Providing Nuffield Research Placements at the Environment Agency | Case study

By Nuffield Foundation

Viviana Levy’s experience providing Nuffield Research Placements at the Environment Agency


Nuffield Research Placement provider, 2019
Environment Agency, Cornwall
Using economics to tackle environmental problems in the public sector.


How many years has your organisation offered placements to Nuffield students?

This is the first year we offered placements at our Tolgus site in Cornwall, but our Bristol site has been providing placements for a number of years.

What motivated you to supervise a school student through the Nuffield Research Placements scheme?

Encouraging groups of students that might not have considered going to university. The placement is also an opportunity to support my own career goals of lecturing.

What are the main benefits to you and your organisation when taking on a Nuffield student?

Taking on Nuffield students is very useful in supporting my long-term ambitions to become a university lecturer.

Meeting some great young people makes me confident our future is in safe hands.  I was also able to engage with parts of the business that I would not normally have the opportunity to engage with.  I personally learnt a great deal about how to structure a placement, which will be useful in the future, especially if we are able to get University level summer placements. This has given me an insight to the preparation that will be required to make it truly useful for both students and the Environment Agency. 

Meeting some great young people has given me confidence that our future is in safe hands.” Viviana Levy, placement provider

What are the main benefits for students when taking part in the scheme?

Primarily, work experience. Students can learn about interesting sites like the long rock flood descents, mining waste site, sewage site and the head office at Bristol which helps broaden their perspective of working at the Environmental Agency or similar organisations. The placements help them connect the different areas of the business, problem solve, develop their independence and understand the reality of economic rules which can’t always be applied as they may have thought beforehand.

Would you recommend the scheme to others?

Yes! The students were great, very polite and engaged.

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We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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