Student applicants

Spend your summer holiday developing your research and quantitative skills on a project that will enhance your university application and career prospects.

Nuffield Research Placements take place in your summer holidays after Year 12 (England) or equivalent. Successful applicants will work on a research project that relates to an area of science, quantitative social science, computing, technology, engineering or maths (or a combination of these). Most projects are based in an office, but some include working in a laboratory or fieldwork. The programme is highly competitive, and not all applications will be successful. We have strict application criteria so check if you are eligible before submitting an application. 

Placements are between four and six weeks in length and are available in your local area. Your placement might be in a university, research institute, company, or voluntary organisation. You will work alongside professional researchers on a project that is an important part of their business and/or research and have the opportunity to network with students, researchers and employers whilst exploring a future careers and subject options. You will submit a written report at the end of the placement which is similar to reports written at University level and present your findings at a regional celebration event. You may wish to enter your project into national competitions such as the Big Bang Competition, or apply for a Gold Crest Award.


To apply, you must:

  • Be over 16 and in full-time education at a either a state-maintained school or a state-maintained college in the UK.
  • Have at least five GCSEs or Scottish Nationals at grade B/Grade 6 or above, including maths, a science subject, and English or another humanities subject.
  • Be studying one or more A-levels or Scottish Highers (or equivalent) in science, technology, engineering or maths.

We also require students to fulfill at least one of the following criteria to be eligible to apply:

  • Come from a low-income household and be eligible for a bursary 
  • Be the first in your family to go to University

Before you apply, we recommend that you speak with a teacher and your parent/guardian to discuss whether you are eligible for the programme.


You may be eligible to receive a bursary if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Are eligible for, or in receipt of, Free School Meals, or have been in the last six years
  • Are receiving discretionary payments at school or college (this does not apply to academic scholarships at independent schools).
  • Have a total household income below £30,000 (before tax).
  • Are living in, or have lived in, local authority care.

First in family

This refers to you if your parents/guardian did not attend University or Higher Education (including institutions outside the UK). If your siblings have attended University or Higher Education (but your parents/guardian have not) you are still eligible to apply. 

Who will be successful?

We strongly recommend that students who fulfil the above criteria apply. As our placement programme is highly competitive and each year we have more applications than there are places to offer, we cannot guarantee you a placement. Please also be aware that more placements are offered to those students from low-income backgrounds and a smaller number of placements are offered to students who are the First in Family to attend Unversity. 

In assessing your application, your regional coordinator will also consider the quality of your personal statement and your teacher reference. We will also consider whether you have participated in other enrinchment programmes as part of our application criteria. If you are unsure if you are eligble to apply, please contact your regional coordinator for more information. 

Travel costs 

Your placement will not cost you or your parents/carers anything. We reimburse travel costs for all students (to a maximum of £300). 

Independent and boarding schools

Students from independent schools are not eligible to apply. If you are studying at a boarding school, please see our Student FAQs.

Charlotte at Royal Holloway

See also

Check your eligibility before submitting an application.

Have a look at our case studies to find out what types of project are available.

Find out about British Science Association CREST awards.

Look at our students' journal articles and NRPs in the media.

Also on the web

Register a new application or login to your existing account through the online application system