Virtual UROP 2020

An extraordinary research internship with 25 undergraduates from the USA and Canada started this week at RWTH Aachen University: virtually, across several thousand kilometres and national borders.

Every year, the International Office organises the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) International, in which American and Canadian undergraduate students come to various institutes and chairs of RWTH Aachen University for a ten-week research internship from May to July - including the Chair of Information Management in Mechanical Engineering (IMA). Saddened by the cancellation of this year's UROP exchange, but convinced of the benefits of digitisation, the scientists adapted their actual project plan and designed a concept for how the exchange could be completed virtually. The International Office had already been thinking about similar concepts, was pleased about the IMA's initiative and set up a broad framework programme consisting of tours, a buddy programme and a welcome event - all digitally, of course.

This year, 25 undergraduates from North America are conducting research at 13 participating RWTH institutes and chairs from 7 faculties. The students come from universities such as the University of Alberta, the University of British Columbia, Carnegie Mellon University or Harvard University and work on topics from their host institutions, take part in virtual team meetings, exchange information with their supervisors in Aachen in video conferences and meet online with their student "buddies". Because once everyone has come to terms with the biggest problem - the time difference - German courses, institute tours and research projects can also be carried out digitally.