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Virtual work placement gives a secondary school pupil the opportunity to contribute to the work of FAIRsharing

Blaise. Virtual work placement pupil in 2021

The pupil, named Blaise, has expressed an interest in science in general, microbiology and virology

Oxford e-Research Centre is hosting a virtual work placement for a secondary school pupil with special educational needs, giving the pupil a chance to make a meaningful contribution to one of the Centre’s research projects.

The Courtyard- St Mary Magdalene Academy is a free school for pupils with special educational needs. Pupils who attend the school have a diagnosis of autism spectrum condition and/or speech, language and communication needs. The school’s vison is to offer outstanding educational and social provision that will equip pupils with the skills and experiences needed to discover and live out their potential.

The virtual placement for the pupil from the school will be supervised by Dr. Allyson Lister, who is FAIRsharing Coordinator for Content & Community.

The pupil, named Blaise, has expressed an interest in science in general, microbiology and virology. The placement will consist of weekly virtual meetings for a period of six weeks. Each meeting will either be a single self-contained task (part of an overarching theme), will set a larger task for Blaise to carry out during the week, or will involve presenting results of a previous task. The idea is that Blaise has a chance to contribute, in a meaningful way, to the work of an important ongoing research project.


The placement will consist of weekly virtual meetings for a period of six weeks for presentations and to plan activities The placement will consist of weekly virtual meetings for presentations, activities, and to set larger tasks 





Blaise will contribute to the work of FAIRsharing in a way that will increase understanding of Life Science research, and how scientific data is structured and handled. FAIRsharing is a curated, informative and educational resource on data and metadata standards, inter-related to databases and data policies.

The first part of Blaise’s project will be to become familiar with the content of FAIRsharing in the areas of Microbiology and Virology, perform web searches to discover what other databases or data standards are available for these areas, and find any that have not been described yet. This will give a deep understanding of the ‘ecosystem’ of resources available to researchers in a specific area, and allow for questions such as: Where can these researchers store their data? How should they format their data?

The next part of the placement will give Blaise the opportunity to report on any missing resources or any errors. Such a report would be passed to will be passed to the FAIRsharing Curation Team, who would then update the FAIRsharing resource according the recommendations.

This work should provide Blaise with an insight into what happens to scientific data after it has been created; how it is published, shared with other researchers, and structured so that it is findable, interoperable, accessible and re-usable (FAIR) within the research community. At the end of the placement, the plan is for Blaise to present a final slideshow or summary document of what has been achieved in the placement.

Department of Engineering Science Outreach programme

The Department of Engineering Science is committed to encouraging people to study engineering, and to increasing diversity within the industry. We have a dynamic and successful Outreach programme, led by our Access & Alumni Officer, designed to explain what engineering is and to encourage more students to study engineering. We form and maintain active external links with schools, University colleges and industry to further these aims.

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