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‘First’ for secondary scientists

Two lucky secondary school pupils are the first to be awarded bursaries to work alongside practising scientists in the University of St Andrews’ Schools of Chemistry and Biology.

Paul Boulton (17) a pupil at Neston High School in Cheshire, and Eugenie Younger (also 17) of St Leonards School are the recipients of two of the bursaries which are funded annually by the Nuffield Foundation as part of its ongoing commitment to encourage fifth and sixth year students to experience, first-hand, real research on science-based projects.

Eugenie, who is being supervised by Dr Jim Kinghorn, based in the Plant Sciences Laboratories, is learning new techniques involved with DNA isolation through a hands- on approach using specialised laboratory equipment not available to schools. Her project will help provide some of the basic information required in understanding how nitrates are transported in plants which will, in turn, assist in a better understanding of how plants effectively use fertilizers.

She says of her work so far: “It is really interesting, and has made me want to seriously consider Biological Research as a future career option.”

“It is great to have the chance at this stage of my education to work in such a facility.”

Paul’s project forms part of the School of Chemistry’s research into the properties of molecules on gold surfaces, with such information having many different applications downstream in the wider market place.

Of his award Paul says: “I really appreciate the opportunity this bursary has afforded me, it is amazing to be involved in such a high standard of research.”

This is not the first time that the University has been involved with this scheme and it values the opportunity of being able to support such initiatives especially as it provides a valuable portal through which future budding scientists can really get a flavour of what research is all about.

Each year the foundation offers about 600 such bursaries which are co-ordinated across 21 regions in the UK. The scheme generally looks to place each recipient with a local organisation, however, with a family member already studying for a full-time degree at the University, Paul was very keen to come to St Andrews and was able to secure an inter-region transfer.

The regional co-ordinator for Scottish bursaries is Frances Chapman who is instrumental in securing placements and matching up students for potential selection. Schools and Colleges looking for further information or wishing to apply for bursaries can contact her direct via f.c.chapman@abdn.ac.uk

Weblink:

http:// www.nuffieldfoundation.org

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Ref: Nuffield Science Bursary pr 180803 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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