Planning a placement

Independent school students will need to find their own placements, and you may be able to help them with this. However, students must apply via their Nuffield Coordinator first, as the programme is competitive and students need to be offered a place on the programme before contacting a provider, so please do not start looking for a project until the application has been confirmed as successful.

A Nuffield Research Placement should enable students to work on a self-contained project that has a beginning, middle and an end within 4 - 6 weeks. 

The criteria for selecting projects are that they should: 

  • have clear scientific or technological content;

  • contribute to the work of the host organisation; 

  • be well defined, having a clear outcome in mind from the beginning; 

  • allow scope for initiative on the part of the student.

This is a competitive programme, with a limited number of placements for each region. Even if a student has set up their own placement, it does not guarantee that their application will be successful. Students should wait to hear the outcome of their application before starting to look for a placement.

Where can I look for placements?

If you are helping your student look for a placement, speak to your Nuffield Coordinator first.  They will be able to offer you and your student advice.

Students should be encouraged to source a placement close to home, as we do not fund travel to placements outside their region. 

You can find out more about the type of projects past Nuffield students have done by looking at our student case studies.


The primary responsibility for health and safety rests with the organisation hosting the placement.  A separate set of guidance notes is available from your Nuffield Coordinator. However, if you are arranging your own placements, you should check that the host organisation has a copy of these notes and is aware of their responsibility. You should also check that students undertaking a Nuffield Research Placement are covered by the host organisation’s insurance policy. Your school/college/LEA may require you to vet the host organisation for health and safety purposes.

Making the most of your Nuffield students

Students may be able to exploit the knowledge and skills from their project when they get back into school. They could have evidence to add to a key skills portfolio, or results that could feed into their coursework. They will certainly have something interesting to talk about at a university admissions interview.

The students will make a presentation, put on a display or contribute to a seminar at the Nuffield Regional Celebration Event. This might be something that they could repeat in school or college.

Your students could: talk to other post-16 students; write an article for the school newsletter or local newspaper; take part of a lesson linked to their project; talk to the school science club; give a presentation to pupils in KS4, KS3 or a local primary school; or give a presentation to parents during a school open evening.

See also

Download our student leaflet and promotional poster for display in your school or college