WInchester Science Centre Celebrating Hampshire's Nuffield Research Placement Students
Mentors from academia and industry, who jointly worked with 21 local sixth-form students in Hampshire this summer, came together for the Nuffield Research Placement Celebration Evening at Winchester Science Centre.
The evening provided an opportunity for the sixth-form students, their mentors and proud parents to review the wide range of science projects undertaken and celebrate their achievements.
Attending the event was Roopa Master-Coles, STEM Support Officer from Winchester Science Centre who said: “This has been a fantastic evening. I am delighted that Winchester Science Centre has supported these young people with their placements. This is clearly a rewarding experience both for the students and the mentors who supported them. I am particularly proud of the students and the outstanding quality of work they have produced. It is wonderful to see colleagues from STEM focussed organisations nurturing the next generation’s intellectual curiosity through challenging and innovative research projects.”
This year is a double celebration as the Nuffield Research Placement Scheme celebrates its twentieth birthday. The Nuffield Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1943 by William Morris, the founder of Morris Motors. The placements have now helped over 16,000 students from all backgrounds to experience authentic research in a real scientific environment.
During the course of this summer students took part in a diverse range of projects from investigating factors affecting Multiple Sclerosis to developing better safety systems for roads.
Charlotte Day, from Southampton was placed at the University of Portsmouth. She was tasked with researching the grazing rates of Psammechinus miliaris (Green Sea Urchin), Littorina littorea (Common Periwinkles) and Gibbula umbilicalis (Top Shells). Speaking about her experience Charlotte, who like all the students gained many skills key to a range of STEM careers, said: “The placement was the best possible thing I could have done with my summer holiday. The first few days were based mostly on research of the subject area and setting up the tank for the animals. Then the rest of the time was spent carrying out the experiment, analysing the data and writing up the report”
Acknowledging the commitment of time for students and hosts alike, Catherine Harris reflected on the standout moments of the placement based at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) this year: “It was especially rewarding to show them what being a researcher at NOC involves – from attending a conference session and engaging with industry, to watching robot demonstrations and touring one of our research ships, RRS Discovery.”
For those mentors that commit their time, the placements are an exciting and inspiring experience with a lasting impact. Catherine herself credits a Nuffield Placement she completed in her teens for her career today: “My placement helped launch me from building simple Lego robots at college and university, to the huge underwater vehicles I now research and work with.”
Nuffield Research Placements are one of a number of activities organised by Winchester Science Centre where their STEM Team works in partnership with employers, schools and community groups to enthuse and inspire young people about science, technology, engineering and maths.
‘Blue’ the sea urchin