IMR emphasizes the establishment of cooperative relationships and partnerships with scientific research institutes and organizations in materials science and engineering both at home and abroad. More than 300 scientists and scholars visit IMR for academic activities annually. Since 2000, more than 70 international cooperation agreements and memoranda with foreign research organizations, universities, and companies have been signed, including mutual exchanges of research fellows and the joint training of Ph.D. students. IMR assumes many research projects and tasks commissioned by multi-national corporations from Germany, France, and the United States. Meanwhile, scientific and technological cooperation with foreign partners is developing fast. Two outstanding overseas teams were established in 2001-2008. There are also many international exchange and cooperation platforms in IMR. For example, the first Max Planck youth research group of CAS was founded in IMR in 1999, and the Chinese-Danish Center for Nanometals was founded in 2009.
As a sponsor and host, IMR frequently organizes international academic conferences and bilateral seminars, such as the 4th World Materials Research Institute Forum. Many outstanding scientists at IMR are active in the international arena. There are 15 IMR scientists who hold positions in 23 international academic organizations, and 25 scientists hold positions as editors or associate editors in several international journals. Some IMR scientists have won international awards and honors. Prof. Jingyang Wang won the Global Star Award of the Engineering Ceramics Division, American Ceramics Society, in 2012. Prof. Ke Lu won the Humboldt Research Award in 2011. Prof. Huiming Cheng won the Charles E. Pettinos Award, American Carbon Society, in 2010.