Dr Claire Jones and Lydia Harrisson in the lab

Dr Claire Jones (left) and Lydia Harrisson (right)

Dr Claire Jones has had the privilege of supervising Lydia Harrisson, a Year 12 A-level student from Runshaw College who successfully applied for a Nuffield Research Placement (NRP).

The Nuffield Research Placements are available for students in post-16 STEM courses, with projects taking place over the summer holidays. The UK has seen a shortage of skills in STEM subjects, with a number of employers reporting difficulties in recruitment of STEM skilled staff (Nuffield Foundantion.org).  The NRP’s aim to deepen students’ understanding of STEM subjects and research, ultimately encouraging them to pursue these areas for further study.

Projects must have a broad scientific context, but don’t necessarily result in laboratory work. Students work alongside experts in Universities or Companies on ‘real-world’ issues, ultimately presenting their results in the form of a report and poster.

Lydia has been working on the woodland composition and forest dynamics of a local woodland, Mill Wood, Liverpool.  She has spent a number of days working within our industry standard labs using microscopes to identify pollen grains that allow us to reconstruct the vegetation composition of the woodland through time.  Alongside this record, she has also been using charcoal-based fire reconstruction and woodland history information, to inform her interpretation of the changes in the woodland over time.

If you would like to find out more about Nuffield research placements, please visit: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/nuffield-research-placements