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Inspirational students excel on research placement with CRN Greater Manchester

Ten ambitious A-Level students excelled during a jam-packed placement with NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester.

The local 17-year-olds earned the two-week opportunity during their summer holidays in August 2022 after they successfully applied for a Nuffield Research Placement.

The developmental programme, facilitated by the Nuffield Foundation, is designed to provide students with an engaging, hands-on placement, where students have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution towards the work of a host organisation involved in science or research. 

CRN Greater Manchester, taking part in the programme for the first time, gave the teenagers a comprehensive insight into how the organisation supports the delivery of health and care research across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire. 

The students, who plan to apply for university during their upcoming second year at college, worked on research projects that challenged them to analyse and interpret real-life NIHR data. 

At the end of their 10 days on the placement, each presented their findings in front of their peers and members of the CRN Greater Manchester team. 

They were presented with certificates of achievement and congratulated by the workforce who were highly impressed with the hard work, attitude and intelligence demonstrated by all of the students, who also had the chance to tour various departments of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Oxford Road Campus where CRN Greater Manchester is based. 

Martin Occleston, CRN Greater Manchester’s Learning Technologist who oversaw the programme, said: “We were blown away by the talent and the attitude shown by the students during the two weeks with us. They completely threw themselves into understanding the CRN, analysing complex data sets and presented some really well-informed recommendations back to our senior leaders which will help shape the work we do this year. 

“There was a real buzz around the office for those two weeks, and for all those involved, it was an incredibly rewarding experience that we’ll be encouraging the wider team to join in with again next summer.”

The students were full of praise for the programme and CRN Greater Manchester, reporting that they felt fully supported and found the experience extremely rewarding and valuable. 

Comments included: “[I learned that] having an enjoyable environment encourages and motivates us to do work. The work environment here was really fun to come into and everyone was extremely friendly and I couldn't have asked for better!”

And: “It’s been an incredible experience being in the workplace environment and hopefully I might come back to work here.”