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Privacy notice and cookie policy

This notice provides you with information regarding your rights and our obligations and explains how, why and when we process your personal information. Where you have linked to this notice from an IOP website, references in this notice to “website” or “websites” are to the specific IOP website which you have linked from.

Who we are

The Institute of Physics (‘IOP’, ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’) is a scientific membership society working to advance physics for the benefit of all. Alongside professional support for our members, we engage with policymakers and the public to increase awareness and understanding of the value that physics holds for all of us.

To support our members and our work with the physics community, members of the public and policy makers, we may gather and process your personal information in accordance with this Privacy Notice (‘notice’) and in compliance with the relevant data protection regulations and laws.

IOP’s registered office is 37 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9BU and we are a registered charity in England and Wales, charity number 293851, and in Scotland, charity number SC040092. We are registered on the Information Commissioner's Office Register of Data Controllers, registration number Z6802378.

Your privacy

We are committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information we process. Personal information is information which identifies you, or which can be identified as relating to you personally (for example, name, address, email address, phone number). We will make every reasonable effort to protect your privacy by adopting a high level of website security and adhering to company policies on how we store and use personal information.

This notice relates to our use of the personal information we collect from you, or that you provide to us, via the online services we make available to you, via phone, email, letters and other correspondence, and in person. It has been created to help you understand our views and practices regarding your personal information.

We recommend that you read this notice prior to using our websites, products or services. If we change this notice we will post the changes on this page, and may place notices on other pages of the website, so that you will be aware of the personal information we collect and how we will use it. If you use this website or our products and services, or access our content on this website, after any such change has been made, you will be deemed to have read and accepted the change.

The personal information we collect

Your personal information will be used by us. The personal information we collect about you, or that you provide to us, will be dependent on your relationship with us and the way in which you choose to interact with us and your level of engagement with us. We’ll only collect the personal information that we need in connection with specific activities such as registration or membership requests, volunteering, conducting research, making donations etc.

Data protection law recognises that certain types of personal information are more sensitive. This is known as 'sensitive' or 'special category' personal information and covers information revealing racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs and political opinions, trade union membership, genetic or biometric data and data concerning a person's health, sex life or sexual orientation.

Personal information provided by you

You may give us personal information when you interact with us, for example applying for membership, registering for an event, completing surveys, signing up for TalkPhysics (our online forum for teachers of physics), donating or when you or your school joins one of our programmes.

The personal information we ask for may include, amongst other things:

  • personal details such as name, date of birth, email address, address, telephone number, affiliation, level of education and so on, when you join as a member or supporter
  • your views and opinions about IOP, preferences and interests, and activities you have participated in
  • financial information (payment information such as bank details and whether donations are gift aided)

If you apply for membership, we may collect additional information such as details of referees to support your application. We will also collect information during the course of your membership, for example the services you use, your attendance at events, your professional achievements and other contact you have with us.

If you’re a volunteer then we may collect extra information about you (eg references, details of emergency contacts etc). This information will be retained for legal or contractual reasons, to protect you and us (including in the event of an insurance or legal claim) and for safeguarding purposes.

Personal information created by your interaction with us

Your activities and involvement with us will result in personal information being created. This could include details of how you’ve helped us by volunteering or being involved with our outreach work and activities. If you decide to donate to us, then we’ll keep records of when and how much you give.

Personal information we collect at receipt and opening of emails or when you use our websites

When you open an email sent by us, we may collect the following personal information automatically:

  • technical information, including your geographic location, email client, browser type and version and device type
  • information about your email consumption, including full click path from within and on to our sites (including frequency, date and time), when the email was opened (date and time) and whether the email was delivered, shared (including on social media) or unsubscribed from.

When you visit our websites, we may collect the following information automatically:

  • technical information, including the Internet Protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the internet, your login information, your geographic location, browser type and version, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform
  • information about your visit, including the source of your visit, the full click path to, through and from our website (including date and time), page response times, download errors and length of visits to certain pages.

Personal information from third parties

From time to time, we may collect personal information about you from other third-party sources, including publicly available data sources and your employer or university/school. We will only do this where it is permitted by applicable law(s). This personal information may be used to update and enhance any existing personal information that we currently hold or to provide access to membership services where this is arranged via your employer.

How we use your personal information

We may collect sensitive information (as defined in the 'The personal information we collect' section above) for equal opportunities monitoring purposes. We may also, where appropriate, collect sensitive information to provide appropriate facilities or support, for example, during an assessment process or at an event. If we intend to use sensitive personal information about you for any other purpose, we will make this clear at the time it is collected.

Your personal information may be collected and used to help us deliver our charitable activities, help us raise funds, manage and administer your membership or complete your request for products or services. Below are the main uses of your personal information, but this will depend on the nature of our relationship with you and how you interact with our various services, products, websites and activities.

Managing and administering your membership

We use the personal information you provide as a member to fulfil and service your membership and to provide guidance on career options, continuing professional development and professional standards. This includes sending to members by mail and/or email, renewal information, membership magazines, newsletters and handbooks, and information about our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elections to Council. We will also process your personal information if you have chosen to participate in any of our mentoring programmes, and to facilitate and support nations, branch and Special Interest Groups, committee and assessment panels and to provide access to online resources through your IOPConnect account. If you are a Chartered Physicist, Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, Engineering Technician, Chartered Scientist, Registered Scientist, or Registered Science Technician we will also hold your personal information (including your registration number and registration date) on the relevant register.

Communicating with you

Members – Membership

There are some communications that we need to send as part of your membership. These are essential to fulfil our agreement with you as a member. These will be sent by email where we are able to do so, and include:

  • Membership-related mailings such as renewal notices and reminders, changes and additions to membership services, notice of our AGM, calls for nominations to Council, notice of Council elections and our all-member newsletter;
  • Transaction messaging, such as responding to your questions and enquiries and sending invoices and payment receipts; and
  • Confirmation and additional information when you register for an event, attend a committee meeting or volunteer with us.

Members – Member Benefit Communications

In service of your membership, we provide you with benefits to provide guidance on career options, continuing professional development and professional standards, as well as details of our events and conferences. We will, therefore, email you communications that will ensure you are informed of these benefits and can take advantage of them. Full details of these can be found on IOPConnect. You may inform us that you do not wish to receive these communications by contacting us using the details in the ‘Manage your communications’ section below.

These may include communications relating to:

  • Nations, branches, and Special Interest Groups: newsletters, notice of relevant committee meetings, notice of elections;
  • Volunteering opportunities, events and conferences, calls for abstracts, award nominations and announcements, invitations to join our panels or to take part in market research on our member benefits and services, our social research, updates on our campaigns/policy positions, calls for speakers and contributions to policy/public consultations, and information about grants, bursaries and other funding opportunities;
  • News, announcements and opportunities from the wider physics community; and
  • Our accreditation programmes.

We will also send you a monthly copy of Physics World magazine in the post. If you wish to review your preferences on how you access Physics World magazine and its content, please contact [email protected].


There are some communications that we need to send. These are essential to fulfil our promises to you as a volunteer, donor or user of our services and products. Examples are:

  • Transaction messaging, such as responding to your questions and enquiries and sending invoices and payment receipts; and
  • Confirmation and additional information when you register for an event, attend a committee meeting or volunteer with us.

Marketing by post

Occasionally we will send you marketing information by post where we have decided that it is mutually beneficial to both you and us. Such information will be non-intrusive and is processed on the grounds of legitimate interests that reflect your involvement and interest in the IOP.

Marketing by email

Members – Where you have consented, we will send you email updates about supporting our campaigns, details of our fundraising activities and other additional products, services and activities which may be of interest to you.

Non-members – Where you have consented, we will send you email updates about our work, invitations to events and webinars, information about volunteering opportunities or other ways you can get involved in the work we do, competitions and surveys we may run from time to time, and other additional products, services and activities that may be of interest to you. You are free to withdraw this consent at any time.

Members and non-members – If you have provided us with information about your interest areas or location or, if you have purchased or used our products and/or services, we may use this information to tailor the content of our emails to you. We will not send you marketing emails if you have opted out of receiving them. Any marketing emails we send you will include an unsubscribe link at the end of the email.

Manage your communications

If you would like to stop receiving marketing or member benefit emails from us, you can let us know by:

  • clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link in any promotional emails you receive from us;
  • emailing us at [email protected] (please ensure you inform us if you would like to opt out from all email marketing and member benefit communications or just a particular update); or
  • phoning us on 020 7470 4800 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm BST/GMT).

Our emails may contain technological measures that may collect the data set out in the section headed ‘Personal information we collect at receipt and opening of emails or when you use our websites’ above. We may use this information for purposes such as determining how to improve our communications to users and which of our emails are more interesting to users.

Surveys, feedback and contests

From time-to-time we may request information from you via surveys, feedback questionnaires or contest entries. Participation is completely voluntary and you therefore have a choice whether to disclose any information requested. We process your response to any survey or feedback questionnaire you participate in for research, evaluation and statistical purposes including to improve our services and products and the functionality of this website. Where you have entered a contest, we will use your contact information to notify you if you win and, where this is the case, to award prizes.

Managing volunteers

We use your personal information to manage your volunteering, from the moment you enquire to the time you decide to stop volunteering with us. This could include: contacting you about a role or opportunity you’ve applied for or that we think you might be interested in, sending you materials you may need, providing training where appropriate, processing expense claims you’ve made and to recognise your contribution. It could also include information from local outreach teams about things happening where you volunteer and about your volunteering, including asking for your opinions on your volunteering experience.


We use your personal information when you register to attend an event or meeting arranged or sponsored by IOP. This may include sending you details of the event or meeting, to confirm your attendance or to request information about any dietary or access requirements to ensure that we provide appropriate facilities or support to enable you to participate in an event. We sometimes take photos at our events and will clearly signpost where this is the case. Images captured may be used on our website and in any other media when promoting our work.

Grants, bursaries and scholarships

We collect and use personal information provided by you when applying for a grant, bursary or scholarship through IOP. This could include: to assess your application, to notify you as to whether your application has been successful, to award funds and to support you in publicising your research to the wider physics community (where applicable to the scheme you have applied to).

Where you provide us with sensitive information such as your ethnicity or tell us about a disability, this information will only be used for equal opportunities monitoring and, where appropriate, to provide appropriate facilities or support, for example, during an assessment process or at an event. If we intend to use sensitive personal information about you for any other purpose, we will make this clear at the time it is collected.

Fundraising, donations and legacy pledges

If you make a donation, we’ll use any personal information you give us to record the nature and amount of your gift, claim gift aid where you’ve told us you’re eligible and thank you for your gift. If you interact or have a conversation with us, we’ll note anything relevant and store this securely on our systems.

If you’ve told us that you’re planning to, or thinking about, leaving us a gift in your will, we’ll use the information you give us to keep a record of this – including the purpose of your gift, if you let us know this. If we have a conversation or interaction with you (or with someone who contacts us in relation to your will, for example your solicitor), we’ll note these interactions throughout your relationship with us, as this helps to ensure your gift is directed as you wanted.

Charity Commission rules require us to be assured of the provenance of funds and any conditions attached to them. We follow a due diligence process which involves researching the financial soundness, credibility, reputation and ethical principles of donors who’ve made, or are likely to make, a significant donation to the IOP. As part of this process we’ll carry out research using publicly available information and professional resources. If this applies to you, we’ll remind you about the process when you make your donation.

Lawful reasons for processing

We will process your personal information for the purposes identified above on the following bases:

  • Our legitimate interests, which include, but are not limited to, processing your personal information for the purposes of providing and enhancing the provision of our products, services and information.
  • Where processing is necessary to perform our contract with you or to take steps before entering into a contract with you.
  • As necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes and enforce our contractual agreements.
  • Where you have consented to our use of your personal information for a specified purpose. Where this is the case, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.

Keeping your personal information

We will only use and store your information for as long as it is required for the purposes it was collected for. How long it will be stored for depends on the information in question, what it is being used for and, sometimes, statutory legal requirements. For example, we may store personal information after your membership with us to resolve any potential disputes and to comply with reporting and retention obligations.

Where we store your personal information

IOP operations are based in the UK and Ireland and we store most of our data within the United Kingdom or the European Union (EU). Some organisations which provide services to us may transfer data outside the United Kingdom or the European Economic Area but we’ll only allow this if your data is adequately protected. Some of our systems are provided by US companies, and whilst it is our policy that we prefer data hosting and processing to remain on UK-based or EU-based solutions, it may be that using their products results in data transfer to the US. However, we only allow this when we are certain it will be adequately protected (e.g. standard contractual clauses).

Who we share your personal information with

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which it was obtained. We will not, under any circumstances, sell or trade your personal information.

We may share your personal information with our subsidiaries (companies owned by IOP), where this will fulfil our commitment to you. For example, if you are an IOP member we will share your name and contact information with our subsidiary company, IOP Publishing Limited, so they can send you your membership magazine, Physics World, as well as to provide you with access to IOPscience content via your IOPConnect account.

We may use carefully selected companies to provide services on our behalf, including data hosting services, delivering postal mail, sending emails, analysing data and processing credit/debit card or direct debit payments. We will only provide those companies with the information they need to deliver the relevant service, and we make sure that your data is treated with the same level of care as if we were handling it directly.

We may disclose aggregate statistics about our members, volunteers, supporters, users of our products and services and visitors to our websites to describe our products, services and operations to prospective partners, advertisers and other reputable third parties and for other lawful purposes, but these statistics won’t include any personally identifying information.

We will not share your personal information with any third party for their own purposes unless we have made you aware of this at the time of collecting your personal information. For example, if we run an event in partnership with other named organisations, your details may need to be shared. We will be very clear what will happen to your data when you register.

We may also disclose your personal information to third parties if we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply our terms and conditions or other agreements, or to protect the rights, property, or safety of IOP, our members, supporters and visitors. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection.

Your rights in connection with your personal data

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the following rights in respect of the personal information we hold about you. For more information about these rights, or if you wish to exercise them, please contact us at [email protected].

Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a 'subject access request')

This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you. You will be asked to provide the following details:

  • the personal information you want to access
  • the nature of your relationship with IOP, for example if you are a member, a volunteer etc
  • the date range of the information you wish to access.

We may also need you to provide information that will help us confirm your identity. If we hold personal information about you, we will give you a copy of the information in an understandable format together with an explanation of why we hold and use it.

Once we have all the information necessary to respond to your request we’ll provide you the information within one month. This timeframe may be extended by up to two months if your request is particularly complex. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.

Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you

If the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate, or your personal information changes (such as your email address), IOP will correct, update or remove your personal information as appropriate, where we are notified by you. This can usually be done by you within any personalisation options of this website (where applicable), or by contacting us at [email protected].

Request erasure of your personal information

This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. Please note that whilst we will honour your request wherever possible, we may need to retain some personal information about you for example, where we are required to retain records to comply with our legal obligations.

Object to processing of your personal information

Where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on the basis of our legitimate interest. You also have the right to object, as described in the ‘communicating with you’ section of this notice, where we use your personal information for marketing purposes.

Request the restriction of processing of your personal information

This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.

Request the transfer of your personal information to another party

Whenever IOP processes your personal information, by automated means based on your consent or based on an agreement, you have the right to get a copy of your data transferred to you or to another party. This only includes the personal data you have submitted to us.

What to do if you’re not happy

In the first instance, please talk to us directly so we can resolve any problem or query. You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office if you have any questions about data protection.

How to contact us

If you wish to talk through anything in our privacy policy, find out more about your rights or wish to exercise them, please contact our Data Protection Officer who will be happy to help:

  • by post: Data Protection Officer, IOP, 37 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9BU 
  • by email: [email protected].

Representative in the European Economic Area and Turkey

We value your privacy and your rights as a data subject and have therefore appointed Prighter Group with its local partners as our privacy representative and your point of contact.

Prighter gives you an easy way to exercise your privacy-related rights (e.g., requests to access or erase personal data). If you want to contact us via our representative Prighter or make use of your data subject rights, please visit the Prighter website.

Cookie policy

This website may place small text files, called cookies, on your computer to distinguish you from other users of this website. These cookies monitor how you use this website so that we can make improvements, and are also used to give you the best user experience (for example by remembering your login details so that you do not have to enter them each time). Some cookies may also be placed by third parties, for example Facebook and Google, if you use their services via this website to monitor how you use their services and to target relevant advertising to you when you visit other websites on which they advertise.

You have a choice…

You have a choice as to whether or not you want to accept these useful cookies. Cookies are, by default, accepted by around 99% of web browsers, but you have the ability to change this within your browser settings. If you change the cookie settings you’re likely to experience a more reduced user experience and reduced functionality on many websites. More information about cookies and details on how to remove them is available.

What cookies do we use?

The cookies that we use on our website in most cases collect anonymous information in order to optimise our services.

What cookies may be placed?

This website may use the following types of cookies:

Strictly necessary cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Analytical/performance cookies

Google analytics

This cookie allows us to see data on things like the number of users visiting our site and the browsing behaviour of those visitors. This type of data will let us understand which parts of our site get the most users and traffic and which parts of the website are underperforming. All of the information gathered is completely depersonalised and will never be tracked back to individuals.

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visits to this website and to see how visitors move around this website when they are using it, so that we can improve how this website works. These cookies do not collect personally identifiable information. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.


To understand our website users’ needs and to enhance and improve website experiences, we use a technology service called Hotjar.

Hotjar uses cookies and other technologies to collect data on our website users’ behaviour and their devices. This includes the device's IP address (processed during a session and stored in a de-identified form), device screen size, device type (unique device identifiers), browser information, geographic location (country only), and the preferred language used to display our website. Hotjar stores this information on our behalf in a pseudonymised user profile. Hotjar is contractually forbidden to sell any of the data collected on our behalf. For further details, please see the ‘about Hotjar’ section of Hotjar’s support site

If you do not allow performance cookies, we will not know when you have visited our websites and will not be able to monitor the websites’ performance.

Functional cookies

Google AdWords

We use the code provided by Google AdWords to better track how successful (or not so successful) our advertising through the AdWords platforms has been which allows us to better understand what our users want. For example, we are able to see from which one of our adverts you clicked on and from which campaign you downloaded one of our PDF’s or became a new member.

Acquia Lift

Our website uses this personalisation service for identifying the interests, preferences and behaviour of web visitors. No personally identifying information is stored. The personalisation service uses cookies to identify returning visitors. IP addresses may be stored and processed, but are shortened and stored in an anonymized form.

These cookies enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalisation. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

Tailored cookies

These cookies may be set by us or third parties and record your visit to our site, the pages you have visited, your progress in completing any forms on our site and the links you have followed. They may be used to build a profile of your interests and/or to show you relevant adverts on other sites and we may share this information with third parties for this purpose. For example, if you leave our site and continue your journey elsewhere ads may appear on such websites from us which are tailored to you. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies you will experience less targeted advertising.

IOP is not responsible for the use of cookies by third parties and users are encouraged to read the privacy statements of those third party service providers before using their services.

Social shares

All of the social sharing features on our website set their own cookies (eg Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube) so that we can track the social engagement.

Changing cookie preferences

We have made changing your cookie preferences very easy; there is a cookie settings link in the footer of every page of this website. Click the link to change your cookie preferences with ease at any time. You will not be able to opt out of strictly necessary cookies.


This website may contain links to third party websites and services that are not under our control. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of these third-party websites and services.

Last edited: 29 June 2023