Returning Carers' Scheme

The University has introduced a Returning Carers’ Scheme (RCS) to support academic staff across all faculties in re-establishing their independent research careers on return from extended leave (16 weeks or more) for reasons connected to caring - such as maternity leave, shared parental leave, adoption leave, additional paternity leave, or leave to care for a dependant.

"A period of leave for having a baby - or adopting a baby in my case - undoubtedly affects research projects, both those ongoing and opportunities to start new projects. The scheme is very valuable to me in allowing me to reduce my teaching load to catch up on research...it is very nice to work for an enlightened employer!"

In order to be eligible for the RCS, a continuous block of caring-related leave of sixteen weeks or more must be taken. Applications to the RCS can be made by members of staff who:

  • Have returned from caring-related leave in the last 3 months
  • Are currently on caring-related leave
  • Are due to go on caring-related leave

Applicants will be expected to make a case as to the impact the leave has had on their research activity and the ways in which access to the funds associated with the Scheme will help to re-establish their independent research career. Once completed, the form must be returned to the relevant Faculty HR Manager.

"I applied for help from the RCS following six months of extended paternity leave (following on from my partner, who had taken maternity leave for the first six months of our son's life). I used the award to buy myself out of a proportion of a heavy teaching load, which allowed me some vital mental space to start some pilot projects, which has so far led to a publication and some developing grant applications. Without the award, that work would either not have happened, or would have eaten into the precious time I had to support my family and the career of my partner"

Applications for funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances and needs of the individual and in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Awards will be made only where it is clear that there is no other external source of funding (such as grant funding).
  • Awards will be capped at 10k unless the circumstances are deemed to be exceptional.
  • Awards will be made only for purposes identified in the application.
  • The application for funding fits with University (and Faculty and School) research priorities and will benefit the independent research career of the applicant.
  • Priority will be given to those who are requesting funds for the first time.
  • If the total of funding requested exceeds available funds, awards will be given to those requests that the Panel considers will have the most impact.
  • Direct childcare costs will not be considered.
  • There will be no right of appeal against the Panel’s decision.
  • No support will be approved for expenditure following the end of a contract of employment.

"It was vital to my publication record of the year after the [maternity] leave (6 papers and counting) and allowed me to think about grant applications"

Returning Carers' Scheme application form (Word 42KB)

If you have any queries please contact your Faculty HR Team or the Equality and Diversity Team.