SAIL Databank hosts interns from Nuffield Research Placements scheme

Over the summer, SAIL Databank hosted two interns from the Nuffield Research Placements scheme. The scheme culminated in a showcase event to celebrate the achievements of the students, from across Wales, who were awarded Nuffield Research Placements in 2022.

The event, which took place at Techniquest in Cardiff Bay on Thursday 27th October 2022, saw 69 Welsh students come together to celebrate the successful completion of a two- or three-week placement.

Nuffield Research Placements provide real-life research or development projects that provide a STEM aspirational experience for talented year 12 (or equivalent) students with no previous history of family members going to university.

The scheme provides an opportunity for students to apply skills and knowledge learned at school while providing a meaningful contribution to the work of researchers and industry professionals.

Designed to develop an understanding of the research process and skills required for quantitative research, the placement enables students to discover new career path possibilities and enhance their applications for higher education courses.

The Nuffield Research Placements programme is funded by the Nuffield Foundation with support from UKRI and is delivered by STEM Learning.

The SAIL Databank interns, Rachel Waters and Owen Rowlands, were supervised and mentored by Dr Hywel Turner Evans, a Research Officer in SAIL Databank’s Analytical Services Team. Dr Evans tasked the interns with designing an epidemiology study using the SAIL Databank.

Special guest, Nobel Prize winner, Sir Martin Evans, led the certificate presentations and announced the winners of the 1st and 2nd best placement reports.

Nuffield Research Placement interns at the techniquest celebration event

The project involved developing a research proposal on a topic of interest, by compiling a brief literature review and identifying a feasible project. The resulting study proposal included the research questions to be answered, the datasets and variables required, and a short analysis plan.

Although the interns were unable to directly access the highly secure data held within SAIL, they were able to gain an understanding of the power of health and administrative data. During their placements, the students were also involved in the day-to-day operations of the SAIL Databank Analytical Services Team to appreciate the requirements of managing this service for the hundreds of approved researchers who use SAIL Databank.

Commending the interns and the Nuffield scheme, Dr Hywel Turner Evans, said,

“It’s been fantastic to be involved in this year’s Nuffield Research Placements. Rachel and Owen were a joy to supervise. They worked independently to complete academic reports and posters of a high standard, which was great to see. I enjoyed mentoring them in understanding our work at the SAIL Databank and the many applications of linked population-scale data. We know that these placements work and are also valued by the university. In previous years, these projects have led to students joining Swansea University Medical School courses. I’d like to wish Rachel and Owen all the very best in their future studies and careers, pob lwc!”

Speaking of her experiences of the placement, intern Rachel Waters, said,

“I never knew organisations like SAIL Databank existed before doing my internship – it’s been such an eye-opening experience. It made me appreciate all the work that goes into each research article out there, and the skills of all the people behind the scenes that make it all possible. It was a privilege to work with Dr Hywel Turner Evans, and the rest of the team.”

In thanking those involved in the programme, intern Owen Rowlands, added,

“Can I also thank you for all of your help and guidance. You’ve been invaluable and I had a thoroughly good time, learning lots at the same time. Sincere thanks to Hywel Turner Evans & SAIL Databank for their support and guidance.”

During the celebration event the students were invited to stand by their research posters so guests; parents/guardians, teachers and internship mentors, could walk around and chat to them about their work. Congratulations to all those who took part!

SAIL Databank Intern’s research proposals based on SAIL Databank.