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Returning Carers Fund© Nasir HamidThe fund provides support for any researcher or academic regardless of gender following a break in their career or a period of leave for caring responsibilities. This can include maternity, adoption and shared parental leave, or leave to care for an ill, disabled or elderly family member.

Researchers taking leave of 6 months or more (returning within the last 2 years) can request up to £6,000, and in exceptional circumstances £12,000. 

Researchers taking leave of between 3 and 6 months can request up to £3,000.

Funding can be requested for any legitimate purpose identified by the applicant that addresses a clearly identified barrier to return to research and demonstrates a link to career development in research.

Support could include, but is not limited to:

  • teaching buy-out to enable you to concentrate on research;
  • training or professional development;
  • short-term secondments to ‘get up to speed’ with recent research developments;
  • conference attendance to enable you to re-establish your profile;
  • short-term research or administrative assistance;
  • small scale lab equipment purchase;
  • visits to Oxford by your research collaborator(s).

Childcare-related expenses over and above a staff member’s usual childcare costs are eligible if requested as part of an application for ‘work related training’ (which includes conference attendance and research visits). The existing financial limit will still apply. Please note that the payment of childcare expenses for reasons other than ‘work related training’ are considered by HMRC to be a taxable benefit, and are therefore not eligible under this scheme.

The costs of providing a maternity cover post or other support during the leave period are not permitted. These should be discussed with and considered by the applicant’s department as part of the process of agreeing a maternity leave plan.


More information, and example applications can be found on the central EDU Retuning Carers Fund pages