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Women in Science

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Video clip: Anna was awarded an MRC New Investigator Award. When she became pregnant she was glad to find that the MRC paid her six months extra pay for maternity leave.

And I spoke with many people, and the advice I was given almost universally was that I’d be better off getting another grant or Fellowship before I went in for a senior round and there was a particular grant called an MRC New Investigator that seemed to fit where I was in terms of my career stage. So I applied for one of those and I was successful and that grant paid my salary and it paid for a post-doc and there was a generous consumable balance. And that gave me I think a three and half years additional funding and importantly the MRC pays maternity leave. So that gave me in terms of a career life balance that gave me the opportunity to develop my personal life so and family life because I, there was some stability and security.

And so did you have your child at that time?

Yes, while I was on MRC funding.

So they gave you an extra six months was it?

Well the university of Oxford has a very generous maternity policy, you are entitled to six months on full pay which is fantastic, it’s just where that money has to come from, so that, that’s the policy you’re entitled to it, but it, it, somebody’s got to pay it. So I had six months off with my first child, and that was, that was great. I had an income coming in, and I also had a post-doc in the lab who was able to help me manage the research and keep it going whilst I was on maternity leave, and also be a point of contact for my students. At that time I had three. And I used my keeping in touch days to meet up with the team, I used all of them and I used them carefully so that I got the most out of the day.

So who paid your salary, the university?

No the MRC.

They paid it.


So they paid an additional six months?

Yes. Yes.

Oh that’s great.

Yes, so not all funders do that. The MRC and Wellcome do, but funding bodies such as the EU, surprisingly, don’t, and a number of charities don’t either.