We are the UK's leading organisation dedicated to realising the potential of scientists and engineers returning to research following a career break

Daphne Jackson Fellowships support women AND men wishing to return to research

Over 90% of Daphne Jackson Fellows are women, but our fellowship scheme is also open to men who have taken a career break of 2 or more years for family, caring or health reasons. Dr Allen Mswaka, a microbiologist, recently completed his Fellowship at Queen's University, Belfast. And in our latest awards round, Dr Julian Daniels, a physicist interested in climate change, has been awarded a Daphne Jackson Fellowship which he will carry out at the University of Hull.

Read on to find out more about Dr Allen Mswaka's successful return to research.

Dr Allen Mswaka had a 6 year career break to care for his young family following relocation to the UK from Zimbabwe. His Daphne Jackson Fellowship, sponsored by the BBSRC, allowed him to return to research to study saprotrophic microbes that are vital for the function and stability of our natural ecosystem and can be harnessed for industrial uses. These microbes need very particular conditions to function effectively, and during his Fellowship, Allen studied how small changes to environmental conditions influence their growth and activity.  

At the start of the Fellowship Allen realised that much had changed in his research field during his career break, but his supervisor Dr John Hallsworth was aware of the challenges he would face and gave clear guidance and support. Allen participated in a number of activities in addition to his research, including writing research articles and grant proposals, and teaching.

‘All these activities have helped to boost my confidence and to build an optimistic view of my future prospects in research and academia. The Daphne Jackson Fellowship has given me the chance to re-discover my passion for science and to experience the cutting-edge of my field.’ Allen says.

Since successfully completing his Fellowship, Allen has published his research and secured a position as a Higher Education Lecturer in Microbiology (Medical & Forensic) in the School of Science at Central College Nottingham, where he plans to continue his research and develop further collaborations alongside his teaching.