What is a Nuffield Research Placement? 

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.

As part of their application, students need a short reference from their teacher. Students make their applications online, and you will receive an email notification asking you to provide a reference. Each region has a Nuffield Coordinator who will be first point of contact for your students and provide all necessary support through both the application and placement.

If a student is successful, they will be allocated a placement by the Nuffield Coordinator, which they will undertake in the summer holidays after Year 12 or S5. Students 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.

We reimburse travel costs for all students, and depending on students’ family circumstances, they may also be eligible to receive a bursary of £100 for each week of their placement. There is no financial cost to you or your school.

We have changed the eligibility criteria for 2018 applications to focus on students who are relatively disadvantaged. Please check our criteria carefully before encouraging students to apply.

Which of my students is eligible to apply for a Nuffield Resarch Placement? 

Before encouraging your students to apply, please read the following eligibility criteria carefully as these are different to previous years. To be eligible to apply for a Nuffield Research Placement, 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 (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, psychology, computing, statistics or maths.
  • Be able to spend several weeks of their summer holiday working on a research project.

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 schools meals, either now or at any time in the last six 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 eligible.
Why should students take part? 

Undertaking a Nuffield Research Placement will inspire and motivate your students. It will help give them the skills and confidence they need to get a place at a top university.

"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

The experience can be particularly valuable for students who are the first in family to attend university, or who come from low income households, and we therefore prioritise these students. See our eligibiltiy criteria for more details.  

"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


How to get involved

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.

All you need to do is tell your students about the programme, and write a short reference for each one who applies. There is no financial cost to you or your school.

You can download a school poster to help you promote the programme or request hard copies by contacting nrp@nuffieldfoundation.org. We are currently updating our information leaflet for 2018-2019 applicants. Please contact the relevant regional coordinator for any further information. 

See also

Download our guide to the online system to help assist you in providing a reference for your student. 

Find out how to contact your regional coordinator for more information on our Nuffield Research Placements.

Download our student leaflet and promotional poster for display in your school or college.