Nuffield Research Placements

Nuffield Research Placements are engaging, real-life research projects, where year 12, or equivalent, students have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution towards the work of a host organisation.
They are a fantastic opportunity for students to apply skills and knowledge learned at school and work alongside researchers and industry professionals to:
  • Develop subject understanding alongside research and quantitative skills to expand career prospects
  • Learn more about higher education and different career paths
  • Enhance UCAS personal statements and applications to university
Nuffield Research Placements are funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Applications are now open for 2021 

Students can find our more and start the application process below. Please check your eligibility using the eligibility tool to begin your application.
If you are an employer interested in hosting a placement, find out more below or apply here.


  • 960 students successfully placed in 2019

  • 175 organisations offered to host a placement in 2019

  • 100% of students are from low-income backgrounds or are first in their family to attend university


To be eligible, students must meet all of the following criteria:
  • 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 a few consecutive weeks over July and/or August to collaborate with your Project Supervisor.

Use our handy tool to find out if you're eligible and start the application process:





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 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.

If you have already confirmed your eligibility, you can apply here.
If you'd like some help, please contact your regional coordinator.
  • For students and parents/guardians
  • For teachers
  • For employers

What is a Nuffield Research Placement?


Summer holidays after Year 12 (England, Wales & Northern Ireland) or S5 (Scotland).

How long?

4 - 6 weeks, which includes some independent study ahead of the real-world research collaboration activities.


A well-supervised but independent research project relating to an area of science, quantitative social science, computing, technology, engineering or maths - or a combination!


Students can take part in a placement at no cost. Travel costs are reimbursed and students may be eligible to receive a £200 bursary.


Placements take place in a variety of locations including offices, museums, research centres, laboratories or fieldwork settings.*
  • * Due to the impact of COVID-19 and Government guidance, and subject to the limitations of the placement host organisation, the real-world research collaboration with a Project Supervisor may not be able to go ahead on-site. In the event that on-site research is not possible, this activity will continue online instead.

Advice for applicants and participants

We strongly recommend that students read our guide for applicants before completing an application and, if successful, before your placement begins.
The guide for applicants provides important information on how to write a good personal statement and other tips relevant to the application process.
If you would like to start the application process, please first check your eligibility using the eligibility tool above. Once your eligibility is confirmed you will be directed to apply. If you have already confirmed your eligibility, visit the application site here:

Apply for a placement


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 have been shown 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.

Teacher testimonials

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

  1. Take a look at the eligibility checklist above 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.

  2. 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.
  3. If you have any questions you can contact your regional coordinator for further information.

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, who have received free school meals, lived in local authority care or are first in their family to attend university, the opportunity to gain skills and confidence in science and research. They have also been shown 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, which includes some independent study for the students ahead of the 2-3 week real-world research collaboration activities with their Project Supervisor.


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 coordinator, who will tell you all you need to know about hosting a student.
  • *Due to the impact of COVID-19 and Government guidance and in respect of the limitations of the placement host organisation, on-site or fieldwork activities may not be able to go ahead. In the event that on-site research is not possible, this activity will be required to go ahead online instead.

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.

Forge strong links with schools and colleges in your local area
Work with talented students who could become future employees.
Fulfil your public engagement, widening participation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals

Become a host

If you are interested in becoming a host please contact your regional coordinator to find out more, or apply here:

Application and programme timetable

Use this timetable as a guide but remember that application deadlines may vary depending on region. You can also find your regional coordinator and information specific to your region below.



From Nov 2020

Check your eligibility online
Use our handy tool to check if you're eligible to apply.

Check at home
Talk to your parents/guardians about your interest in a Nuffield Research Placement and check you are able to set aside a few consecutive weeks over July and/or August to collaborate with your Project Supervisor.

Talk to your teacher
Tell your teacher you are interested in applying and ask if they can write a reference for you.

Contact your Nuffield Regional Coordinator
Get in touch so they can confirm your eligibility, explain the application process and the types of placements you can expect.

May to July 2021

Successful applicants
Your regional coordinator will be in touch to talk about the next steps and invite you to an induction event. 

Unsuccessful applicants
Your regional coordinator will be in touch to let you know if your application is unsuccessful. There are plenty of other STEM opportunities to explore.



Nov 2020 to March 2021

Read our guide for applicants
This includes tips on how to write a good application.

Check the application deadline for your region

Complete your application online by your regional deadline
Contact your regional coordinator if you are worried about missing your deadline.

July to Sept 2021

Enjoy participating in your Nuffield Research Placement!

Complete your post-placement report and poster

Receive your completion certificate and present your work alongside other students at a regional celebration event.*

  • *Due to the impact of COVID-19, and in accordance with the latest Government guidance, celebration events may have to be held virtually.

Find your regional coordinator

  • East Midlands

    • Stacy Munday
      East Midlands Regional Coordinator
      0116 240 7000

      Leicestershire Education Business Company, 30 Frog Island, Off North Bridge Place, Leicester, LE3 5AG

  • London and the East

    • Sally Moore
      London and the East Regional Coordinator
      01438 755 075

      STEMPOINT East at MBDA, PO Box 19, PB 211, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2DA

  • North East England

  • North West England

    • Helen McCann
      North West England Regional Coordinator
      07821 156 958

      All About STEM, Studio B, Digital House, 44 Simpson Street, Liverpool L1 0AX

  • Northern Ireland

    • Ciaran Lynch
      Northern Ireland Regional Coordinator
      028 9262 7755

      SENTINUS, 19a Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, BT28 2SA

  • Scotland

    • Jennifer Smith
      Scotland Regional Coordinator
      01382 308 455

      Outreach and Public Engagement Office, Graduate School, Abertay University, Bell Street, Dundee, DD1 1HG

  • South East England

    • Helen McGlead
      South East England Regional Coordinator

      STEM Outreach Coordinator, Sussex STEM, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE

  • South West England

    • Janine Bisson
      South West England Regional Coordinator
      01872 224 397

      Cornwall Education Business Partnership, Cornwall Council, 2N Chy Trevail, Dunmere Road, Bodmin, PL31 2FX

  • Wales

  • West Midlands

  • Yorkshire and Humberside

    • Paula Symonds
      Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Coordinator
      01246 212 535

      Derbyshire Education Business Partnership, Commerce House, Millennium Way, Chesterfield, S41 8ND

Feel free to speak to your regional coordinator for support or if you have any further questions, but please first check the commonly asked questions below. 

Commonly asked questions

What type of placement can I do?
We offer a wide range of projects from traditional science projects (lab and field work) to ambitious social science projects (using data science to investigate big political and social issues). Different projects will have very different content, but they will all provide you with experience of scientific research – formulating a question and using scientific methods to investigate it. Not all science is done in the lab.*
  • *Due to the impact of COVID-19 and Government guidance, and subject to the limitations of the placement host organisation, the real-world research collaboration with a Project Supervisor may not be able to go ahead on-site. In the event that on-site research is not possible, this activity will continue online instead.

If I go to an independent fee-paying school but I fulfil other criteria can I still apply?
Unfortunately not. Nuffield Research Placements are for young people in full-time education in maintained schools and further education colleges in the UK. If you are unsure whether your school is state or privately-funded, please contact your regional coordinator.
What does "first in family" mean?
You are “first in family” if your parents/carers did not attend University or Higher Education (including institutions outside the UK). Even if your siblings have attended, you are still eligible to apply.
I don’t know what my household income is – can I still apply?
Firstly, ask your parents/carers to check your eligibility online. If you are eligible, your parents/carers will need to complete a form that provides evidence of their income.
Will I need to provide evidence of my eligibility?
Yes - we require applicants to provide evidence of all the eligibility criteria they meet. Your coordinator will advise you on what type of evidence to provide.
If I meet the eligibility criteria am I guaranteed a placement?
We receive many more applications than we have placements so unfortunately we cannot guarantee a placement for all eligible students. You will have the best chance of success if you are willing to consider a broad range of placements, including those outside your primary interest or university focus. Whatever your placement, you will still benefit enormously.
Can I still apply if I am not available for the whole of the summer holidays?
At the time of applying, you must be sure that you are available for at least 2-3 weeks of your summer holidays for the project collaboration. Most project collaborations require the 2-3 weeks to be consecutive (in a row), so if you are going on holiday in the middle of the summer this may affect your chances of finding a placement. It’s best to check with your regional coordinator however, as a placement might still be possible.
What support will I receive?
Your regional coordinator will support you throughout the process and will be available to answer any questions. Once you have started your placement, you will also have a placement supervisor who will oversee your work. There may also be other Nuffield students working in the department alongside you. Whatever your circumstances, there will always be someone there to help and answer your questions.
What happens if I am shortlisted?
This means your regional coordinator is attempting to match you with a placement. It does not mean that a placement is guaranteed, but it does mean that your application was of a high standard. You will hear from your regional coordinator if you are shortlisted at which point you can discuss the types of projects that may be suitable for you. Your chances of success are increased if you are willing to consider a range of different projects.
Will I get paid to do a Nuffield Research Placement?
We do not pay students, however you will not be out of pocket at the end of your placement as we reimburse your travel costs and some students will also receive a bursary of £200 for the project collaboration portion of your placement. You will be eligible for a bursary if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • You are living, or have lived in, local authority care.
  • Come from a family with a combined household income of below £30,000 a year.
  • You are entitled to free school meals, either now or at any time in the last six years.