IROP Students Around the World

Sara Nelson, Staff Associate, Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming

Geochemical mapping fieldwork in Morocco. Analysis of agricultural product design and technology in China. Investigation into microfinance in India. Field testing of the Leveraged Freedom Chair in Guatemala…

These are just a few of the research projects conducted by MIT undergraduates as part of the International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) during the 2010-2011 academic year and summer 2011. Students conducted research around the world in 18 different countries including Ecuador, Senegal, and South Korea.

IROP, the international version of the campus-based UROP program, allows undergraduate students to conduct faculty-mentored research abroad in any field or discipline. The UAAP also coordinates IROP Summer Research Exchange Programs that aim to enhance and broaden students’ undergraduate experiences, provide opportunities to live in another culture, conduct research in a different academic/research environment, and help develop skills to better prepare for leadership roles in a global economy.

Summer 2011 marked the third year of the MIT-National University of Singapore summer research exchange program. Adrienne Tran, a junior in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, spent the summer in Singapore conducting research at the NUS Memory, Aging and Cognition Centre and observe at the National University Hospital. In addition to her research, Adrienne had the chance to meet other students and researchers, explore Singapore, and travel to Kuala Lumpur. Two students from NUS spent the summer at MIT conducting research in chemical engineering with Prof. Robert Langer and biology with Prof. Uttam Rajbhandary.

The UAAP is expanding the IROP Summer Research Exchange Program for summer 2012 by increasing the number of students who can participate in the MIT-NUS program – up to five MIT students will spend the summer at NUS and up to five NUS students will come to MIT. In addition, a new summer exchange program will also be offered between MIT and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) with up to five students from each school taking part.

Any student interested in conducting research abroad is strongly encouraged to contact UROP staff (, x3-7306, 7-104) in the UAAP to discuss their research interests, funding, and other related questions or concerns.