Two researchers have been awarded science Fellowships from the University of Lincoln, worth up to £21,000.
The University of Lincoln, UK, established the Back to Science Fellowships as part of its commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter, which supports women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Physicist Fiona Bissett and ecologist Dr Graziella Iossa have been selected to receive the first two awards and, as a result, they are now undertaking research projects alongside academic colleagues in Lincoln’s College of Science.
The Back to Science Fellowships have been designed to support researchers from science backgrounds who have taken extended career breaks, perhaps to start a family, who wish to resume their academic careers.
They consist of a £16,000 bursary with a further £5,000 available for consumable costs, such as travel or equipment. They can be taken over one or two years, to enable part-time work.
Fellows work with experienced academics in established research groups, enabling them to build confidence and develop contemporary research experience. Two scholarships are available each academic year until 2017.
Fiona obtained her undergraduate degree in Computational Physics from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh in 2001.
She will be working on a Computational Physics project with Dr Manuela Mura in Lincoln’s School of Mathematics and Physics. Her research will focus on the computer modelling of carbon-based molecules on surfaces.
Fiona said: “The Back to Science Fellowship is an amazing opportunity. This Fellowship allows me to return to scientific research, and provides me with training while I do it. The cherry on the cake is being able to work flexibly part-time so that my work and family life fit well together. I am really looking forward to the next couple of years and am thrilled to have been chosen.”
Dr Iossa, whose PhD at the University of Bristol focussed on the behavioural ecology of the red fox, went on to investigate animal welfare in wild mammals and co-ordinated a newly founded journal of the British Ecological Society.
Dr Iossa will be working on the reproductive biology of insect eggs, with evolutionary ecologist Dr Paul Eady and paleobiologist Dr Marcello Ruta, in the School of Life Sciences.
She said: “The Back to Science Fellowship has enabled me to return to research, supporting me with a training programme and allowing me to have a work-like balance by working part-time. It is a great opportunity and I am delighted to have been awarded one of the two Fellowships.”
Professor Belinda Colston, University of Lincoln’s Athena SWAN Coordinator, said: “The award of the first Fellowships is an important landmark in the University of Lincoln’s commitment to offer research opportunities to those who otherwise would have found it difficult to return to academia. Successful applicants can look forward to an extensive package of training and development, devised to develop the individuals as rounded researchers enabling them to realise their full potential.”