The Nuffield Research Placement Scheme is aimed at the current 5th year pupils who will be sitting their Highers in 2021 and who are studying any Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Maths (STEM) and Social Science/Humanities subjects at that level. The placements help increase confidence and improve key skills including practical, communication, report-writing and presentation skills. Placements also provide students with excellent experiences & skills to include on CV’s and personal statements. By working with professional scientists and engineers in a real-life environment, the students gain an invaluable insight into a wide variety of careers.
The scheme, now managed by STEM Learning, aims to widen access and priorities are being placed on students eligible for the bursary, this means the charitable funding is targeted where it will have the greatest benefit.
In 2020 although we did not have face-to-face placements we did still offer all students who had successfully applied virtual/online projects with supervisors and complimented these with research skills building modules (62 students in Scotland successfully completed projects). This year we are going for a blended approach and we are hoping to have face-to-face projects where possible (2-3 weeks, possibly staggered over a longer period), or if needed again virtual/online projects only, where government guidance and individual institutions and organisations policies allow or restrict. We will be implementing the research skills modules again and hope to roll these out to all successful applicants, even if they do not receive a project offer, and boost this with other skills opportunities, so most applicants will now benefit.
To be eligible to apply for a Nuffield Research Placement, students must:
- Be over 16 years old
- Be in full-time state-funded education in the UK
- Have at least 5 National 5 / GCSEs (or equivalent) at Level B / 6 or above, including maths, a science subject and English (or another humanities subject)
- Be studying one or more Scottish Higher, A-level (or equivalent) in science, technology, engineering, economics, geography, psychology, computing, statistics or maths
- Be able to spend several weeks (4-6) of their summer holiday working on research modules and the research project
Students must also meet at least ONE of the following criteria:
- Come from a family with a combined household income of below £30,000 a year
- Be entitled to free school meals, either now or at any time in the last six years.
- Be living, or have lived in, local authority care
There is an eligibility tool for students too, in case they wish to find out before applying: https://www.stem.org.uk/nuffield-placement-tool
Summary of the process:
- Students apply by completing an online application: https://www.nuffieldresearchplacements.org/
- When registering, students insert an email address of the teacher who is to provide them with a reference. The system automatically generates an email to that teacher to allow them to add reference.
- After the closing date, (March 31st 2021) applications will be scored, matched to placement projects available/suitable (where possible) and the appropriate applications will be forwarded to various supervisors for their consideration.
- If successful matched and accepted to a project by the supervisor, the student is then offered the project.
- Placements normally take place at the end of June, July or early August. The student will normally be working Mon-Fri (9am-5pm) for 4, 5 or 6 weeks. Students should therefore be made aware that is quite a big commitment.
- All students will receive reasonable travel costs to and from their placement. Project students who are eligible for bursary will receive an additional £200 per placement.
- Successful students are required to submit a report at the end of their placement and are invited to a celebration event (either in-person or virtual, depending on government guidance and restrictions).
PLEASE NOTE – an application does NOT guarantee a Nuffield placement, however all applications are treated fairly and considered.
More information on the Nuffield Research Placements scheme can be found at https://www.stem.org.uk/nuffield-research-placements