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, so you must be studying at least one related subject.
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.
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. For some examples of previous projects, click here.
Projects run for 4-6 weeks and take place during the summer holidays.
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.
Your placement won't cost you anything. If you have to pay to travel to your placement then you’ll get that money back. And depending on your family circumstances, you may be eligible to receive a payment of £80 for each week of the placement. Your local coordinator will tell you whether you are eligible.
Your placement will teach you a lot about your chosen subject and about the world of work. Talking about your placement will help with university and job applications, and may help you decide what career you want to go into.
- Step 1: Have a look through this section of our website.
Read the leaflet from your Regional Co-ordinator carefully, think about the possible benefits to you and decide whether or not you would like to apply for a placement.
- 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. Ask for a copy of the application form.
- Step 4: Get in touch with your Regional Coordinator
The coordinator will be able to talk you through the application process and the sort of project you might do.
- Step 5: Prepare your application
Fill in the form describing why you are interested in the placement and why you are the right person for it.
- Submit your application through your school
Pass the form to your teacher who will complete the final part and send it to your Regional Co-ordinator.
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.
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.
The deadlines vary from region to region. The Regional Co-ordinators are responsible for setting the deadlines and you will need to contact your nearest one to find out. Click here to see a list of deadlines in different regions.
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 futher details.
Separate guidance notes on Health and Safety and Insurance are available from Regional Co-ordinators. 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.