Interview of the Month: The Daphne Jackson Trust (04/2018)

Every month, for you, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here

Our member for April is The Daphne Jackson Trust.

Dr. Katie Perry is the Chief Executive at the Daphne Jackson Trust.


Contact this association: Please contact Katie directly on +44(0) 771 7005239 or or contact the Daphne Jackson Trust Office using the contact details below.
Contact this member:Tel. +44(0)1483 689166 or email
Association website:

You can follow the Daphne Jackson Trust on social media:

Twitter – @DaphneJacksonTr
Facebook – The Daphne Jackson Trust
You Tube – The Daphne Jackson Trust

EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

We are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to realising the potential of scientists and engineers returning to research following a career break of two years or more for family, caring or health reasons.


EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

Our objectives are:
-to enable women (and men) to return to research with confidence after a career break taken for family, caring or health reasons,
-to maintain a talented STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) workforce by offering flexible, individually tailored retaining Fellowships,
-to support equality and diversity in the workplace and
-to develop partnerships that extend the reach and increase the impact of the work of the Daphne Jackson Trust.


EPWS: What is the history of the Daphne Jackson Trust in a few words?

In 1986, Professor Daphne Jackson, the UK’s first female professor of physics and a lifelong campaigner for women in STEM careers, devised a Fellowship scheme for returners and launched a pilot project to help individuals get back to their chosen careers after having a break of two years or more for family, caring or health reasons. Following her untimely death in 1991, the Daphne Jackson Trust was established in 1992 in her memory to continue her inspired work. Since then, the Daphne Jackson Trust has gone from strength to strength, developing this unique Fellowship programme, in which Fellows carry out their research part-time, usually over 2 or 3 years, in a university or research establishment.

Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored retraining programme designed to update skills and knowledge, and support Fellows in their return to research. The Trust has helped over 340 researchers return to STEM research careers.

In 2011, Dr Katie Perry was appointed Chief Executive. Under her dynamic leadership, the Trust’s Fellowship scheme has been recognised as an exemplar model for Fellowships for returners to research careers.

In total, over 100 organisations have sponsored or hosted Fellowships, ranging from research councils, universities and research institutes, learned societies, charities to industrial partners.



EPWS: Could you explain the organisation of your association?

Overall operations of the Trust are controlled by a board of governing Trustees. The Trustees set the overarching policy and strategic guidelines for the charity but the day-to-day operations of the charity are the responsibility of the Chief Executive, who is supported by a small administrative team currently consisting of nine members of staff. The Daphne Jackson Trust is based at the University of Surrey’s campus in Guildford, Surrey.


EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

The Trust is continually increasing the number of sponsoring and hosting organisations year on year. Last year the Trust held its biggest and most successful biennial Research Conference to date at the Royal Society in London in November 2018 (see photo below showing all the current and former Daphne Jackson Fellows at the Conference). A short video was produced at the conference which shows the benefits of Daphne Jackson Fellowships; it is viewable on our YouTube channel with this link: What we do and how we make a difference

The Trust continues to work hard to increase awareness of its work and the issues facing returners and the Chief Executive is frequently invited to speak on issues of equality and diversity or to be on committees discussing these issues – recent examples include a guest blog for CaSE, the Campaign for Science & Engineering and being invited to sit on the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel for the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, REF 2021 (The REF is the system of assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions).

The Trust has also established itself as a source of expertise within the UK policy arena with regard to women returners in scientific careers. Examples include contributions to work undertaken by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (a study into returning qualified female engineers to industry); the Royal Society Diversity Steering Group; the Science Council Diversity Group; and the Commons Science & Technology Select Committee (Inquiry on Women in academic STEM careers). The Trust is a member of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee and the Women & Work All Party Parliamentary Group. It also works closely with the UK Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN Charter initiative.


EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

The Trust’s goals remain constant: to reintroduce talented STEM researchers back into meaningful careers, to engage with key stakeholders and policy makers, to reinvigorate existing partnerships and build innovative new relationships with hosts, sponsors and collaborators.


EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

Currently, the Trust works mainly with UK-based organisations but is keen to explore collaborative opportunities with any of its fellow EPWS members.


EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

Although the Trust’s focus is currently UK-based, we are committed to impacting on the international STEM equality, diversity and inclusion agenda. In these challenging times, it is beholden on organisations such as the Trust to reach out to Europe and the world, maintaining and developing collaborative and new strategic partnerships to the benefit of all.

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