Nuffield Future Researchers 2020 partners with AMBS in a first for the programme and students from The Blue Coat School will join AMBS researchers for a summer placement.
Alliance Manchester Business School will give sixth-form students first-hand research experience as it provides data science placements as part of the Nuffield Future Researchers programme, one of which includes investigating the role of personalised medicine in Covid-19 drug therapy.
The Nuffield Future Researchers programme is a national initiative from the Nuffield Foundation that provides more than 1,000 students across the UK with the chance to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians as they take their next steps towards their careers. Its aim is to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain skills and confidence in science and research.
Alliance Manchester Business School is one of the first business schools to support the programme and will provide a six-week virtual placement for two students from The Blue Coat School in Oldham. The placements will give students first-hand experience of working on a data science research project, and students will be provided with one-to-one guidance and support throughout the placement by their supervisor and PhD mentor.
One placement will involve working on the largest open dataset about Covid-19 and analysing more than 500,000 records to better understand the relationship between different variables, such as gender, age and location, and the patients’ condition. Whereas the second placement, which focuses on the use of wearable sensor technologies to analyse performance gestures in music, will look at the emerging role of machine learning in modern music composition.
Dr Richard Allmendinger, business engagement lead at Alliance Manchester Business School, said: “The Nuffield Future Researchers programme is a brilliant initiative focused on providing tangible support to those students that are interested in pursuing a STEM career, but understandably would like a taster of what’s to come before committing to study a particular subject at university. “Despite the programme having to take place virtually this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re really looking forward to welcoming our two placement students and have a couple of very interesting projects for them to get involved with. They’ll play an integral role as they help our research team to work on two cutting-edge, but very different, briefs and I’m really looking forward to welcoming them to the school.”
Sarah Fenton, North West Regional Coordinator at Nuffield Future Researchers, added: “The projects Richard and his team are working on at Alliance Manchester Business School are fascinating and will provide a real insight into the world of research for this year’s students. We’re thrilled to be working with the business school as we expand our programme beyond a traditional STEM enrichment scheme to include quantitative social science projects, and are looking forward to working together as we evolve the partnership to enrich young people’s education and support more students from low socio-economic backgrounds.”
The programme, which is supported by organisations including the British Science Association, BP-Business in the Community and UKRI, is proven to have a positive impact on participants’ access to STEM higher education courses. In 2019 an independent evaluation of the programme found that almost a third of students (32%) enrolled in a STEM course in a Russell Group university and many reported the placement had enhanced their motivation and confidence, as well as helping them to improve transferable skills such as presenting, writing and time management.