Diversity and Inclusion Funds

The latest ISSF award from Wellcome includes funds to support and improve gender equality throughout the College. As such, MVLS has been able to support four new funding schemes:

  • Academic Returners Support Fund
  • Network and Event Fund
  • Carers' Conference Fund
  • Equalities Fund

For more on Gender Equality, Inclusion & Diversity within the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, please visit our webpage.

Funding Opportunities

Academic Returners Support Fund

Recognising the University’s commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter and the Awards held by the University, and College Institutes and Schools, the University has introduced financial support for staff returning from Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental leave.  The College scheme, with contribution from the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), is an extended version with scope for staff from any of our academic career tracks (Research and Teaching, Learning Teaching and Scholarship, Research-only, Research Scientist and Academic Clinicians) in resuming their research or scholarship activity to support career momentum following a period of parental or carers’ leave.


 ***Please be aware, this block of ISSF funding is ending in 2023, and projects awarded between now and then will all have the same end date of 28 February 2023.***



Staff eligible to apply for the Academic Returners Scheme are:

  • Research & Teaching track: all staff at Grade 7 and above
  • Learning, Teaching & Scholarship track: all staff at Grades 7 and above
  • Research-only: all staff including postdoctoral researchers
  • Academic Clinicians: Grade 7/Clinical Lecturers and above

who are granted 4 months or more leave from work within a 12-month period for family/caring reasons (regardless of whether this leave is paid/unpaid or continuous/discontinuous). Such leave would include:

  • Maternity Leave
  • Adoption Leave
  • Shared Parental Leave
  • Any other agreed extended leave period/s that may be granted to allow a member of staff time to attend to family/caring responsibilities

You can submit an application for Academic Returners Support prior to going on leave, during your leave period or within six months of your return.  We strongly suggest that this is something you think about and plan before your leave where possible. For example, this could enable you to appoint staff to continue your research whilst you are on leave.

The award will last for 12 months from the specified start date of the sub-project, after which funds will be recycled if they have not been exhausted.


Submitting your application

  • Please download the MVLS Academic Returners Scheme Application Form
  • Please submit your application as a single PDF
    • You do not need to submit this application via your Institutional Project Coordinators as you would for an external grant.
  • If you need to cost any staff this must be done via your Institutional Project Coordinators. Please append your costing to the application.
  • Please ensure your appliation is signed by both your Director of Institute/Head of School AND the Dean of Research/Dean of Teaching & Learning.
  • If you are a post-doc, ensure you habe included a single-page reseach plan providing a clear direction of travel towards independence.
  • Please ensure you include a 2-page CV with your application.
  • Send your completed application to: MVLS-ISSF@glasgow.ac.uk.  If you do not receive an acknowledgment to confirm receipt of your application, please resend.
  • You can download a copy of the MVLS Academic Returners Support Guidance here.


 What is on offer and what can it be used for?

The funding available is a reserved pot to support a resumption of an individual’s research or scholarship activity to a maximum of £10,000 (this is for all applicants no matter their FTE or career track funding is designed to be flexible for staff and their line managers in arranging a best-fit for the individual’s research or scholarship and the cover required by the School/RI.


For Research and Teaching staff and Research-only staff, examples of what this funding can be used for (not an exhaustive list) include:

  • Research and administrative assistance whilst you are on leave, or upon return to allow for grant writing.
  • Attendance at UK and overseas conferences
  • Knowledge exchange, or research collaboration visits to UK or overseas institutions
  • Small equipment purchases
  • Training (attendance at courses – technical or management/leadership)
  • Contract extension for staff members in your research group (please note you cannot extend your own contract – this is not a bridging scheme)
  • Additional technician support (please note this may only be possible in some cases, and you should speak to the Chief Technician in your Institute about this to see if it is feasible before submitting your application)
  • Where arrangements have been made to cover normal duties (e.g. teaching) during the period of leave, this funding may be used to extend those arrangements to provide for an overlapping period of cover to provide enhanced capacity for research for the returning member of staff (only if approved and organised well before leave is taken to ensure appropriate cover is in place).

Your application must show evidence of your research activity and that the Academic Returners Support would provide benefit to it. You may want to discuss your application with your Head of Institute before applying.


For Learning, Teaching and Scholarship staff, examples of what this funding can be used for (not an exhaustive list) include:

  • Attendance at UK and overseas conferences
  • Scholarship collaboration visits to UK or overseas institutions
  • Support / time to write a grant application
  • Funding to get qualitative interviews transcribed
  • Training (attendance at courses) e.g. Higher Education Academy workshops and development programmes
  • Where arrangements have been made to cover normal duties (e.g. teaching) during the period of leave, this funding may be used to extend those arrangements to provide for an overlapping period of cover to provide enhanced capacity for scholarship for the returning member of staff (only if approved and organised well before leave is taken to ensure appropriate cover is in place).

If you are in the Learning, Teaching and Scholarship track that you should discuss your application with your Head of School and the Dean of Learning, Teaching and Scholarship prior to applying. Your application must show evidence of your scholarship activity and that the Academic Returners Support would provide benefit to it.



Before submitting your application, please ensure you have given a full and accurate breakdown of the costs incurred (up to a maximum of £10,000) and also the timing of when you intend to make your purchase(s).  This is important as the cost is expected to stay within the financial year you commit to in your application.  Applications will be returned if they do not contain this information and they will have to be signed off again by your Head of School/Institute.

Hiring Research Staff/ Buyout of Teaching

Please contact your Project Coordinator for assistance with this calculation and provide evidence of the costing when submitting your application.

Conference/Training Attendance

If you wish to attend a work conference, collaboration visit or training event as part of your Academic Returners Support, you can include in your application costs to contribute towards respite care, childminder costs, grandparents' travel expenses etc. Please note that childcare costs must not be the cost of ordinary child care. Payments will be subject to tax and NI contributions, except where the specific circumstances are confirmed by the Finance Payroll & Pensions team as eligible for tax exempt processing. The fund is not able to cover the cost of pet care.


Assessment Criteria

The Academic Returners Support funding is not an entitlement and decisions will be influenced by both the quality of the application and considerations of affordability (although every effort will be made to fund strong applications). 

Applications will be considered relative to the following criteria:

  1. Clear rationale that the plans outlined should be effective in terms of maintaining and contributing to career momentum in independent research and/or scholarship as appropriate.
  2. The availability and prioritisation of funding under this scheme.
  3. It should be clear how the proposal relates to the individual’s overall research/scholarship objectives, as agreed through the PDR process;
  4. Fit with College/Institute/School strategy.

The application requires the support of the relevant Head of School/Director of Research Institute, and the Dean of Research or Dean of Learning & Teaching (as appropriate). Please ensure their sections are completed before sending your application for assessment.

For post-doctoral researchers, the application must also be supported by the applicant’s Principal Investigator and be accompanied by a research vision document (1 A4 page) outlining how this application will assist the applicant on the journey to independence.

Please email your completed application form and supporting documents including salary costings if required to mvls-issf@glasgow.ac.uk for assessment by the College Operational Group.


Award Decisions and Funding

If successful new budget centre will be set up for you for this award. Once you have notification that this project is set-up, you can spend from it. If awarded, funds will be made available for 12 months from the date your budget centre is set up, or the date you return to work if applied for before leave (and you do not have costs whilst on leave).

Please be aware that you are responsible for any overspend on the budget you have been allocated.  Your School/Institute will be asked to pay the difference if you go over the amount you have been awarded.

For all successful funding awards, recipients will be required to produce a brief report on how the funding was used, and the outcomes from this which may be used in Athena SWAN and ISSF reporting. This report should be provided to the ISSF administration via email mvls-issf@glasgow.ac.uk.


Network and Event Fund

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this fund is no longer running.


This fund is supported by the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund, and is to support networks or events that will support MVLS and Wellcome’s diversity and inclusion policies. Please note, all networks/events should be as inclusive as possible. For more information please see University of Glasgow Equality and Diversity and Wellcome Diversity and Inclusion.

The purpose of these networks should be, in line with University policy, to:

  • provide a forum for discussing appropriate issues of mutual interest
  • provide a networking opportunity
  • raise issues in a safe environment
  • contribute to policy thinking
  • organise social events (must be clearly work/professional related)
  • contribute to staff development activities
  • arrange an annual event to raise awareness and celebrate diversity
  • determine membership and operation of the group (e.g. staff only or staff and students/external groups)

However this is not an exhaustive list as we are keen to see networks develop in their own way, as staff wish.

Carers' Conference Fund


Attending conferences and other training events plays a significant role in the formation of collaboration, ongoing professional development and funding opportunities. The University recognises the additional challenges that those with caring responsibilities (for child or adult dependents) face when trying to attend such events. MVLS has extended the University’s pilot conference carers’ fund to make a direct contribution to the additional caring costs incurred by staff when attending these events. This fund is supported by the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund.


Due to the ongoing pandemic, this fund is no longer running.


Equalities Fund

This funding supports local initiatives and is aimed at driving equality of opportunity for (academic) staff and students.

Please be aware this call is closed.

The ongoing pandemic has caused delays to a range of projects funded by this scheme.


Assessment Criteria

  1. Identifying a specific equalities concern and relating directly to an Institute / School Athena SWAN action plan (minimum silver level – either current award or application);
  2. Focus on primarily supporting academic staff and PGR students, including initiatives aimed at tackling equality of access to research degrees;
  3. Developing initiatives that are self-sustaining and not limited in duration to the funding period or clearly identify plans for supporting the activity longer term
  4. Having the potential to be relevant in multiple areas of the College or University, especially if the initiative could be considered as a ‘Beacon’ activity.

Criteria 1 and 2 are essential, 3 and 4 are highly recommended.


Institute of Cancer Sciences

This application focusing on supporting neurodiversity in the workplace is primarily lead by a team from the Institute of Cancer Sciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine. It also incorporates cross-College and University Services expertise from the School of Education and Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Service (LEADS), respectively, enhancing the likely sustainability and roll out of project developments across MVLS, the wider University and nationally. Given the lack of published literature in this field and the clearly rising unmet need, an academic as well as practical approach has been taken in order to disseminate the learning from this project to as wide an audience as possible.


The main aims of this project are:

1. To enhance visibility and awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and normalise it.

2. To empower staff and students with neurodiversity to understand their strengths and optimal working styles as well as provide resources, information and networking opportunities to maximise inclusion in the workplace.

3. To provide information and resources for staff working with neurodiverse colleagues and students to help harness their strengths and support individual working styles.

In addition, we will link in with the mental health, research culture and wellbeing agenda and associated resources.

Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences

Focusing on career development for Early Career Researchers the goal of this application was to develop the INVITE (ICAMS Network for VIsiTing ECRs) initiative in collaboration with ECRs.


It is acknowledged there is a lack of mid-level researchers in ICAMS e.g. Research fellows. This impacts on the range of career paths, stories and inspiration that our current grade 6/7 staff get exposed to and can network with. To improve this, a management-backed, ECR-driven cross-university visiting program will be established, named ‘INVITE’ (ICAMS Network for VIsiTing ECRs). This will involve ECRs identifying and inviting peers and mid-level scientists (research fellow/early lecturers) from other UK Universities to visit ICAMS. ICAMS- ECRs will select the group of scientists (~5 people from an external University), generate an agenda for the visit (research seminars, career sessions, tours etc) and host the guests (e.g. networking lunch). Following the guests visit to ICAMS, the visit will be reciprocated, where ICAMS ECRs will visit their guests Institute/University and participate in research seminars and career events. This gives INVITE dual benefit. Finally, this structure gives our staff the experience of influencing the seminars at ICAMS and organising such visits.

Institute of Health and Wellbeing

In response to a consultation with older workers in the Institute this award intends to address issues affecting older workers by; increasing line manager awareness of issues affecting older workers; and educating older staff within IHW about their entitlement to protection under the law and the types of University-level support available. The purpose is to bring together existing resources but also respond to the results of the consultation exercise by increasing cultural support across the college.

We plan to do this by:

  • Compiling a self-service, web-based toolkit which would signpost information and resources relevant to older workers. There would be potential to roll this out across MVLS (including Garscube) and the University. This would be highlighted in our institute newsletter HAWKEYE and added to staff induction packs. We also plan to raise awareness of the toolkit at staff away days (see below).
  • Running two awareness-raising workshops for all staff, not only older workers, with line managers strongly encouraged to attend.
  • Developing a network of trained staff volunteers – described in this proposal as “Older Workers Volunteers”, but the most suitable terminology for these volunteers will be investigated as part of this exercise. These volunteers would be willing to point colleagues in the direction of useful information and be a sounding board for anyone concerned about age-related issues, not dissimilar to the roles of Mental Health First Aiders and GU’s Respect Advisors.

Institute of Health and Wellbeing and School of Veterinary Medicine

Focusing on the impact of menopause on staff within MVLS this project will provide an in-depth engagement with women in the College of MVLS (including those across the joint CoSS/MVLS Research Institute: IHW) on the effects of menopause transition in the workplace to provide a robust evidence base from which to develop line manager and employee guidance.

School of Life Sciences

The main aim of this project is to develop an educational resource for students on E&D in the School of Life Sciences. This resource will be integrated into the curriculum so that all students will benefit from a greater understanding of issues they themselves might encounter as Life Scientists.


Resources will be developed and integrated into the curriculum in the second year of Life Science degrees, where all students take common pre-requisite courses. The second year was re-developed in 2018-19 and has a focus on employability and careers. Embedding E&D at this level would enhance and consolidate this topic. A series of case studies around varying careers will be developed to explore E&D issues and delivered via Problem Based Learning sessions supported by online resource. A mobile app will be developed to support in class learning and will allow for wider use of the resource within the University at postgraduate level and externally. The resource will be integrated into the courses between September 2020-March 2021 and assessed as part of the course. 4th year Life Science students will act as a baseline group and be asked to complete an assessment in order to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of the material. Longitudinal approaches will be considered to determine how effective the resource has been in influencing the cohort.

Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology

This application aims to support academic staff and post graduate researchers to achieve a healthier work-life balance by increasing awareness of the associated benefits, arranging training events on the relevant skills and providing easily accessible supporting resources. This will be achieved through creation of a new Work Life Balance Programme comprised of a schedule of training events, mentoring opportunities to line managers and a self-sustaining web-based online toolkit.

As part of this programme, we aim to do the following: 

  • Compile a self-service, web-based toolkit which would function to signpost information and resources to our academic staff and PGRs to support a healthy work life balance culture. Information would include links to relevant University policy documentation such as the Carer’s Policy and existing EOD courses. This toolkit would be aimed at supporting individuals and assisting line managers in supporting their own staff.
  • Provide coaching opportunities for line managers to obtain practical advice for supporting those facing challenges e.g. carers, those with disabilities. It would also be used to signpost options so that our staff are aware of the policies and how they can be applied
  • Engage EOD team and external agencies to provide staff workshops based on the feedback from the initial evaluation eg. Assertiveness training. This may also include an event led by a role model within the Institute on best practices to achieve a healthy work-life balance

School of Veterinary Medicine

This project aims to work toward the goals set out by the Wellcome Trust to take an intersectional approach to equality and diversity and recognises that today’s students will be the managers, researchers and leaders of tomorrow and consequently they will help shape their organisation and workplace culture and be in a position to facilitate equality and diversity in across their profession.  Many of our students, not only during their time at university, but also in future employment will work in international settings, those studying abroad are often immersed in a culture different from their own.

The proposal is to develop several online Moodle based modules that will form a Cultural Competence training package. Working through these modules, student will gain knowledge of issues around equality and diversity including the legal framework, the business case, intersectionality, unconscious bias. They will be encouraged to develop the motivation and willingness to challenge inequality and champion fairness. The project will focus on developing interactive modules and will include a range of media including talking head videos, filmed actors and animations. We have recently developed a bespoke “Unconscious Bias” training resource for Veterinary Medicine Undergraduate Students (funded by the School of Veterinary Medicine) which is now embedded in the year 1 core curriculum. Embedded within the module are a series of filmed scenarios (using actors) demonstrating examples of unconscious bias. This specific project will build on the success of the existing resource and create a suite of complementary resources designed to enhance cultural competence. The resources will cover a range of topics including:

  • The Case for Diversity and Inclusion - focus on the definitions, legal framework and the business case and benefits of multiculturism.
  • Cultural diversity – focus on raising awareness of the ‘Culture Iceberg’ and to foster greater understanding of cultural differences.
  • Microaggressions and stereotype threats - focus on raising self-awareness around these issues and the impact it can have on individuals.
  • Unconscious Bias training – to extend the existing resource (described above). As part of the current proposal we aim to develop additional video scenarios (using actors) that will focus on examples of unconscious bias in the research environment and the student social environment providing guidance of how to address unconscious bias and ‘call out’ instances of ‘unconscious bias.