Nuffield Research Placement
IGGI was taking part for the first time in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme this year: IGGI PhD researchers were supervising keen A-level students from across the country so that the students could gain an insight into scientific research work. The supervision schemes lasted two weeks per student and took place over the summer. The students benefited from the exposure to complex problems, and their involvement in the respective project may very well give them a significant boost to their prospective university applications.
One of the participating IGGI PhD Researchers, Michelangelo Conserva, reported:
"It was a pleasure for me to take part in the project! During the first week I did a series of seminars to introduce the student to the relevant topics; whereas in the second week we did a project on generating synthetic faces using Generative Adversarial Networks. I personally believe that this is a great initiative that will increase diversity in the next generation of researchers and I am proud of my little contribution to it. I think that mixing online and in person meetings would be great but I understand that it was not possible this year."
Another participant, Nuria Peña Pérez, provided the following feedback:
"Participating in the Nuffield Research Placement scheme has been a very enriching experience. During this programme, I supervised an A-level student on a project related to my work. Before starting the project, we had several discussions about the objectives to be pursued, to which the student significantly contributed with their own ideas. The project lasted two weeks, during which the student worked hard on the development of a video game for rehabilitation, a process that allowed the student to improve their technical skills while I gained supervising experience. This programme has therefore greatly benefited both of us.
I think that through the Nuffield programme students can get practical experience in research topics that might otherwise be not necessarily accessible outside of academic environments or programmes. This benefits both academia, through the incorporation of external feedback and the possibility of improving communication, and students who can develop their technical and research skills and see if they enjoy these topics before committing to specific programmes.
Unfortunately, this year the program took place online, which was not a problem for the project I suggested, but I can imagine many disciplines would benefit from in-person collaborations as this would give students access to physical research labs and their equipment."
IGGI is planning to take part again in next year's round which will most likely be conducted in person or in a blended format.
Read here to learn more about Nuffield and the Research Placement scheme.