Reviving Medical Research Careers

The importance of flexible Fellowships in supporting Medical Researchers in advancing healthcare

Medical research is crucial in driving advancements in healthcare by uncovering innovative treatments, therapies, and medications that can improve and extend the lives of individuals suffering from various diseases and conditions. Those driving medical research enable greater understanding of the human body and the complexities of diseases – leading to more accurate diagnoses and prevention strategies.

However, researchers can often be faced with having to take a break from their career through no fault of their own (family, health or caring reasons). The pace science and technology moves on can lead to researchers needing retraining and support to return, with depleted confidence levels.

Lack of flexibility in work can also have significant drawbacks. In a paper by Beth Cornell, published by HEPI, a staggering 70% of PhD students had left academia three and a half years after graduating, with the most common reason being lack of work-life balance (20%). At the Daphne Jackson Trust, with the help of our sponsors, we have aided the return of researchers to their medical field through flexible, part-time Fellowships.

Supporting success stories

While caring for her children and father, Dr Katherine Baxter took a career break of six years, returning to research with the help of the Daphne Jackson Trust and Medical Research Scotland (MRS). This collaboration provided Katherine with the support and time needed to retrain and regain confidence in her research skills:

Having three years to retrain and develop my capabilities as a researcher has been invaluable and I am now more confident in my abilities and research skills.”

Katherine’s interests are in biofilms – an extracellular substance produced by microorganisms to protect themselves from their external environment. She’s investigating how they contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to further understanding that will help develop treatments to tackle biofilm-associated disease.

Making a difference

Dr Kirsty Roberts took a career break for family reasons – she’s now a proud Mum of two boys after a research break of around four years, which was longer than planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kirsty is researching the mechanisms underpinning menopausal hot flushes, with the aim of furthering understanding of physiological mechanisms and helping to design effective treatments in the future.

Before taking her career break, Kirsty had no idea that this kind of support to return to research was available, and feared it would be difficult. She was therefore grateful to her former PhD supervisor for sharing details he’d seen on the BHF website, which led her to apply and be awarded the fellowship. Kirsty felt supported by both organisations:

“I feel honoured to have been awarded the BHF Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship and to have the support of two fantastic organisations. As a Daphne Jackson Fellow the support and retraining opportunities are extremely beneficial and reassuring in helping you to get ‘back on track’.

I had a health issue at the very start of my Fellowship and was worried about the impact this may have on my programme, but I can honestly say that the support I received from my Fellowship advisor, the Daphne Jackson Trust and the BHF was excellent and helped to ease my fears and take things one step at a time.” 

Kirsty was awarded Highly Commended Poster at the Daphne Jackson 2022 Conference.

Sharing the opportunities

The Daphne Jackson Trust, with support from their sponsors have aided 470 research returners to their field. The Trust is in the fortunate position of currently being able to offer 7 sponsored Daphne Jackson Medical Research Fellowships (see table below).

Help us to continue to support Medical Research returners by doing these three things:

  1. Tell three people about Daphne Jackson Fellowships
  2. Please share the below opportunities with your network
  3. Find out more about how our Fellowships make a difference by reading our Impact Report and by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Here are all our current Medical Research Fellowship Opportunities:

Fellowship Opportunity Closing date Remit of research Location & Duration
The Aisling Burnand Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship sponsored by LifeArc Monday 2nd October 2023 This Fellowship is intended for researchers with specialisms in; Motor Neuron Disease, chronic respiratory infection, rare diseases, antimicrobial resistance, neglected tropical disease, emerging viral threats and paediatric oncology. Location: The Fellowship may be held at LifeArc’s scientific research facilities in Stevenage or Edinburgh or one of the academic centre partnering with the translational challenges.
Duration: 3 years, part-time
Medical Research Scotland – Two Fellowships available Monday 2nd October 2023 Two Fellowships available in medical research that addresses a question relevant to human health or disease – the causation, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or the development of medical or surgical appliances including hearing aids. Location: At any Scottish University or recognised Research Institution
 3 years part-time
British Heart Foundation Monday 2nd October 2023 Cardiovascular research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Location: Held at any UK University
 3 years part-time
Queen Mary University of London – Two Fellowships available Monday 16th October Two Fellowships available for individuals returning to research within the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry’s strategic research areas; molecular and translational cancer research – cell biology, genomics, immunology, neuroscience, and trauma sciences – cardiovascular, inflammation and endocrine research leading to therapeutic innovation – preventive medicine, epidemiology, psychiatry, clinical trials methodology and statistics, global public health, primary care, mental health, women’s health – clinical, epidemiological and public health research in dentistry – medical education and pedagogical research within the fields of health and medical education. Location: Hosted at Queen Mary University of London
 3 years part-time
ME Research UK Monday 16th October In a research area within; biomedical sciences, whole organismal biology, molecular genetics, infection and microbiology, structural biology, biological chemistry Location: Any UK University or Research Institution
Duration: 3 years part-time


Related posts

12 January 2015 Link Image

Are you looking for an opportunity to return ...

Have you had a career break for family, caring or health reasons? Would you like to return to your research ...

12 January 2015 Link Image

Daphne Jackson Trust training courses are key to ...

A key element of the Daphne Jackson Fellowship is to help rebuild individuals' self-confidence, which can be lacking following a ...

12 January 2015 Link Image

Support the Daphne Jackson Trust in 2015

We rely on the generosity of sponsors and donors to support STEM professionals wishing to return to their careers with ...

12 February 2015 Link Image

Research carried out by Daphne Jackson Fellow identifies ...

Dr Frances Pearl, a Daphne Jackson Fellow 2011-2013, has analysed genetic data from 5000 cancerous tumours to identify potential new ...

12 March 2015 Link Image

Teresa Anderson MBE, to chair Daphne Jackson Trust’s ...

The Daphne Jackson Trust is delighted to announce that Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, University ...

12 April 2015 Link Image

Interview with Daphne Jackson Fellow in The Biochemist ...

Dr Marjorie Gibbons is returning to research at the University of Bath with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship sponsored by the ...