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.
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
Applications are now open for 2021
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
- 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.
- For students and parents/guardians
- For teachers
- For employers
What is a Nuffield Research Placement?
* 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
Apply for a placement
Taking part in a Nuffield Research Placement inspires and motivates students.
Lynn Friedrichsen, Principal Teacher Faculty, Dumfries Academy
Lila Obuchowicz, Senior Tutor and Aimhigher Coordinator Science, Leyton Sixth Form College
Get your students involved
- 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.
- 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.
Inspire young people to gain STEM skills through research by hosting a Nuffield Research Placement.
What’s involved in hosting a placement?
*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
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.
Become a host
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
Your regional coordinator will be in touch to talk about the next steps and invite you to an induction event.
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
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.
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
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
In the meantime, please email:
North West England
North West England Regional Coordinator
07821 156 958
All About STEM, Studio B, Digital House, 44 Simpson Street, Liverpool L1 0AX
Northern Ireland Regional Coordinator
028 9262 7755
SENTINUS, 19a Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, BT28 2SA
Scotland Regional Coordinator
01382 308 455
Outreach and Public Engagement Office, Graduate School, Abertay University, Bell Street, Dundee, DD1 1HG
South East England
South East England Regional Coordinator
STEM Outreach Coordinator, Sussex STEM, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE
South West England
South West England Regional Coordinator
01872 224 397
Cornwall Education Business Partnership, Cornwall Council, 2N Chy Trevail, Dunmere Road, Bodmin, PL31 2FX
Yorkshire and Humberside
Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Coordinator
01246 212 535
Derbyshire Education Business Partnership, Commerce House, Millennium Way, Chesterfield, S41 8ND
Commonly asked questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.