New Carer Support scheme levels the playing field for researchers


Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard from HR Director Nicole Gower and others on gender equity and brought you the launch of the Gender Equity Strategy. Today, we announce a new scheme geared at supporting early-career researchers and the principles of gender equity and diversity.

Dr Joanne Dawson, Astronomy and Astrophysics Lecturer, watches stars being born.

Or more accurately, she watches how gas in galaxies is processed into stars. “We can’t watch stars being born – these things take millions of years,” she laughs.

Joanne’s research focuses on the evolution of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and how atomic gas are processed into molecular clouds.

“Molecular clouds can be like stellar nurseries,” she says, explaining that dense regions within molecular clouds fuse to form stars.

Nurseries are an apt analogy. As the mother of a two-year-old, Joanne hopes that the new Primary Carer Support for Conference Attendance grant will allow her to speak at an international meeting later this year.

The grant will assist academic staff who have primary carer responsibilities to attend and present at academic conferences. Funding up to $500 is available for a conference within the Sydney metropolitan area, $1000 for a national conference outside the Sydney metropolitan area, and $2000 for an international conference.

Professor Lucy Taksa, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, says the scheme will lead to improved opportunities for the development of  research networks that can increase the likelihood of collaborations for researchers like Joanne. “This scheme will not only enhance researchers’ profiles and reputations but also their research outcomes and careers,” she says.

Professor Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development), says the scheme is a tangible demonstration of the University’s commitment to supporting early-career researchers and the principles of gender equity and diversity.

“It’s vitally important that early career researchers, many of whom have young families, are supported to attend conferences to raise their profiles within their discipline, network, and build communication skills,” she says.

The scheme joins a list of initiatives that support researchers, including the Macquarie University New Staff Grants, Restart Grants, and Research Development Grants.

Says Joanne, “the latter allowed me to budget explicitly for family travel support, which was amazing.”

She looks forward to studying how gas in galaxies is processed into stars, and making further leaps in her research career.

Applications for the Primary Carer Support for Conference Attendance grant may be made quarterly. For more information on the scheme, see here. For any questions, contact Belle Savage on x4877.






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