Young Norfolk scientists celebrate their summer as Nuffield Research Scholars

Norfolk students who were awarded Nuffield Research Placements to study science in the real world.Ph

Norfolk students who were awarded Nuffield Research Placements to study science in the real world.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Budding young scientists from all over Norfolk came together to celebrate their summer of research.

The students all spent four weeks of their holidays as Nuffield research scholars, working alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

The 19 were part of a national scheme chiefly funded by the Nuffield Foundation which aims to give students an insight into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths - known as the STEM subjects.

The students, who had all just finished their first year of A-levels, AS-levels, BTEC or the International Baccalaureate, presented their work and received certificates at The Forum in Norwich on Monday.

This year's placements included a review of biopsy findings in giant cell arteritis at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and the plight of the European turtle dove, with the RSPB.

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Ben Thackray, 17, of Friendship Road, Norwich, spent his placement with the John Innes Centre investigating 'the impact of h+ proton pumps on the vacuole's pH levels, using mutant Arabidopsis plants.'

Ben, who is taking A-levels in the sixth form at Sewell Park College in Norwich, said the placement had given him a better idea of what he would like to do when he was older.

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'It's also given me insight into the fascinating world of biochemistry and lab work,' he added.

Former Aylsham High School pupil Alice Gaudet, 17, is studying for the international baccalaureate at St Edward's School, Oxford.

Alice, of Nelson Road, North Walsham, spent four weeks at UEA researching the cell signalling which co-ordinates development of the eye.

'Spending time in a lab gave me the opportunity to try using equipment I would never normally have access to,' she said.

'Being able to talk to a variety of people in the lab was also really helpful as they could tell me about studying sciences at university.'

The scheme in Norfolk is run by Jan Cockburn, education projects manager with Norwich and Waveney Enterprise Services World of Work.

'Students make a real contribution to the organisation and write up their findings in a professional report to present at the end,' said Mrs Cockburn.

'They get hands-on experience of a professional research environment and a valuable insight into the sorts of careers available to them. They meet new people and learn loads of new skills which will help with whatever they choose to do next, whether that's a university application, a job, or further training.'

? Mrs Cockburn is keen to hear from any Norfolk STEM business or industry prepared to offer student placements. She can be emailed at: or ring 01603 227875.

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