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.

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Interview with Sanam Mustafa on returning to work after parental leave.

“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

Resources on heading back to work after a career break from academia.

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.

Case Studies Of Returners To Bioscience


This series of 5 minute podcasts explores the experiences of people who returned to science after a career break. If you don’t have time to read, listen to these on your way to work to find inspiration and tips.

Women's Academic Fund


The Advance Queensland Women’s Academic Fund provides women at Queensland universities and research organisations with grants to support return to work, research assistance when on leave and childcare when attending conferences.

British Heart Foundation Career Re-entry Research Fellowships


These fellowships provide funding for researchers in cardiovascular science at research institutions in the UK to help kick-start their research after a career break.

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 Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK

Stay Connected Bursaries


These Biochemical Society Bursaries provide training, conference travel and childcare assistance to members on or returning from a career break.

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.

Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellowship


The Wellcome Trust Re-entry Fellowship provides funding for researchers in the UK who are returning to research after a 2+ year break looking after family or dealing with health issues.

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

Women Returners


Women Returners provides a support network for women returning to work after a career break. The group isn’t specific to academia but they can still provide you with useful guidance and training.

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.

Women Returners


Women Returners provide a support network for women returning to work after a career break. Not only can they provide with guidance and training, if you are considering leaving academia, they also have a diverse database of job opportunities for returners in a range of areas.

Organizations that support academics and parents

500 Women Scientists

500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organisation spanning 100 countries. They are focused on building an inclusive scientific community.

Male Champions of Change

Male Champions of Change brings together influential male leaders to redefine men’s role in taking action on gender inequality across private sector and government.

Globe Women

Globe Women is a not-for-profit organization that aims to improve the economic opportunities of women around the world. They run events and do research focused on gender equity and leadership opportunities for women.

Franklin Women

Franklin Women is a for-profit social enterprise support women working in health and medical research by providing opportunities for networking and professional development. They also provide funding, run events and provide mentoring. Membership fees apply.

Women in Tech

Women in Tech is the peak industry body for women in technology and life sciences in Queensland, Australia, provide an encouraging community for networking and learning across all career stages.