For many people, starting a family, caring for a relative, or long term health issues, can mean a career break of 2 or more years. When the time comes to return to work, gaps in the returner’s CV, or lack of self-confidence can make it difficult for them to compete for jobs that fully utilise their skills and experience.
The Daphne Jackson Trust has helped over 280 women and men return to science, technology and engineering careers following an extended career break, since it was founded in 1992 in memory of the UK’s first female physics professor, Daphne Jackson.
Following a seven-year career break to bring up her children, Dr Stefanie Freitag-Pohl returned to Durham University in 2009 with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship. Stefanie is a crystallographer who wants to understand how the crystal structures of medicines change under different storage conditions; changes that can affect their safety and efficacy. She says the Fellowship was essential for her return to the workplace. It helped her rebuild her self-confidence, update her computer skills, learn new lab techniques and network with colleagues. And the flexibility the Fellowship provides meant Stefanie was able to do her research part-time and continue to collect her children from school.
‘After such a long research break staying mainly at home as a parent, the Fellowship gave me the chance to ‘grow back into science’.’
There is now an opportunity for a pharmacist or scientist who has taken a career break for family, caring or health reasons, to return to pharmacy research at Durham University. The two year part-time Fellowship will be sponsored jointly by Durham University and Pharmacy Research UK, a charity dedicated to improving the health of the public through excellence in pharmacy research.
The candidate will develop a novel research proposal with the support of a supervisor at the university and a named Fellowship Advisor at the Daphne Jackson Trust, which will then be peer-reviewed and assessed by the Trust’s independent Awards Assessment Panel. Once awarded, the part-time Fellowship allows the Fellow to balance their research and retraining with other commitments, and helps put them back on a par with colleagues who have not taken a career break.
Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive of the Daphne Jackson Trust explains:
‘It’s vital for UK science and technology that the skills and talents of our potential workforce are exploited to the full, and individuals wishing to return to research after a career break represent an untapped pool of talent. ‘
‘I am delighted that this Fellowship at Durham University, jointly sponsored by Pharmacy Research UK, will give someone the opportunity to return to this important research area and potentially contribute to improvements in public health’.
Daphne Jackson Fellowships Background
Daphne Jackson Fellowships are unique as they offer STEM professionals wishing to return to a research career after a break of two or more years, the opportunity to balance an individually tailored retraining programme of at least 100 hours retraining per year, with a challenging research project.
Fellowships are part-time over two years and support is offered by the Daphne Jackson Trust’s Fellowship Advisors and administrative staff, coupled with mentoring and retraining provided during the Fellowship, enabling the candidate to successfully return to research.
The Division of Pharmacy at Durham University: https://www.dur.ac.uk/school.health/ug.pharmacy
Pharmacy Research UK website: http://www.pharmacyresearchuk.org/
The Daphne Jackson Trust and the fellowship scheme: http://www.daphnejackson.org/