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Royal Holloway summer project student wins Nuffield Best Project award

Posted on 03/12/2012

A secondary school student who carried out a summer project in the Centre for Plant Molecular Sciences has won the Nuffield Foundation Best Project award within the Surrey schools network. David Rapley who is currently studying at Tiffin School, Kingston-Upon-Thames, joined the Centre at Royal Holloway over the summer. His research project focussed on Phytochrome signalling, cell division and growth. 

The achievement of the post-16 students who participated in the Nuffield research placement scheme in the local area was celebrated at the Nuffield Foundation awards evening at Esher College, Surrey, on 13 November 2012. The scheme is organised by SATRO - a Surrey-based not-for-profit organisation that inspires young people about their future in science.

Overall, the students undertook their projects in local industries and universities during the summer of 2012.  All 44 students who took part in the Nuffield scheme achieved the Gold Crest Award.  The quality of work produced was exceptionally high this year which led to two joint winners of the overall Best Project award.  During the evening, the students from the Surrey network of schools were able to exhibit and discuss their projects with the audience who included project supervisors, parents, students and representatives of the Nuffield Foundation and SATRO.

The theme of David’s project allowed him to explore the diverse research areas within the department and to be involved in important research experiments which will contribute to future scientific publications. Dr Paul Devlin, who was the academic lead on David’s project acknowledged David’s input to the research project as well as his enthusiasm and commitment. Dr Safina Khan who works in Paul Devlin’s research group and was  David’s project supervisor said: “David was an exceptional student in grasping both the theoretical and practical aspect of his learning outcomes. During his training of scientific practical skills, he was able to carry out quite detailed experiments involving highly specialised skills in measurement of cell cycle phases (flow Cytometry) and gene expression (qPCR) in a short period of time.  As a School we are quite fortunate to have facilities that provide students an opportunity to learn key skills that are transferable as they embark on their journey to Higher Education and beyond.”   

This year, the School of Biological Sciences hosted both David Rapley (Plant Sciences) and Fergus Houston (Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour) for their Nuffield research projects.  The School wishes both David and Fergus all the best for their future studies at university next year. 


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