Returning Carers Fund

The fund is deliberately designed to be flexible. Applicants can apply for grants normally up to £5k, or in exceptional circumstances up to an absolute maximum of £10k, which can be used in whatever way they feel will best support them to return to research and develop their career.

Previous applicants have used their grants for a variety of activities, including attending conferences and training sessions, funding research collaborators to travel to Oxford, employing short-term research or administrative assistance and funding teaching buy-outs. Read about one applicant's experience in this blog.

The scheme is open to all members of academic and research staff employed by the University, including those holding joint appointments, but excluding those who have achieved full professorial title or who hold statutory chairs. The scheme is open to all those (women and men) who have either:

  • taken a single break of at least six months for caring responsibilities in the two years prior to the closing date for applications; or
  • taken two or more breaks of at least 6 months each in the five years prior to the closing date for applications.

Those on a fixed-term contract should hold a contract of employment for a sufficient period beyond the date of their application to permit the grant to be spent and to have an impact that increases the likelihood of them securing a new contract. Applications must be discussed and agreed with the staff member’s supervisor or Head of Department or Faculty Board Chair.

Further information is given in the guidance document (PDF). 

Applicants should read the full criteria and submit their application using the application template. For further guidance see the example applications below.

The deadline for applications is Friday of 5th week each term. In 2021-22, deadlines are:

  • 11 November, 2022
  • 17 February, 2023
  • 26 May, 2023.

Please note that applications for retrospective payments are not allowed. If you wish to apply for funding for an activity that will incur payment before the application deadline, or if you have any other queries about the scheme, please contact your Divisional Office:

These example applications are provided to give you guidance on the type of information and level of detail that you should include in your application:

On a personal level, attaining this award boosted my confidence and encouraged me to apply for other awards.
Having a self-funded project really gave me direction and enabled a smoother return to independent research after such a long break.
I am convinced that I was more productive in my research than I otherwise would have been.