists. It’s always wonderful to watch these students grow over the summer, being ambassadors for their subjects and universities." - Dr Luke Delmas, Senior Teaching Fellow and Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Exchange Coordinator