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. Sign up for our newsletter to get guidance straight to your inbox!


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

article on dads returning to work after career break

Women Aren't The Only Ones Navigating The Return To Work Global

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.

article on being a scientist with an infant

‘Sciencing’ With An Infant Global

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.

article on balancing work and children in school holidays

Juggling Work & Kids During School Holidays Global

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!

article on returning to work after having a baby

Returning To Work After Having A Baby AU+

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.

article on balancing cost of childcare with return to work

Do The Math USA+

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.

article on the skills we develop as parents

Skills As A Parent USA+

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.

article on returning to research after a career break

Getting Back Into Research After a Career Break UK+

This booklet provides a series of interesting case studies on scientists returning to research after a career break. You may just find a story that resonates with your situation, providing useful tips and guidance for your own return to work.

policies for working parents

Working Families UK

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.

policies relating to returning to work after post-partum depression

Baby Steps – 10 Tips For Returning To Work After Post-Natal Depression UK

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 UK+

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.

funding for return to work in queensland

Women's Academic Fund AU

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.

return to work fellowship astronomy

AAO Return To Work Scholarship Award AU

The Australian Astronomical Observatory provides a return to work scholarship for members of staff returning to work after 18+ weeks of carers leave, whether that is acting as primary carer for a child, or a sick or aged family member.

funding return to work uk

British Heart Foundation Career Re-entry Research Fellowships UK

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.

return to work funding STEM

Daphne Jackson Fellowship UK

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.

returners funding UK

Janet Thornton Fellowship UK

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

Biochemistry funding for return to work

Stay Connected Bursaries UK

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

return to work grant physiology uk

The Physiological Society Research Grants UK

These grants provide research funds for members of the Physiological Society returning from a career break to help kick-start their research.

re-entry scholarship uk

Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellowship UK & IE

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.

community for scientists returning to work in bioscience

Royal Society of Biology 'Returners to Bioscience Group' UK

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 network and community

Women Returners UK & IE

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.

leaving academia for flexible career

Flex Careers AU

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.

returners in STEM job support

STEM Returners UK

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.

Exit Strategies

Women Returners UK & IE

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.


Organisations that support academics and parents