During July of 2014, Iain Duffin (year 14) took part in a Nuffield Research Placement in the pharmacy department of Queens University. Iain applied for the opportunity to do the placement as part of the Nuffield Bursary scheme. 

He planned and carried out a research project on the subject of microneedles; tiny needles used for delivering drugs into the body, usually measuring only around 0.5mm in height. The needles are so small that upon insertion into the skin they don’t go deep enough into the skin to touch any nerves and therefore cause no pain to the patient.

Benefits like this make the microneedles top-contenders for replacing the standard hypodermic needles used for vaccines and injection in healthcare.  The project involved extensive laboratory work and careful planning and certainly provided Iain with an excellent challenge during the summer holidays. 

Once the placement was completed and his project was written and handed in to the Nuffield organisation, Iain attended a Nuffield celebration day on Wednesday 15th of October in QUB. This day provided the opportunity for Nuffield students to present their research in the form of a display board and to speak to teachers, members of the public and business representatives about the work they had carried out over summer.

The celebration day concluded with an awards ceremony where each student was presented with a CREST gold award for the work they had carried out over the summer.