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Opening the door to STEM research: the value of Nuffield Research Placements

Published: Feb 21, 2022 3 min read

STEM learning

For over 25 years Nuffield Research Placements (NRP) have matched thousands of students to thought provoking research projects. By taking part in the Nuffield Research Placements programme, high attaining year 12 (or equivalent) students have the opportunity to carry out STEM research in a professional setting. 

1,001 students started their placements in the summer of 2021, collaborating with professionals from 190 industry leading organisations who volunteered their time to provide placements. For the upcoming 2022 cohort, Balfour Beatty, Education Policy Institute and UCL are just some of the organisations that have already agreed to host NRP students this summer. 
Whether young people want to pursue further education, enter industry, or even start a business, undertaking a placement helps them develop a range of skills that can assist with any of these avenues. Nuffield Research Placements aim to change the face of STEM and help tackle the STEM skills gap by injecting more diversity into the industry. 

We surveyed students, placement providers, and teachers to investigate the success of the most recent cycle, with encouraging results - here are some of the findings from this recent  evaluation:

“I was a real researcher carrying out valuable research. I was able to do so many new things and widen my knowledge of topics I had previous knowledge of.”

Students gave glowing feedback - 94% were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience, with a similar percentage (93%) saying that they would recommend it to other students. Students also spoke highly of their placement providers, as over 90% agreed that their placement provider was knowledgeable, supportive throughout, and contactable when students needed them. 

Getting involved with Nuffield Research Placements also helped young people on their higher education and/or career pathway - 98% of the previous year’s cohort found that their experience had supported their higher education or job applications.

“It allowed me to engage with science in a way different to school. It was really independent but also supportive.”

Students were not the only ones with good things to say about the programme. All teachers surveyed said they would recommend Nuffield Research Placements to future students, and 95% of placement providers would recommend Nuffield Research Placements to others. Teachers noticed positive changes in students who undertook a placement, with 96% reporting that returning students’ self confidence had improved. Meanwhile, 91% of providers saw developments in students’ abilities to interpret and report research findings.

“My work placement was incredible. It provided me with all the information I needed but also everyone I met was very helpful and friendly, and eager to help. The atmosphere of the placement was enjoyable. I really felt like a part of their team.”

In light of the feedback provided, the 2020/21 Nuffield Research Placements cycle has been highly successful. Students have developed both personally and professionally, standing them in good stead for A levels and beyond.

“I learned how to persevere and keep myself motivated. I felt proud of my work and the end result.”

Applications for the 2022 Nuffield Research Placements close at the end of March.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support your students – encourage them to apply now

For employers interested in offering a placement, find out more here.

Read the full evaluation report here.