Age of direct entry applicants at each stage of recruitment

Graphs showing the number and percentages of applicants age throughout recruitment to the Scientist Training Programme in 2022.


About the stages of recruitment

Scientist Training Programme (STP) applications are processed through 4 stages of recruitment. To understand the data in context we have provided details below the graphs of what applicant data is available at each stage.

All stages of the recruitment process are implemented and managed by the School with standardisation and fairness as a top priority. The roles of shortlisters and interviewers are largely undertaken by volunteer scientists from the training departments and are supported by School staff.

Information specific to 2022 data

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) data where provided by applicants is analysed to determine differences in direct entry recruitment to the Scientist Training Programme on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion. It is important to note that the differing sizes in these groups, which in some cases are small samples, meaning apparent differences between groups should be interpreted with caution.

During 2022 an unusually high percentage of applications were received from Nigeria. In a typical year approximately 7% of applications would be from Nigeria, compared to 33% in 2022. A high number of the applications received did not meet the entry requirements and they did not progress any further in the recruitment process. This spike in Nigerian applications contributed to making the data ‘untypical’ for 2022.

Furthermore the vast majority of applicants are recent graduates of Higher Education. The sample sizes for applicants are therefore somewhat confounded by the wider range of those choosing scientific education.


Applicants age numbers

Graph data

Applied Longlisted Shortlisted Interview Offer accepted
Less than 20 years 25 ≤5 ≤5 ≤5 ≤5
20 to 29 years 5625 3899 1022 429 322
30 to 39 years 1500 517 121 49 39
40 to 49 years 325 89 24 9 7
50 plus years 33 6 ≤5 ≤5 ≤5
Not specified 93 77 17 8 6

Applicants age percentages

Graph data

Applied Longlisted Shortlisted Interview Offer accepted
Less than 20 years ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5%
20 to 29 years 74% 85% 86% 87% 86%
30 to 39 years 20% 11% 10% 10% 10%
40 to 49 years ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5%
50 plus years ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5%
Not specified ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5% ≤5%

Direct entry applications are open to all who believe they meet the entry requirements for the programme, including those with international qualifications. There are no restrictions in place to prevent anyone from applying. Applications can include speculative applications, those with limited information or from individuals who do not meet the entry requirements.


All submitted applications progress to this stage as long as the applicant completes the required Situational Judgement Test (SJT). Applications are longlisted based on the score achieved in the SJT. Answers are scored by an external expert provider with access to the answers only and no other application data.

Once longlisting is completed the performance of the SJT questions are independently analysed along with anonymised data of protected characteristics to identify any questions that may not perform fairly for certain groups. If any are identified the question is not used in the assessment of all applicants.


Applications that scored adequately on the SJT then progress to shortlisting. Only the higher education and supporting information sections of the applications are made available to shortlisters for scoring; they do not have access to any personal data. Each application is scored independently by 2 shortlisters. International qualifications are checked against entry requirements. Any applications with international qualifications that do not meet the UK equivalence for the minimum entry requirements, do not proceed any further.


Applications are ranked based on the scores achieved in the recruitment process and are matched to interviews by rank against the applicants location choices. Interviewers are required to be compliant with mandatory training in equality and diversity and are also signposted to additional online resources on unconscious bias. Interviewers do not see the application before the interview. Scores are awarded based on the answers given to standardised questions covering scientific knowledge, values, behaviours and leadership in addition to communication and are aligned to the STP person specification.


Access to earlier data

Data prior to 2021 can be found in the publications section by using the ‘content type’ filter and selecting ‘data’.