STEM Learning are now in their second year of delivering this highly regarded and prestigious programme thanks to ongoing funding from the Nuffield Foundation and support from UK Research and Innovation - and applications are now open for 2022!
We hope to encourage Year 12/S5/Year 13 (NI) students from low socio-economic and/or first in family backgrounds to start their application today for their chance to be part of this long-standing and impactful programme.
Nuffield Research Placements (NRP) supported 1,001 post-16 students to begin real-life research placements this summer, working and collaborating alongside STEM and STEM-related professionals.
The 2020-2021 cycle represented the second cohort of students who progressed through a virtual programme due to Covid restrictions. However, students were still able to tackle research skills’ modules and interact with knowledge experts on a live research question from their home. Marked in bold are testimonies from some of the students who attended placements this summer.
“The best thing about the placement was the slice of real scientific life that it offered.”
Online projects were topical and wide-ranging, including ‘What characterizes COVID-19 misinformation on Twitter?’, ‘Black hole top trumps’, ‘Plant pathology research to feed the world’, ‘Using bioinformatic tools to study mutations in breast cancer’ and ‘The role of underground geology in supporting net-zero carbon emissions.’
“This research taught me to be socially confident and helped me gain new skills that I never thought I would be able to achieve, as well as face my challenges.”
88% of students participating were from disadvantaged backgrounds being either eligible for Free School Meals, discretionary payments at school or college, living in a household where the total income is below £30,000 or living in care. This means nearly 900 students received an additional bursary of £200 with the remainder taking part due to being the first in their family to go on to HE.
As part of NRP, students were able to access an introductory course to Python programming delivered by a subject-matter expert from the British Computing Society. There was also a pilot webinar series geared towards raising students’ awareness of the labour market and providing them with vital information regarding their potential pathways and access to future education, training and/or employment. Students heard from university admissions teams, learnt how to present themselves in job applications and what they could do if they had a specific subject interest, such as maths or physics.
“I have been able to gain so many skills that will stay with me for life and that I can use in the future. I have so many good words for this placement, it has been life changing.”
All this inspiring work had a hugely positive effect on each student, with 94% of students reporting they were satisfied with their placement and 93% saying they would recommend NRP to other students.
“I felt like a real grown-up during my time with Nuffield Research Placements which I absolutely love. I had to send formal emails, enquire about things I didn't understand, and produce pieces of work that felt really professional. I thoroughly enjoy[ed] it!”