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Fellows returning to Physics

Dr Julian Daniels

Prior to my career break I was the National Scientific Coordinator for an international project examining the effects of global climate change on sustainable water resources in the Jordan River Basin. Before that that, I worked as a scientist on ultra-violet space astronomy missions such as the ROSAT Wide Field Camera, the Mid-Course Space Experiment and the Far Ultraviolet Space Telescope; and also in the field of hyper-spectral and micro-wave remote sensing.

After a lengthy absence due to injury, I re-ignited my scientific career through a Daphne Jackson Fellowship as a physicist aiming to improve the Power Conversion Efficiencies of perovskite based solar cells, whilst training in associated solar cell fabrication and characterization techniques. The highlight of my research so far has been initiating collaborative investigations with the Chemistry and Electrical Engineering Departments. Perovskite solar cell research is currently a very hot topic in academia and has significant commercial potential.

Host: University of Hull
Sponsors: University of Hull & EPSRC


Dr Anita Dawes

After completing my PhD at UCL in 2003, I worked as a postdoc at The Open University in the field of astrochemistry, applying laboratory molecular physics, physical chemistry and radiation physics to the study of interstellar and planetary ices. I left research in 2006 to become a mother of three children. Though returning to research seemed daunting and impossible after a seven year break, I was thrilled to be back in the lab thanks to being awarded a Daphne Jackson Fellowship at the OU in July 2013. I have since been working part time, continuing research in laboratory astrochemistry whilst rebuilding my confidence as a researcher and updating and learning new skills. The highlight of my Fellowship was leading a team on experimental runs at the ASTRID2 Synchrotron Facility in Denmark, with the aim of using vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy to study the physical and chemical properties of ices in star forming regions.

Host: The Open University
Sponsors: The Open University & STFC


Dr Johanna Jarvis

I completed my PhD and was working as a management accountant when my career break started. After a break of 5 years, I decided to return to research when my son starting full-time education. My research utilises the Open University’s PIRATE telescope facility to undertake photometric follow-up of SuperWASP candidate transiting exoplanets and varying luminosity objects identified by the galaxy surveying Gaia satellite. This requires me to regularly travel and undertake training associated with telescope hardware, observatory software and Python programming. The support of the Daphne Jackson Trust and their emphasis on looking at future research potential in a part-time role was essential. They have also negotiated, on my behalf, an increase in my hours mid-Fellowship, thus enhancing my career prospects. Regaining my independence and personal identity has been a highlight of this Fellowship. It has had a very positive effect on my confidence and made the prospect of an on-going career in astronomy a realistic prospect.

Host: The Open University
Sponsors: The Open University & STFC


Dr Maria Mendes Marcha

I have been working in the Cosmology group at the University College London since November 2014. The aim of my Fellowship is to contribute to the task of obtaining cleaner samples of millions of galaxies which lie at the core of some of the surveys designed to constrain the nature of Dark Energy. Separating stars from galaxies may seem an easy enough task, but considering the volume and accuracy which is necessary to achieve, it becomes clearer that the task requires ever evolving methods and computational techniques.

I feel it a privilege to have the chance to return to research in such a reputable institution and in such an exciting field of astrophysics. It is especially motivating when this return happens after a long break away, and when it takes me into a considerably different area of expertise. Though no stranger to star/galaxy separation issues, my previous scientific career in studying selection effects in samples of radio-loud Active Galactic Nuclei dealt with significant less 'intimidating numbers' of objects.

Host: University College, London
Sponsor: Royal Astronomical Society


Dr Matt North

Dr Matt North is a Daphne Jackson Fellow with the Astrophysics group at the University of Surrey. He completed his PhD at UCL back in 2008 whilst caring for his then 9 month old daughter and this began a 7.5 year hiatus from the science he loved. On discovering the Daphne Jackson Trust was willing to support his attempt to return to Astrophysics, he timed his Fellowship application to coincide with his second daughter starting school. In August of 2014 he was awarded a 3 year (2 years P/T + 1 year F/T) STFC funded Fellowship and is now enjoying his postdoctoral research into the dynamics of young massive star clusters and exploring the use of runaway stars as probes of the initial conditions of these massive stellar nurseries. The Fellowship is providing Matt with a unique opportunity to re-skill and publish his work, which will be important for his future in Astronomy.

Host: University of Surrey
Sponsor: STFC


Dr Jharna Paul

After finishing my PhD in Measurement and Instrumentation Engineering at City University London and a period of research modelling optical metamaterials at University of Glasgow (UoG), I worked for a year as a physics teacher. I then took a four year career break to bring up my two children. The Fellowship has provided me with a unique opportunity to return to work and develop my career in scientific and engineering research.

With support from the Trust and my supervisor at UoG, I developed a project on plasmonic nanoantennas for the detection of proteins in water. Proteins are vital for cell function and their detection is important to understand biomaterial behaviour, and early diagnosis and cure of disease. I am learning new modelling and fabrication tools using the advanced facilities at the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre in UoG. I am looking forward to continuing my research in the Advanced Optical Sensing Applications.

Host & Sponsor: University of Glasgow


Dr Palat Ushashree

Ushasree was awarded a Daphne Jackson Fellowship in 2014 at Northumbria University after a career break of four years to raise her children.  Before 2010, she worked in different areas of materials science, internationally.  At Durham University, she collaborated with Kromek Ltd., a spin-out company from Durham University, to develop high energy radiation detector by photolithography.  In 2001, she was awarded the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in Japan for two years.  The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India awarded her a Senior Research Fellowship, to continue her doctoral research.  

Ushasree’s Fellowship research is on quantum dot solar cells during which she has the opportunity to do some teaching and training in Higher Education. Northumbria University has the UK’s first photovoltaic façade on campus. She believes that Daphne Jackson Trust is “A Must Trust” for all women like her in STEM.

Host & Sponsor: Northumbria University