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Women in Science

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Video clip: Catherine didn’t manage as many publications from her fellowship as she had hoped because she worked part-time and was caring for her children, but she doesn’t regret her decisions.

Yes, yes, so when I started my fellowship I had two children in the nursery here. One was two and a half and one was six months and I started at three days and then went up to four days and five days as the fellowship went through. I did a bit of clinical work. Basically because my research was quite clinical so I needed the patients. So that was nice. But it was, the timing was difficult and it was that sense of, you know that dread, when you’ve got a series of experiments to go in and you go into the bedroom in the morning and lift them out of their cot and they’re warm and you just go, ‘Oh, no.’ And you stuff them with Calpol and Ibuprofen and pray the nursery won’t phone you [laughs]. And that’s difficult and I remember one time sitting at my desk, there was a particular experiment I needed to do and I was looking at the experimental protocol and it was sort of, you know, eight hours and I only worked seven. So I couldn’t do that and I had to use a different antibody that didn’t have the same specificity and de, de ,de. And so you have moments. It’s not that at all that I had a pervasive sense of, of not being up to scratch or having to work twice as hard or so and so. But there were definite flashpoints, you know, chicken pox, febrile child, abandoned experiment. You know, that sort of thing where you just go, ‘Well the chips are down.’ But I chose those chips. I fully admit that.

Where the children come first?

Yeah, and it would be me not a nanny. And I would do exactly the same again without hesitation. But you know the price, yes I suppose, I suppose you do pay a price but it’s, you know, worth paying.

But you did finish that fellowship?

I did finish that fellowship. I didn’t publish as much as I had hoped nor did I publish as much as perhaps I might have done, had I not had children. But I think that’s because I would have been doing full time, and so on and so forth. And I don’t begrudge it or myself or them that at all. And great things came out of the Fellowship that were, you know, collaborations and friendships and experiences that actually may not be ref returnable but have led to, to greater opportunities.