Return to Work

Plan a smooth return to work after a career break

Going back to work can take different forms – a new job, part-time work or trying to pick up exactly where you left off, regardless, preparation is key.
At the end of a career break, the return to work transition is challenging: your children need to adjust to care, research projects may have stagnated and your lecturing may feel a bit rusty. Here we provide resources for returners, to smooth this transition, help you regain momentum and reinvigorate your research when you go back to work.

Related Interviews

Interview with Sanam Mustafa

“Find a support network – researchers who have either returned from a break or people who are your supporters or champions.”

– Dr. Sanam Mustafa, Researcher @ ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

Related Resources

Women Aren't The Only Ones Navigating The Return To Work

In this article, Sami Kafala, a medical physicist, talks about his role as stay at home dad and the challenges involved in returning to research after his career break.

'Sciencing' With An Infant

This blog piece by Meghan Duffy talks about the challenges we face when balancing work with an infant. She discusses the compromises that we may need to take, and the importance of realising that no two parents’ journeys are the same.

Juggling Work & Kids During School Holidays

This article explores ways to plan balancing work and children when they are on vacation. It provides 16 helpful tips to get you through the juggling act with your sanity and happy kids!

Returning To Work After Having A Baby

This article by the Centre of Perinatal Excellence provides a series of practical tips and a simple checklist to provide you with support when you return to work after parental leave.

Do The Math

Is your parental leave coming to an end? Do you want to go back to work but are worried that the cost of childcare is too high to make returning to academia financially viable? This article looks at what to think about when balancing childcare costs with your potential return to work salary now and in the future.

Skills As A Parent

You may think being a parent is a detriment to your career, but in this article career coach Nikki Vivian discusses how the great skills you learn as a parent can be central to a successful academic career.

Working Families

Working Families UK provides a treasure trove of guidance for working parents and their employers in the UK, from employment rights to flexible working, benefits and tax. If you are an academic working or planning to work in the UK, make sure you know your rights and obligations.

Baby Steps – 10 Tips For Returning To Work After Post-Natal Depression

This short article by the Head of Legal Advice Services at Working Families, UK, explores the things you need to know when returning to work in the UK after suffering from post-natal depression.

Daphne Jackson Fellowship

Daphne Jackson Fellowships provide funding for STEM researchers in the UK who are returning to work after a 2+ year break looking after family or dealing with health issues. The fellowship provides for flexibility and part-time work.

Janet Thornton Fellowship

This fellowship provides funding for researchers in the UK who are returning to research after a 1+ year career break. The recipient is based at the Welcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK

The Physiological Society Research Grants

These grants provide research funds for members of the Physiological Society returning from a career break to help kick-start their research.

Royal Society of Biology 'Returners to Bioscience Group'

If you are looking for support or a community of people in the same situation as you, then check out this short article which discusses a number of support initiatives for people returning to science after a career break, including the Returners to Bioscience Group run by the Royal Society of Biology

Flex Careers

Do you want to return to work but aren’t sure that academia will give you the kind of flexibility you need? Then have a look at Flex Careers, a recruitment agency specialising in jobs with flexible working arrangements. You never know, you may find your dream job outside academia.

STEM Returners

Do you want to return to work but are considering moving away from academia? Use your amazing skills in the private sector by signing up for the STEM returners program, which provides placements with interesting companies looking for STEM professionals returning to work after a career break or when moving between sectors.

Related Links

Organizations that support academics and parents.

500 Women Scientists

Inclusive global scientific community fostering diversity, 500 Women Scientists initiative.

Male Champions of Change

Influential male leaders redefine gender roles, Male Champions of Change.

Globe Women

Globe Women: Advancing global gender equity through research and events.

Franklin Women

Empowering women in health research through networking and development opportunities.

Women in Tech

Queensland’s premier community for women in tech and life sciences.