The Daphne Jackson Trust was established in 1992 in memory of Professor Daphne Jackson – the UK’s first female Professor of Physics.  Daphne devised a Fellowship scheme in the mid-1980s to support talented individuals wanting to return to research after a career break. This scheme has, and continues to evolve, providing vital support that enables returning researchers to upskill and gain the confidence they need to successfully re-enter research careers. Eight of the Fellows we helped have since gone on to become professors in UK Universities, and four of them – Professor Hilary Hurd, Professor Margaret Rayman, Professor Andree Woodcock and Professor Pia Ostergaard continue their research today.

Over the years, the Daphne Jackson Trust has gone from strength to strength. It has increased the number of Fellowships awarded and built new and stronger partnerships with an ever-widening range of organisations. In 2011, Dr Katie Perry was appointed Chief Executive and since then she has made significant improvements to the profile, governance and operations of the Trust.

In 2020, the Daphne Jackson Trust extended its’ remit to cover all areas of research. This includes all STEM subjects, the arts, humanities, social sciences and all other related disciplines. This now enables the Trust to work cohesively with all individuals and organisations across the research ecosystem.

As the Daphne Jackson Trust enters its third decade, the importance of maintaining a diverse and talented workforce is more important than ever. With increasing support from our sponsors and host organisations, the number of Fellows the Trust is to help continues to grow year on year. Now diversifying to Research Support Fellowships: for technicians, technologists, lab assistants, analysts, machine specialists or similar, in any form of research, as well as those looking to move into these roles.

Biography of Professor Daphne Jackson

Daphne Jackson graduated in Physics from Imperial College in 1958. She moved to Battersea College of Technology (now the University of Surrey) where she began her research career in theoretical nuclear physics. She was awarded a PhD in 1962.

Professor Jackson was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey in 1971 – the first female Professor of Physics in the UK. Later, she became Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University. As well as being a distinguished physicist in nuclear, medical and radiation physics, she served on several boards and committees at the Institute of Physics, the Women’s Engineering Society, the University Grants Committee, the Board of the Meteorological Office and regional and district health authorities.

She was a lifelong campaigner and met many talented individuals reduced to taking low-level jobs because they needed retraining to return to the research workplace after a career break – training that was not easily available.

Determined to address this, in 1985 Daphne devised a Fellowship scheme for returners and launched a pilot project to help individuals get back to their chosen careers after having a family, caring for elderly relatives or because of their partner’s relocation. In 1987 she was awarded an OBE in recognition of this work. Daphne sadly died in 1991 and the Daphne Jackson Trust was established the following year in her memory to continue her inspired work.

The Daphne Jackson Trust continues to evolve today. We have now helped almost 500 researchers return to their chosen careers.