First thoughts and motivations

First thoughts

Students at Imperial College will start building their network of academic contacts in Year 1 (starting with those who teach and advise them), but obviously by Year 3, for example, students ought to have a more developed network. Students from other UK universities may need to consider how their own network of academic contacts can perhaps help to reach out to staff at Imperial. However, while networks are important they by no means exclude an individual student approaching a member of staff with whom they have no connection.

UROP therefore draws participants from all years at university, with a range of motivations for taking part and whose pathways to securing a suitable research experience will vary, and yes a UROP is NOT guaranteed!  You have to work at it. It is fair to say that some academic staff may need more convincing about devoting time and attention to supervising a UROP. Therefore, you need to be persuasive and convincing, which for many academic staff is showing real enthusiasm and showing evidence of self-motivation (i.e. being able to work under supervision but also showing good ability to get on with it: a self-starter).

So, be expansive in your thinking, don’t over rely on predictable pathways and think early! Your application/approach will be direct to a member of academic staff as there is no centralised application system for UROP research experiences. Research groups find their work plan continually evolving (equally the availability of academic staff to supervise especially in the summer months is not something that is necessarily fixed well in advance) and doors to opportunities (whether advertised here or elsewhere or not at all) can therefore open at unpredictable times.

The pandemic has meant that the use of remote (i.e. non campus) options to structure and deliver a UROP are clearly relevant, and will remain so, however, the focus of UROP remains an on-campus (in-attendance on campus) activity.

Our information sheet can help eligible undergraduates understand some key aspects of how the scheme runs at Imperial College: UROP information sheet - 2023 (amended 08NOV2022)

When considering a UROP , an Imperial undergraduate may also wish to consider other opportunities to work with staff, to be enterprising or develop your ideas. Consider opportunities supported by Imperial College's Hackspace, ourEnterprise lab and through StudentShapers which offers projects in curriculum development or educational research. 

As you can see the opportunities are almost limitless!!


Which of the following best describes you?

  1. someone interested in doing a PhD at a later stage
  2. someone interested in developing their awareness of their own subject area
  3. someone wishing to raise their awareness of how research is pursued and organised
  4. someone interested in testing the water ahead of choosing optional courses or a final year project
  5. someone interested in developing their awareness of related subject areas
  6. someone keen to develop new skills
  7. someone keen to improve their effectiveness with current skills
  8. someone interested in utilising transferable skills in unrelated subject areas
  9. someone interested in developing their personal development plan

The more that you answer yes to, the more likely that UROP is an option worth considering.

A good person to speak to if you wish to discuss your motivations further is your academic advisor at your current university, which for undergraduates at Imperial College is your ‘personal tutor’.