Returning to research

Options and resources for returning to research after a career break

Hand on door handle opening door

The challenge of returning to research after a career break can be very daunting. Below is a list of funding opportunities, available courses, support networks and resources to help you prepare to hit the ground running.

Returning to research grants

At Alzheimer's Society, our research funding programmes take into account time away from research for family or health reasons and we welcome you to apply for our programmes. 

Further information is available on our upcoming grant deadlines.

  • British Heart Foundation: funding to provide an opportunity to re-establish a career in cardiovascular science in an established research institution in the UK, after a break of more than one year.
  • Daphne Jackson Trust: An independent charity which offers flexible, part-time, paid fellowships to scientists, engineers, and technologists who have taken a carer break of two or more years for family caring or health reasons.
  • Janet Thornton Fellowship: awarded to successful applicants who have developed a project with prior agreement and in collaboration with a Sanger Institute Faculty member. This fellowship is open exclusively to people who have taken a career break of 12 months or more.
  • Medical Research Council fellowship: All MRC fellowships are open to individuals returning to research following a career break. In addition to their existing schemes, the MRC also funds at least two Daphnes Jackson Fellows a year (see above).
  • Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin fellowship: Aimed at outstanding scientists in the UK at the early stage of their research careers who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues. Female candidates are particularly invited to apply.
  • The Physiological Society offers research funding to those who are in their first permanent academic position or are returning to a permanent position after a career break.
  • Wellcome Trust Career Re-entry fellowship: This fellowship is provided to support a scientist with a minimum of 2 years of post-doctoral experience who has had a continuous career break of at least 2 years.

Additional funding and training courses

  • EMBO Young Investigators and installation grantees programme guide offers an up to one year extension of the grant to allow for maternity leave. This programme also offers up to €500 for childcare support to cover childcare expenses or costs of flying in a relative to care for a child.
  • Open University Returning to STEM course. This free online course is designed to help people get back to work in STEM after and career break. The Open University provides further information on re-joining the STEM workforce.
  • Biochemical Society's Stay Connected Bursary Scheme helps those on a career break to stay connected with the world of research. Bursaries cover the cost of registration to the Society's scientific meetings, training events and courses. Applicants can also apply for support towards accommodation, travel and/or care provision. Any member of the Biochemical Society who is on a career break or has recently returned to work following a career break can apply.

Further resources

  • Mind the gap: tips on returning to work after a career break.
  • Fit for work: Information on returning to work after long-term sick leave.
Have we missed anything?

Please get in touch if there are any resources we've missed that you have found useful.

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Further reading