Family friendly policies

Here we have collated some examples of “best practice” in family friendly policies within various science institutes within Australia. You might like to take some of these ideas to your own institutes for implementation!

  • Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research gender equity program
    “At the institute nearly 60% of our undergraduate and PhD students are women and about 50% of our post-doctoral scientists are women. At the laboratory head and division head level, the situation is much more sobering: 27% of our lab heads are women, but none of our 10 division heads and only 6% of our professors are women.”
    Some programs include:

    • Cory Fellowship: $1.25 million, 5 year fellowship for new women laboratory heads
    • Childcare support: $15,000 per annum for childcare costs
    • Meeting and travel support: available for postdocs and female laboratory heads
    • Technical support while on maternity leave
    • Additional time for contract renewal: additional 12 months (per child)
  • Monash University “Populate and Publish” maternity leave grant
    “The Faculty of Science is committed to supporting and encouraging its female academics and recognises that taking maternity leave may lead to a reduced research profile with possible adverse affects on the ability to attract research grants and to maintain career progression.”
    The grant

    • is open to women academics returning from maternity leave
    • includes untied grant of $15,000 to be used for any research-related purpose (e.g. teaching relief, research assistance, and the purchase or maintenance of research consumables)
  • UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Childcare Support Fund for Women Researcher
    “The Vice-Chancellor’s Childcare Support Fund is intended to enable women researchers with childcare responsibilities to enhance (attain, sustain or re-establish) their research careers on a national and/or international level.”
    The fund offers

    • grants for women researchers (postdocs & academics) to attend scientific meetings and pay for childcare costs (e.g. employment of child carer or travel for family member)
    • up to $500 for Sydney, $1000 for Australia, and $2000 for international meetings
  • CSIRO’s Ruby Payne-Scott Award
    “Designed to support researchers who have taken extended leave to care for a newborn child following birth. The grant provides support to researchers to re-establish themselves and re-connect with the research underway in their field and related fields of research. Up to $35,000 in year after returning from maternity leave.”
    The award is open to postdocs & permanent staff and can be used to

    • pay for teaching relief
    • hire a research assistant
    • host workshops
    • go on sabbatical
    • host visiting scientist
    • cover costs of family travel and/or nanny
  • AAO Return to Work Scholarship Award
    “A Women-in-Astronomy workshop held in May 2011 focused, amongst other things, on how to retain highly qualified women in their chosen field of Astronomy. As a world leading institution in astronomy, the AAO wishes to be at the forefront of any such targeted initiatives.
    This award:

    • aims to assist staff returning to work after extended absence as a primary carer;
    • is open to any AAO ongoing/ fixed term/ fixed task staff member returning to work after at least 18 weeks of leave as primary carer for either a newborn child, sick relative or an aged parent, with preference given to female researchers;
    • can be used to hire of a research assistant, payi for observing support relief, host workshop, go on sabbatical, conference and travel support, childcare/nanny costs etc.;
    • offers up to $35,000 per annum as a pool of funds to support any qualifying activity.