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Stéphanie Swarbreck

Stéphanie Swarbreck

Swarbreck,Stephanie.jpgI joined the Department of Plant Sciences in 2011 as an EU International Reintegration Fellow in Dr Julia Davies’ group. I took a period of maternity leave in January 2013 until the end of my initial contract in May 2013. While on maternity leave, I was awarded a Broodbank Research Fellowship. The Fellowship is funded by a Department Trust Fund with the object of furthering research in food preservation. I currently work in the group of Prof. Howard Griffiths on the Cambridge-India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen (CINTRIN) project.

I opted to start the Broodbank Fellowship in July 2013, and was fully supported by the Department in being employed on an 80% part-time basis. External funding to support a full-time research assistant for one year to support me on my return from maternity leave was obtained by Julia Davies, and this greatly helped in my return to the lab. I enjoyed the flexibility of working part-time while my daughter was still very young, but decided to increase my hours to full-time from January 2015, since my daughter was settling very well at the nursery. I now have an informal flexible working arrangement, which allows me to leave early some days to pick up my daughter from pre-school and help supporting family life.

The Department has helped in a number of ways. I was delighted that my application for a University Returning Carer grant was supported; this was awarded in 2013. I used it to purchase equipment to make my working environment more ergonomic. While my time in the Department has sometimes been more restricted because of my child caring responsibilities, I am still very involved in the Department’s life, including sitting on the Equality and Diversity Committee. Until recently I was involved in setting up the postdoc committee and building a strong postdoc community within the Department. This was an excellent opportunity to network and to continue building my research profile.

I feel very fortunate to work in a Department where family life is highly valued and flexible working opportunities are provided. This has enabled me to pursue my career while caring for my daughter, allowing me to achieve a good work-life balance.

The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.