What is a Nuffield Research Placement?
Summer holidays after Year 12 (England, Wales & Northern Ireland) or S5 (Scotland)
4 – 6 weeks
A well-supervised but independent research project relating to an area of science, quantitative social science, computing, technology, engineering or maths (or a combination!)
Placements take place in a variety of locations including offices, museums, research centres, laboratories or
Students can take part in a placement at no cost. Travel costs are reimbursed and students may be eligible to receive a £100 bursary each week.
To be eligible, students must:
- Be over 16 years old and in Year 12 or S5.
- Be in full-time state-funded education in the UK.
- Have at least 5 GCSEs at Level 6 or above OR Scottish Nationals at Level B 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, psychology, computing, statistics or maths.
- Be available for 4-6 weeks of their summer holiday.
Students must also meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be living, or have lived in, local authority care.
- Come from a family with a combined household income of below £30,000 a year, or be entitled to free school meals, either now or at any time in the last 6 years.
- Be the first in their immediate family to participate in higher education (not including any older siblings).
This means neither of their parents/carers have participated in higher education, either in the UK or another country. If their siblings have attended higher education, but their parents/carers have not, they are still eligible.
Advice for student applicants
We strongly recommend that students read our Guide for applicants before completing an application. This provides important information on how to write a good personal statement and other tips relevant to the application process.
Advice for student participants
We recommend that students read our Guide for Participants before your placement begins. This includes information about preparing for your placement and writing your placement report.
Taking part in a Nuffield Research Placement inspires and motivates students.
Nuffield Research Placements are a fantastic way to encourage your students to learn more about a career in STEM research and an independent evaluation has shown them to increase access to university courses in STEM subjects. There is no financial cost to you or your school and in addition to the benefits for your students, getting involved with Nuffield Research Placements will raise the profile of your school in your local community. It will enable you to forge links with researchers in your area, in universities, industry and the voluntary sector.
Every pupil who has taken part in the scheme has benefited from increased confidence and general experience. It has usually improved motivation during their final year at school and they have all achieved admission to their preferred University courses.Lynn Friedrichsen, Principal Teacher Faculty, Dumfries Academy
Our students benefit from this experience tremendously, especially as many of them are identified as coming from areas of social deprivation.Lila Obuchowicz, Senior Tutor and Aimhigher Coordinator Science, Leyton Sixth form College
Get your students involved
Use our eligibility tool to identify students that may be suitable and recommend they apply. We recently updated our eligibility criteria to focus on students that are financially disadvantaged so please keep this in mind. As a result, some students may also be eligible for additional support via a bursary.
As part of their application, students will nominate a teacher to provide a short reference. Let them know that you are happy to provide a reference and improve their chances of success.
If you have any questions you can contact your regional coordinator for further information.
You can download our school poster to help promote the programme.
Inspire young people to gain STEM skills through research by hosting a Nuffield Research Placement.
Think back to when you were seventeen. What did you know about research as a career? How did you get where you are today? It’s likely there were key individuals and experiences that motivated and inspired you, and it’s those experiences that we want to give to young people through our Nuffield Research Placements.
Nuffield Research Placements give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain skills and confidence in science and research. They are provided by the Nuffield Foundation as part of its mission to improve social well-being and educational opportunity across the UK and an independent evaluation has shown them to increase access to university courses in STEM subjects. We currently work with a wide range of organisations, including universities and research institutes, local government and public sector agencies, tech and pharmaceutical companies, think tanks and market research agencies to deliver these placements.
Some of these organisations employ thousands of people, and some have a single-figure headcount. What they all have in common is a research and development project in need of some attention and a commitment to sharing their passion for their business with young people from their local area.
What’s involved in hosting a placement?
4 – 6 weeks during July/August
A well-supervised but independent research project suitable for a 16/17 year-old. Projects must have broadly scientific, quantitative or technical content, but they don’t have to be based in a laboratory. They might be office-based or include a lot of fieldwork, or they might focus on engineering, data analysis or computer science.
Nuffield Research Placements are administered by a network of regional coordinators across the UK. Your Nuffield coordinator will select students who are suitable for your project and will support them throughout the process. The first step is to have a conversation with your local Nuffield coordinator, who will tell you all you need to know about hosting a student.
Benefits of hosting a student
Support young people and diversify your workforce.
Our aim is to widen access to science and research education and careers. This means that all Nuffield students are from families with below average income, who have spent time in local authority care, or who will be the first in their family to go to university, or a combination of these.
Provide your staff with opportunities to apply and develop their coaching, mentoring and management skills.
Early career researchers who supervise students find the experience beneficial to their academic career, as well as providing extra help with data collection and analysis, and giving them teaching and management experience.
Students are bright, capable and can complete a variety of tasks including data analysis, scoping and experimental design.
Our programme is highly competitive, and all our students have great GCSE (or equivalent) results, are aiming to go on to university, and have demonstrated enthusiasm and commitment to working on a research project.
Fulfil your public engagement, widening participation and corporate and social responsibility goals.
Forge strong links with schools and colleges in your local area.
Work with talented students who could become future employees.
Become a host
You might also be interested in hosting a Q-Step placement student.
How to get involved
More placements are provided to students from low-income backgrounds, so you may wish to check whether your son or daughter fulfils those requirements before supporting their application.
If your child is eligible, encourage them to find and contact their regional coordinator. Your son or daughter’s coordinator is responsible for matching them to a placement.
An independent evaluation of Nuffield Research Placements shows they increase access to university courses in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Please be aware, competition for the programme is high and no applicant is guaranteed a place. We recommend that all students read our Guide for Applicants before submitting their application and Guide for Participants before they start their placement.