Student FAQs

1. What type of subjects do I need to be studying to apply?

2. What happens if I am awarded a Nuffield Research Placement?

3. What sort of projects could I work on?

4. How long will the project last?

5. Where will the placement be?

6. Will I get paid?

7. How will the placement benefit me?

8. How do I apply?

9. What makes a good project?

10. What might I do to make the most of the placement?

11. What is the deadline for applications?

12. What is a Gold CREST Award?

13. What about health, safety and insurance?

14. Can I apply if I go to an independent school?

15. Can I apply if I go to a boarding school?

1. What type of subjects do I need to be studying to apply?

You need to be in your first year of A-levels, AS-levels, BTEC, Scottish Highers, or the International Baccalaureate. Placements are available in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths including social science, data science (statistics) and Psychology. You must be studying at least one related subject.

Back to top ^

2. What happens if I am successful in my application for a Nuffield Research Placement?

Firstly, you will hear from your regional coordinator that your application has been successful. You will then be matched to a placement and attend an induction event where you can meet other students who are taking part in the programme and learn more about the project. When you start your placement, you will work with a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician who will be your supervisor. Your supervisor will explain what the project involves, what contribution your work will make and what you might aim for. He or she will teach you any new techniques that you might need, but the idea is that you learn by doing things for yourself.

Back to top ^

3. What sort of projects could I work on?

Past projects have involved asteroids, lasers, bottlenose dolphins and everything in between. If you’re interested in it, we’ll do our best to find you a project. And if you’re not sure what you’re interested in, we’ll help you find out. The more open-minded you are, and the more flexible you are on the subject you will work on, the more likely you are to be matched to a placement. For some examples of previous projects, click here.

Back to top ^

4. How long will the project last?

Projects usually last for four weeks but can be between 4 and 6 weeks long, taking place in the summer holidays. Before you apply, you should check that you will be available for a minimium of 4 consecutive weeks during the school summer holiday period. In a some cirumstances, students may be able to undertake one week of the project in the Easter holidays. Please check with your coordinator about whether this is possible for your project but be aware that this is not always possible to accommodate this. 

Back to top ^

5. Where will the placement be?

Projects take place in universities, research institutes and companies. Your local coordinator will do their best to find a placement close to where you live, provided you do not go to a boarding school. For students who board at their school, please seek further information.

Back to top ^

6. Will I get paid?

Your placement won't cost you anything. If you have to pay to travel to your placement, you will get that money back up to a maximum of £300. Depending on your family circumstances, you may be eligibile to receive a payment of £110 for each week that you are on the placement. 

Back to top ^

7. How will the placement benefit me?

Your placement will teach you many skills, some of which may be directly relevant to your future career, for example scientific understanding, research skills and report writing skills. Other benefits of the placement are more general, such as your ability to work independently and an improvement in your communication and organisational skills. Talking about your placement will help with university and job applications, and may help you decide what career you want to go into.

Back to top ^

8. How do I apply?

  • Step 1: Have a look through this section of our website.

Read all information about the programme and think about the possible benefits to you. Check your eligibility and speak to your parents about whether you are eligible for a bursary, or the first in your family to attend university. You will only be able to apply if you fulfil one of our eligibilty criteria, so check this first before starting an application!

  • Step 2: Check at home

Make sure that you will be able to set aside 4 – 6 weeks in July and August for a placement without clashing with holidays or other arrangements. You should assume that it will be impossible to fit in a holiday during a project.

  • Step 3: Talk to your teacher 

Tell your teacher you are interested in applying. Think about what subjects you are interested in and the types of research project you might like to do. Be open-minded and consider lots of different subject areas that interest you. Most students do not get their first choice of subject, so the more willing you are to try different subject areas, the more likely you are to be accepted on a placement. 

  • Step 4: Get in touch with your Regional Coordinator if you have specific questions

The coordinator will be able to talk you through the application process and the sort of project you might do. If you need further information or advice then you can speak with your local Coordinator.

  • Step 5: Prepare and submit your online application

Complete the online application form: describe why you are interested in the programme and how you would benefit from a placement. Don't forget to provide the full name and email address for the teacher who will be writing your reference. Once you have given a valid email address, your teacher should receive an automated message from the system which invites them to login and complete your reference. You will also be asked to download a consent form which needs to be filled in and signed by your parent/guardian. The completed form should be scanned, or photographed on your phone, and the image file uploaded in the 'Step 6 Consent' section of your online application. In order to be considered for a placement, you must ensure that all sections of the online form have been completed, including uploading the consent form, and the teacher reference has been written. Once everything is in place, you should notice that the status of your application changes to 'Complete' when you login to your account.

Back to top ^

9. What makes a good project?

A project should allow you scope to use your initiative. The criteria for selecting projects are that they should:

  • have clear scientific or technological content;

  • contribute to the work of the host organisation;

  • be well defined, having a clear outcome in mind from the beginning; 

  • give students a chance to work alongside practising scientists; 

  • allow scope for initiative on the part of the student.

Back to top ^

10. What might I do to make the most of the placement?

You may be able to exploit the knowledge and skills from your placement when you get back into school. For example you could use your report as evidence to add to a key skills portfolio. You may also have results that could feed into your coursework. You will certainly have something interesting to talk about at a job or University interview.

You can consider:

  • writing an article for the school newsletter or local newspaper;
  • talking to other post-16 students;
  • taking part of a lesson linked to your project; talk to the school science club;
  • giving a presentation to pupils in KS4, KS3 or a local primary school;
  • giving a presentation to parents during a school open evening.

Every year some students exhibit their projects at the BA CREST Science Fair held at the Royal Society in London. In many years some students have won awards which have then taken them to international science fairs.

Back to top ^

11. What is the deadline for applications?

The deadlines vary from region to region. The Regional Coordinators are responsible for setting the deadlines and you will need to contact your nearest one to find out. Find out the deadlines in different regions.

Back to top ^

12. What is a Gold CREST Award?

You may choose to working towards a Gold CREST (CREativity in Science and Technology) Award while on your placement. This is a nationally recognised scheme to reward Science & Technology project work. To achieve a Gold CREST award you must work on a project for 100 hours at a high level of science. Nuffield Research Placements usually fulfill the criteria and so you are encouraged to submit your work for an award.

See The British Science Association website for further details.

Back to top ^

13. What about health, safety and insurance?

Separate guidance notes on Health and Safety and Insurance are available from Regional Coordinators. When you complete the Registration Form you will be asked to indicate that you are fully aware of Insurance and Health and Safety issues including appropriate risk assessments.

Back to top ^

14. Can I apply if I go to an independent school?

From 2018-2019 students from independent schools are no longer eligible to apply. See what other schemes you can get involved in.  

15. Can I apply if I go to a boarding school?

If you board during school term time at a state-maintained boarding school, see below for our policy:

  • students must apply through the region that their school is registered in
  • students must enter their home address as the address they reside at outside of school time and not their school
  • students must inform the coordinator of their school’s region via email on completion of their application

If the student is successfully shortlisted for a placement our coordinator will then have a discussion with the student about the viability of doing a placement in the region of their school. If this is not possible we look to accommodate the student as best possible but nothing can be guaranteed.

The Nuffield Foundation is unable to organise or cover the costs of accommodation for students during their placements. We would recommend that students approach their school for support.

Our coordinators work closely with all schools and colleges in their region to develop long lasting relationships and work with teachers in these institutions to promote Nuffield Research Placements to their students.

Back to top ^

Also on the web

Register a new application or login to your existing account through the online application system