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Could you change someone’s life this summer?

21 Feb 2018

Inspire the next generation of scientists – and develop your PhD students’ skills – with the Nuffield Research Placement scheme

Nuffield Foundation students at The University of Manchester

Every year, our University hosts sixth formers taking part in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme, a national project that gives more than 1,100 students the opportunity to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

In fact, last year Manchester hosted 58 students – more than any other institution in the UK for the third year running.

The national scheme sees sixth formers carry out four-week research placements over the summer, gaining independence, skills and experience and a much-valued insight into research as a career. 

Dr Rob Lindsay, a Director of our Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Materials for Demanding Environments, has shepherded a dozen youngsters through the scheme over as many years and eleven more through the CDT in the past two years.

“It has been a great scheme for us as well as the placement students,” he says.

“I like to encourage students into STEM subjects, including materials, which you don’t get to do at school – some students have even applied for materials degrees as a direct result of their placement experience.”

Stephanie Lee, Head of Student Recruitment (Widening Participation and Outreach), adds: “We are really proud of our involvement in the scheme and of the staff who took on the students.

“Four of the students placed here at Manchester have been selected for this year’s Big Bang Competition for UK Young Scientists and Engineers, in March, where they will present the research they carried out last summer. So our staff clearly did a great job.

“The scheme also aligns with our Widening Participation work, offering these opportunities to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who are the first generation of their family to attend higher education.”

One of the students heading to the Big Bang is Fahima Maka from Bolton Sixth Form College, who worked in the lab of Dr Tracy Briggs and Dr Siddharth Banka at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine.

This was the first time that Dr Briggs had been involved in the scheme but the experience is something she would highly recommend:  “I really enjoyed it. The students were so enthusiastic and dedicated. It helped me remember why I went into medicine and love science in the first place. The students helped with assessing important data in my lab and were able to derive novel and exciting results.”

And Fahima said: “It was an amazing and life changing experience that helped me grow as a student and as a person. It made me realise that this is what I want to do.”

The University is now looking for staff or Early Career Researchers who would be willing to host a Nuffield Research Placement student this summer (July or August 2018).

Get involved

If you are interested in offering a project for 2018 in any area of STEM or in quantitative Social Sciences, or would like more information, email:

More information

For more information, visit: