UCL Computer Science


UCL Industry Exchange Network (UCL IXN)

Collaborate, Innovate, Pioneer

The UCL IXN programme enables students to apply their degree training to a wide variety of projects with external organisations.

The programme is founded on the understanding that experience of real-world interdisciplinary applications, in conjunction with a rigorous programme of taught modules, is vital to a modern scientific education. Students are therefore involved with the UCL IXN programme from the very beginning of their undergraduate studies right through to the end of their specialist MSc programmes. Across all programmes in UCL Computer Science we have around 1000 students working with blue chip companies, charities and SMEs.

The UCL IXN has been active for several years based on the IXN teaching methodology developed by Dr Dean Mohamedally and Dr Graham Roberts in 2011. This framework also forms the basis for the National Framework for IXNs (NFIXN) which enables collaboration between universities and their partners across the UK. The UCL IXN model is also being used across the world as an example of best practice in this area of Higher Education.

The undergraduates at UCL Computer Science have the unique opportunity in Cycle 1 to work on several experiences with industry during their degree study. They also have a tailored experience with industry that looks at the fields that they may want to study in, based on the IXN teaching methodology. Students on this cycle have 25% of their time on industry engagements.

Dr Carolyn Phelan leads the Cycle 2 UCL IXN Innovation part of the programme with the MSc level students. This is focussed on the particular requirements of students on our advanced specialist MSc courses and their external partners. Students on this cycle take part in a full-time 3 month summer project working with an industry partner. This work forms the basis of their dissertation which accounts for one third of the total marks for their degree.

How do projects work?

Projects are set up following the IXN approach, which takes into account both the students interests and motivations, and the skills required to successfully complete the project. Our team is available to discuss proposals and suggest ways to appropriately scope the projects. We will examine it with you in terms of timescales and complexity to further discuss which cohort would provide the most suitable match. 

Each project has a named industry technical mentor from the company, and a supervisor allocated from UCL. The UCL IXN projects are formally marked by the UCL supervisor. In addition to support from our academic and teaching staff, students also have access to a large number of research students.

Our projects run in the following cycles:

Project cycle 1

Terms 1 and 2 (Oct to Mar) UG & PG In-Class Teams (25% time load) UG Final year Dissertations (25% time load)
  • At least 20% projects charitable and all open-sourced.
  • Call for project proposals May-July for October start.  

Project cycle 2

Term 3 (June to Sept) PG Programmes Individual Dissertations and Team Projects (100% time load)
  • NDA and closed source projects allowed (IP exchanges).
  • Call for project proposals November-January for June start. 

How do UCL IXN partnerships work?

The UCL IXN programme has a comprehensive support structure in areas such as teaching, lab work, administration, financial operations, events and public relations. The UCL Computer Science Strategic Alliances Team (SAT) led by Graca Carvalho engage companies with the onboarding and legal processes of the UCL IXN. Industry clients who join our programme bring projects with strict, term-time deadlines. Each client project has a briefing and authorises the use of data and methods, and brings a named technical mentor with the materials and supportive infrastructure required to facilitate the project from the client side. UCL IXN projects are chosen by a teaching panel and are formally assessed by a UCL supervisor, who leads the final academic marking of the project. Teaching assistants from our dedicated cohort of research students play an integral role in supporting students’ lab experiences.

Projects have a fully approved legal framework designed by UCL, managed by the SAT team, which appreciates that student work is prototypical only, and that clients should maintain IP ownership. We are expanding – internally, with several further faculties at UCL, and externally, with other universities who aspire to similar real-life educational opportunities for their students.

For the coming year, we especially welcome projects that are interdisciplinary in engineering, from clients all around the world. We will continue to engage with our neighbours far and wide, and to share our experiences of practical and scientific endeavour.

We maintain a vision of long lasting partnerships with strong return on investments for our partners, and we welcome discussions on sponsorship models of varying types to invest in the education of our students.

Get in touch

Would you or your company like to submit a project proposal for the next academic cycle? For further details, please contact us via ixn@ucl.ac.uk with the following details:

  • Name
  • Company
  • Area (e.g. healthcare)
  • Project description (3-4 lines)

Primary Objectives of the UCL IXN

  • Appreciate the wide ranging applications of Computer Science.
  • Master core disciplinary concepts delivered in in the context of departmental and interdisciplinary research Engage in practical, applicable learning from the start.
  • Acquire design and professional practice skills Have the opportunity for personalised learning.

Frequently Asked Questions