UCL Industry Exchange Network (UCL IXN)
Our trailblazing programme is a win-win for all: students gain customised industry experience throughout their course; companies get to fast-track innovation.
UCL Computer Science launched the UCL Industry Exchange Network (UCL IXN) in 2011. Since then, our students have collaborated with Microsoft, IBM, NTT DATA, Intel, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Alongside the technology giants, we partner with top international banks, the next-big-thing SMEs and the most creative gaming companies. Our students have helped the NHS transform digital healthcare and brought technical advances to charities.
UCL IXN readies the students for their careers. They work with our partners to devise proofs of concept to solve real-life problems. At the same time, they learn vital business skills. The unique Industry Exchange Network pedagogical approach, established by Prof Dean Mohamedally and Prof Graham Roberts, has been endorsed as best practice by the UK government*.
Other universities run capstone programmes where students might have a single industry project experience, often in their final year. In contrast, UCL Computer Science undergraduate students can work on industry projects as part of their taught modules, in multiple years of their degree programme. Master's students have three months dedicated to a full time on an UCL IXN summer project.
UCL IXN uses a motivation tracking approach to focus on students' particular interests, identifying the fields in which they want to work. They are able to become specialists who don't need to retrain before starting employment.
For partners, the programme allows them to innovate with low risk. Creating proof of concepts and prototypes with the students, they explore ideas quickly with minimal costs and disruption to their business. Many welcome the opportunity to have long-running projects, where expert teams of students develop a concept over subsequent years. Partners say how the students bring fresh insights, new approaches to solving problems.
UCL Computer Science is ranked top in the UK for research strength (REF 2014), and this leading research guides our teaching. Our students have exceptional talent but are also equipped for industry. We're building tomorrow's technology leaders who can share their knowledge and pass on their skills. Our partners often call the programme a recruitment pipeline. Reach the best first with UCL IXN.
* Reviewed in the UK government’s Topol Review 2019 and endorsed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“The UCL IXN programme has been a fundamental part of transforming how we engage with universities.”
John McNamara IBM Master Inventor and UK University Programs Lead IBM
“GOSH DRIVE is delighted to collaborate with the UCL IXN programme. The programme allows us to engage with talented and enthusiastic computer science students who are keen to develop technology that has the potential to change lives.”
Professor Neil Sebire Chief Research Information Officer and DRIVE Managing Director
“We regard the IXN programme as a 'win-win' situation. UCL wins because the students gain industrial experience of a 'real problem'. We win because the students can explore (and sometimes solve) a problem that is relevant to what we do. Both sides can benefit from what we think of as a three-month long interview.”
Dr Peter Mitic Head of Operational Risk Methodology UK, Santander UK
How our projects work
We nurture long-term relationships with our industry partners, and the projects are truly collaborative. We require every company to have a named technology mentor to support the students alongside a UCL supervisor.
UCL Computer Science undergrads (Cycle 1) spend 25% of their time in every year of their course working on industry projects alongside their taught modules.
Master’s students (Cycle 2) spend three months dedicated to IXN projects as part of their dissertations.
Our projects run in the following cycles:
Undergraduate students - Cycle 1
UCL IXN for undergraduate students
Led by Professor Dean Mohamedally and Professor Graham Roberts
At least 20% of projects are charitable and all open-sourced
Call for project proposals May-July for October start
Master's students - Cycle 2
UCL IXN Innovation for MSc students
Led by Dr Carolyn Phelan
NDA and closed source projects allowed (IP exchanges)
Call for project proposals November-January for June start