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A picture of Prof Kevin Talbot saying 'Athena Swan has helped us build the tools required to maintain our progress in constructing an environment in which everyone can flourish'


Carers Career Fund:

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) is dedicated to supporting the professional development and individual career ambitions of our staff and students.

Training and conference attendance are essential for professional development, yet they often take place outside of normal working hours and away from established support networks. Parents and carers may incur additional costs in order to attend or, in some cases, have to miss out on opportunities entirely. Recent research shows that the provision of care bursaries would go some way to mitigating these pressures.

Following a successful six-month (13 September 2017–15 March 2018) pilot, they established the NDCN Parents’ and Carers’ Career Fund as a permanent scheme.

The NDCN Carers’ Career Fund is open to all academic, research, professional, support staff and students who have regular caring responsibilities, e.g. for child, parent, partner, or a close relative. Individuals can apply for funding to help offset the costs of paying for care above and beyond their normal arrangements when attending events relating to their professional development.

The idea for the fund was developed by Katja Wiech and Stacie Allan, who recognised that some members of Department may need extra support to achieve their professional goals. The initiative is part of the Department’s Athena SWAN activities and supports our goal of creating an inclusive, diverse, and supportive workplace. ‘The academic environment is often set up for the commitment-free and geographically mobile’, as Stacie explained, ‘we’re looking at ways that we can make access to opportunities more of a level playing field and ultimately give everyone a better chance of succeeding in their careers’.


To enable parents and carers to attend courses, conferences, summer schools, research visits and other work-related training, by supplementing the costs of their preferred additional care arrangements.

Since the fund’s inception in 2017, a total of £7962.07 has been awarded to 23 applicants.  

Researcher Cheng Jiang was able to attend a symposium in China, where he gave a presentation on surface chemistry, based on his PhD work in the department. He took his baby daughter with him and was even able to partake in the traditional Chinese custom of celebrating a child being 100 days old. He said:

‘I feel so grateful receiving the kind support and benefits from the Fund… and I would suggest more colleagues apply for this fund in the future’

 An image of Charlotte Jiang at 100 days old with the quote: "Everyone has a life outside of work and it can be a struggle to balance the two. This fund allows those with caring responsibilities to engage in a huge range of activities, without being disadvantaged financially."


Women in Clinical Neurosciences Network

Through its Athena Swan work, NDCN identified particular barriers to career progression among female clinical academics. Their Women in Clinical Neurosciences Network launched with a conference at the Said Business School in December 2021. The network aims to:

  • Provide a warm, confidential and welcoming environment to build friendships and form peer support networks
  • Facilitate open and frank discussion of individual experiences of progression barriers, from junior to senior level
  • Consider what makes a successful female clinical neuroscientist at all career stages via individual case presentations
  • Signpost support that already exists for women in NDCN - what is working well and what more needs to be done?

Professor Michele Hu said of the Network:

‘I am delighted that this led to the creation of the Women in Clinical Neurosciences Network, which will facilitate frank discussion of experiences, share case studies, signpost existing support and consider what more needs to be done to break down barriers at all levels. A large number of female clinical academics gathered for the conference launch at the Said Business School in December 2021, and we received very positive feedback about our initiative and its potential.’

An image of the Women in Clinical Neurosciences network with the quote ""The Network, [...] will facilitate frank discussion of experiences, share case studies, signpost existing support and consider what more needs to be done to break down barriers at all levels."


Click here to read about EDI activity in one of our other 16 departments:

MSD Goes Silver: 10 Years of Athena Swan