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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.