Keele Academic Returners' Fund

Keele Academic Returners' Fund Pilot

All University of Keele research-active academic women, who expect to return from Maternity or Adoption Leave, are eligible to apply for additional support, to minimise the impact of extended leave on research activities.  The additional support could be used during the period of leave or upon return to work. The fund is not to be used to cover teaching during the maternity/adoption leave period itself.

  • Through maternity/adoption cover and the Academic Returners Fund, Keele aims to create a working environment which encourages all women academics and researchers to flourish professionally, thus benefitting the performance of the individual, the department and the University.
  • This contributes to the University’s target of improving the representation of women at senior lecturer (target 50% Female by 2021) and professorial level (target 35% Female by 2021) and is part of the Keele Athena SWAN action plan and our plans to address the gender pay gap amongst academic staff.

The applicant will be able to request up to a maximum of £3300 funding. This can be used to support teaching cover, once the member of staff has returned from leave, in order that more time can be dedicated to research. Alternatively, the Fund can support other activities that enable research e.g. administrative or technical assistance, attendance at conferences or small equipment purchase. 


To be eligible to apply for funding, the returning member of staff must fulfil the following criteria. They must:

  • be an existing member of academic or research staff with a clear set of agreed research goals.*
  • have 6 months remaining on their contract following their return from maternity/adoption leave, if they are on a fixed term contract.
  • *If the applicant is on a Teaching Fellow or Education and Scholarship contract please discuss eligibility with Hannah Barjat before making an application. 

The fund is envisaged to help address existing gender inequalities at Keele. Thus, it is not open to male academic returners.

If you feel you do not meet all the eligibility criteria but would like to discuss your circumstances with us, please contact your HR Link Advisor to discuss your case further.

Application Process

Please contact your HR Advisor or Hannah Barjat for a link to access the application form. It is the responsibility of the Head of School or Research Institute to complete the form.