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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Forty-nine Cambridge University third-year students from 10 countries and the United Kingdom will study at MIT this year as part of the Cambridge-MIT Institute undergraduate student exchange program. Forty-four MIT juniors will spend the year at Cambridge.
Members of the MIT faculty and administration and the CMI staff greeted the Cambridge students at a brunch on Aug. 27.
"This year's group from Cambridge represents a further expansion of an important program," Chancellor Phillip Clay said in his welcoming remarks. "Students who come here and those from MIT who go to Cambridge will not only learn a lot, [but] they are part of an exchange of ideas and approaches that will benefit each university. For two global universities, the exchange models the workplaces of the future."
Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert Redwine echoed those sentiments in his greeting, saying the presence of Cambridge students on the MIT campus had stimulated discussion about ways to improve the undergraduate experience.
The Cambridge students will study in 10 MIT departments representing a number of academic disciplines, including engineering, economics, mathematics and the natural sciences.
More than half of the Cambridge students will live in MIT fraternities and independent living groups. The MIT students will travel to England in early October for orientation. Classes will start on Oct. 10.
In addition to the undergraduate student exchange during the academic year, CMI has introduced a program of summer research opportunities. Twenty-six Cambridge students spent the summer at MIT working with faculty and staff in 20 MIT departments, laboratories and centers. At the same time, 23 MIT undergraduates spent eight weeks in research laboratories at Cambridge.
The goal of the pilot program, patterned after MIT's UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program), is to introduce the benefits of undergraduate research to the faculty and students at the University of Cambridge where faculty do not traditionally involve undergraduates in their research. Participating students worked on a wide variety of projects, including creating a game to assist the teaching of environmental engineering, developing a mathematical model for a physical therapy robot, looking at the compressive behavior of aluminum honeycomb, and evaluating construction methods in Afghanistan.
A number of Cambridge students join the CMI program to do research in an academic setting. As a result, some have made the decision to work toward a Ph.D.
The Cambridge-MIT Institute, founded in 2000, represents a strategic alliance between MIT and the University of Cambridge and is supported by the U.K. government, industrial partners and others. Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in higher education through joint research, educational and cultural initiatives is a major focus of the work done by CMI in support of its mission to improve competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship in the U.K. The undergraduate student exchange program is in its second year.