Young researchers enjoy Uni life

The Nuffield Foundation and the University’s Widening Participation Office have brought 17 year 12 school children to campus with the hope of inspiring them to become the researchers of tomorrow.

The Nuffield Placement scheme is aimed at Year 12 students studying science, technology, engineering and maths who want to know more about what it’s like to work in STEM, particularly in research. The placements, which can last from four to six weeks during the summer holidays and act similar to a work placement, puts them alongside University researchers in campus labs and offices.

Placements can be useful to the provider as the students can provide an extra pair of hands to work on existing projects, or carry out small pieces of research that have had to be put on one side due to lack of time. All Nuffield students write up a scientific report on their research at the end of the placement, and produce a poster to explain their work.

Before the placement began all the students included gathered on campus for an induction event and will return during October half term to report back on their experiences during the placement. Staff and students on campus will be invited to attend closer to the time.

While the placements are open to all young people, most of the financial backing focuses on those from more disadvantaged backgrounds. This year’s placements are working in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Pharmacy & Pharmacology.

Widening Participation Outreach officer Sue Dimond hopes the experience will give the participants some useful life skills and confidence. She said:“Some are commuting for the first time so they need to learn how to use public transport and how to get to work on time. But when they get here I hope they see that university isn’t too scary.”

Sue hopes that the annual scheme will continue to grow and is always on the lookout for people to volunteer to support the programme, with PhD researchers or higher being considered. If you’re interested in taking part next year email Sue at

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