Institute of Physics Project Juno Support

Parenthood/Caring Responsibilities

The School of Physics and Astronomy recognises that one of its key strengths is the diversity of its staff and students. Through our Equality and Diversity work, we aim to go above and beyond legislative and university requirements and celbrate this rich diversity.

The University of Manchester offers many family-friendly support options including childcare initiatives to help reduce costs; a salary exchange scheme for paying for childcare, childcare vouchers and two on site nurseries (Dryden Street Nursery and Echoes Day Nursery).

There are separate policies for staff in place for Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave including Shared Parental Leave, Adoption Leave, Parental Leave, Special Leave and also for Research Council Funded Students

The University Equality and Diversity Office are offering returners the opportunity to join the Returning from maternity, paternity or adoption leave support group.

Schuster building has a Wellbeing Room in B50 – on the basement floor which can be locked from the inside so that it can be used for breastfeeding. It also has a lockable fridge in the room to store milk securely.

The University recognises the difficulties faced by members of staff with caring responsibilities and offers career breaks in order to help facilitate greater work-life balance for these groups of staff and in August 2014, the  Staff With Caring Responsibilities Peer Support Group was established.

Useful Links

Our academic career stories from the University of Manchester demonstrate that it is possible to be a woman with a family and have a successful academic career. For example:


There are some specific resources and initiatives aimed at supporting women returning to academia after a career break. Although some of these initiatives are mainly driven by encouraging women in science and engineering to return to work, the university plans and policies on women returning to work (see Athena SWAN Charter) generally cover all disciplines, and many of the case studies and profiles are relevant, whatever your discipline.

Organisations and training supporting women returning to science and engineering/academic careers:

  • Athena SWAN Charter - "recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research". Includes case studies of university departments and their plans to support women in academia.
  • The UKRC - provides advice, services and policy consultation regarding the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET). Includes case studies of women returning to a range of careers, including academia.
  • The Open University "Return to science, engineering and technology" course (T161) - a ten week course aimed at those who have already studied or worked in SET and wish to return.

In addition, there are some fellowships and bursaries specifically aimed at encouraging those who have had career breaks to return to work:

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