Student applicants



Spend your summer holiday developing your research and quantitative skills on a project that will enhance your university application and career prospects.

Nuffield Research Placements take place in your summer holidays after Year 12 (England) or equivalent. Successful applicants will work on a research project that relates to an area of science, quantitative social science, computing, technology, engineering or maths (or a combination of these). Most projects are based in an office, but some include working in a laboratory or fieldwork. The programme is highly competitive, and not all applications will be successful. We have strict application criteria so check if you are eligible before submitting an application. 

Find out more information about Nuffield Research Placements and why you should apply


In order to apply for a Nuffield Research Placement you must:

  • Be over 16 years old and in Year 12 (or equivalent).

  • Be in full-time, state-funded education in the UK.

  • Have at least 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at Level 6 or above, including maths, a science subject and English (or another humanities subject).

  • Be studying one or more A-level, Scottish Higher (or equivalent) in science, technology, engineering, economics, geography, geology, psychology, computing, statistics or maths.

  • Be able to spend four weeks of your summer holiday working on a research project.

You must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Your family has a combined household income of below £30,000 a year.

  • You are entitled to free schools meals, either now or at any time in the last six years.

  • You live, or have lived, in local authority care.

  • You will be the first in your immediate family to participate in higher education (not including any older siblings). This means neither of your parents/carers has participated in higher education, either in the UK or another country. If your siblings have attended higher education, but your parents/carers have not, you are still eligible.

Before you apply, we recommend that you speak with a teacher and your parent/guardian to discuss whether you are eligible for the programme. 


You may be eligible to receive a bursary if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Are eligible for, or in receipt of, Free School Meals, or have been in the last six years

  • Are receiving discretionary payments at school or college (this does not apply to academic scholarships at independent schools).

  • Have a total household income below £30,000 (before tax).

  • Are living in, or have lived in, local authority care.

First in family

This refers to you if your parents/guardian did not attend University or Higher Education (including institutions outside the UK). If your siblings have attended University or Higher Education (but your parents/guardian have not) you are still eligible to apply. 

If you are eligible to apply for the programme, read on to find out more about what it involves. 

What is a Nuffield Placement? 

Nuffield Research Placements take place in your summer holidays after Year 12 or S5. You will work for 4-6 weeks on a project that relates to an area of science, quantitative social science, computing, technology, engineering or maths (or a combination of these). Most projects are based in an office, but some include working in a laboratory or fieldwork.

Placements are typically between 4-6 weeks in length and are available in your local area. Your placement might be in a university, research institute, company or voluntary organisation. You will work alongside professional researchers on a project that is an important part of their business.

Your placement will not cost you or your parents/carers anything. We reimburse travel costs for all students, and depending on your family circumstances, you may also be eligible to receive a bursary of £100 for each week of your placement.

What are the benefits of doing a Nuffield Research Placement? 

Your Nuffield Research Placement will be some of the best weeks of your life so far. You will apply skills and knowledge that you’ve learned at school AND learn so much more from your expert supervisor. The benefits will continue long past the end of the placement.

Nuffield Research Placements are highly valued by universities. UCAS recommends including your Nuffield Research Placement in your personal statement. It doesn’t matter if your project is not directly related to what you want to study – admissions tutors will still recognise it as valuable.

You will get the chance to work alongside researchers and industry professionals and can find out about possible higher education and career paths.

You will write a project report, which you can enter for a Gold CREST Award. You can also enter your project in the Big Bang Competition. On completing your placement you will attend a local celebration event, where you will receive a certificate, and have the opportunity to present a poster of your work to other students, parents/carers and industry professionals.

You are eligible to join Nuffield Research Placement’s Alumni Network once you have completed a placement. Some students may even become a project provider themselves further down the line!

Who will be successful?

We strongly recommend that students who fulfil the above criteria apply. As our placement programme is highly competitive and each year we have more applications than there are places to offer, we cannot guarantee you a placement. Please also be aware that more placements are offered to those students from low-income backgrounds and a smaller number of placements are offered to students who are the First in Family to attend University. 

In assessing your application, your regional coordinator will also consider the quality of your personal statement and your teacher reference. We will also consider whether you have participated in other enrichment programmes as part of our application criteria. If you are unsure if you are eligible to apply, please contact your regional coordinator for more information. 

How do I apply? 

Applications are made via an online application process. Applications will open for 2020 Nuffield Research Placements on Monday 14 October 2019.

You may find it useful to read our guide to the application process before starting your application.  

If you have any questions, see our Student FAQs.

Charlotte at Royal Holloway

See also

Check your eligibility before submitting an application.

Have a look at our case studies to find out what types of project are available.

Find out about British Science Association CREST awards.

Look at our students' journal articles and NRPs in the media.

Also on the web

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