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Family-Friendly Info


The SPACE network supports members of the University with caring responsibilities for children or other dependents. 


Family-friendly leave is available to assist employees with their work-life balance. Further information about all the policies is available on the central HR website via the following links:

Returning Carers Scheme

Postdocs are eligible to apply for the Returning Carers Scheme, which offers funds to support academic activity and build up the research profiles of those going on, or returning from, a period away from work (total absence or part-time/reduced hours). 

Requests for funds should not normally exceed £10,000 in total, based on direct costs (although exceptional cases for support up to £20,000 may be considered). The cost of consumables should not exceed £3,000 and should receive detailed justification in an applicant’s proposal.

This scheme has been used to fund:

  • Attendance at conferences in the UK and overseas
  • Short-term research support, for example, to generate preliminary data to support research grant applications
  • Teaching 'buy-outs' for college or departmental teaching
  • Travel and accommodation costs of research collaborators coming to Cambridge (to reduce the need for the returning carer to travel and to support work-life balance)
  • Indirect childcare expenses, for example, the travel and accommodation expenses of the person looking after an accompanying child while the researcher/academic attends a conference overseas
  • Secondments or short term research assignments (for example to an external laboratory)
  • Training to support career development
  • Support for assistance in grant writing
  • Equipment purchase to support independent research

Flexible working

The flexible working policy for University staff has been developed with the intention of helping members of staff to balance their commitments and interests outside work with their contractual duties and responsibilities. Flexible arrangements can include: part-time or term-time working, job share, compressed or annual hours, staggered hours or flexi-time.

Other sources of support


Childcare vouchers, access to two nurseries and a holiday play scheme are available though the Childcare Office to help support University employees with childcare responsibilities.

The Childcare Information Adviser can also help with child-related issues.

My Family Care

This initiative provides employees with access to emergency childcare, and a network of adult and eldercare across the country. The services offered include:

  • Emergency childcare: to find nannies, nurseries and childminders at short notice
  • School holiday cover: to provide access to holiday clubs nationwide
  • Back-up adult and eldercare: to access domiciliary care for elderly relatives, or an adult dependent.

Full terms and conditions, together with the relevant costs to University employees are available online.


The University runs its own Accommodation Service to assist University staff, both current and those arriving to take up posts, in finding suitable accommodation.