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There are a range of funding opportunities directed at those who have taken career breaks for caring responsibilities


Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

Allows a flexible working pattern for those with parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues; female candidates are particularly invited to apply. The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

Read more about the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

Daphne Jackson Fellowship

A 2 year, part-time retraining fellowship for women and men who have taken a break of 2 years or more from STEM research for family, caring or health reasons.

Status: Sponsored Fellowship opportunities are advertised and featured on their current opportunities page, on university websites and on

Alternatively, if you know the area of research you would like to return to and/or have identified a potential host institution and/or supervisors, you can apply for a regular Daphne Jackson Fellowship at any time. If your application is successful, the Trust will endeavour to find suitable sponsorship.

Read more about the Daphne Jackson Fellowship

Wellcome Trust Career Re-entry Fellowships

This scheme is for postdoctoral scientists who have recently decided to recommence a scientific research career after a continuous break of at least 2 years but is particularly suitable for applicants wishing to return to research after a break for family commitments. The fellowship is tenable for 2 to 4 years, depending on seniority before career break, and may be taken up on a full or part-time basis.

Status: Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year.

Read more about the Wellcome Trust Career Re-Entry Fellowships

British Heart Foundation Career Re-Entry Research Fellowships

This scheme provides a 3 year grant (with the possibility of a 1 year extension if a strong case can be made) for those wishing to re-establish a career in cardiovascular science in an established research institution in the UK, after a break of more than 2 years. The fellowship may be taken up on a part-time employment basis, where appropriate, following discussion and agreement with the BHF and the employing institution.

Status: Open, there are no closing dates

Read more about the BHF Career Re-Entry Research Fellowships

The L'Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science

Awarded annually to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers in any area of the life, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. Awards are worth £15,000 to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research e.g. buying scientific equipment, paying for child care costs or travel costs. The Fellowship programme also provides support, training and networking opportunities.

Status: Applications open annually.

Read more about the L'Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowships for Women in Science

British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) Scholarship

Scholarships awarded to female postgraduate students who will be in their third year of doctoral studies at the time when the awards are given out (the autumn of each year). Awarded in competition on the basis of overall academic excellence with the amounts offered ranging upwards from £1000 (the average award is around £3000).

Status: Applications open annually

Read more about the BFWG Scholarships

Funds for Women Graduates

An education charity offering Foundation and Emergency Grants to women graduates. Foundation Grants will only be given for the final year of a DPhil to help with living expenses. They also offer one-off Emergency Grants to assist with completion of an academic year’s work in the event of an unforeseen financial crisis.

Status: Applications open annually

Read more about the Funds for Women Graduates



Returning Carers’ Fund

Funding (normally be up to £5k, absolute maximum of £10k) to support research career development following a break to care for a child or close relative.

Status: Applications for this Fund are considered three times a year, with deadlines of Friday of 5th Week each term. 

Read more about the Returning Carers' Fund

Bridging and Family Leave Support

Funding can be used to cover the costs associated with research staff who take family leave whilst employed on an externally funded research grant. Where the member of staff taking leave is the Principal Investigator, up to three months of salary support may be used to employ a lab manager or technician or to provide ‘acting up’ funds to a senior member of the group.

Status: Open, applications are welcome at any time

Read more about Family Leave Support