Nuffield Foundation

Nuffield Research Placements Online System (NRP)


The Nuffield Foundation has run a placement program for STEM students for a number of years. This program enables students to improve their understanding of working in STEM fields with the aim of increasing the number of students gaining employment in STEM related vocations. The success of their scheme led Nuffield to look at replacing their paper-based application process with a new online system. This allows students, teachers, placement providers and Nuffield coordinators to interact in a more streamlined way.

With this project there were particular challenges surrounding access to only certain parts of an application, at particular times in the process, depending on the user involved.

My role

  • Planning and running several scoping workshops to gather functional requirements from both the organisation and users.
  • User research to understand how and when each of the user roles would be using the system.
  • Development of user scenarios including personas and journeys.
  • Creation of a detailed workflow to clearly demonstrate how each user interacts with the system and each other.
  • Information architecture development, including a detailed interactive prototype.
  • UI concept development and design.
  • Responsive front end build using HTML and CSS.
  • Template integration with PHP back end and wordpress theme.


The Placements Online System delivered the following benefits:

  • Automated application process: Enhanced ability of the central and regional staff to administer the scheme more efficiently by tracking applications in real time and assessing where targeted support is needed to encourage further applications from schools in disadvantaged areas
  • Improved accessibility for students registering, increase in applications (5,732 in 2014) and significant increase in completed applications (70%)
  • Systematic year-on-year analysis and trend monitoring that was not previously possible

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