COVID-19: RSC offers grants for scientists working from home
--- Up to £500 offered for carers and disabled chemists to tackle inequality ---
--- Examples could include equipment for home-schooling or to help an applicant manage a health impairment during lock-down ---
--- Funding to attend virtual events will continue post-lockdown in anticipation of work culture shift ---
In light of challenges presented by COVID-19, the Royal Society of Chemistry has extended its ground-breaking Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants initiatives to support chemists working from home.
The two funding schemes were established in 2019 to help scientists with caring responsibilities or disabilities to overcome some of the barriers they face, by enabling them to attend conferences, training, or other events to advance their careers.
The need for the grants was highlighted by their Breaking the Barriers report, which highlighted that 78% of chemists think being a parent or carer could cause women to leave their job, or be held back in their careers. In consultation with the community, it became clear the same issues were also affecting male carers and those managing health conditions, and so the two schemes were established to be as inclusive as possible.
Now, after seeing the disproportionate impact that working from home under COVID-19 restrictions is having on some scientists’ work-life balance, the RSC is offering up to £500 for equipment to support these individuals, with each application considered on an individual basis.
Acting CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry Dr Helen Pain said: “The original aim of our Grants for Carers and Assistance Grants was to level the playing field in terms of career development – but sadly COVID-19 has made things worse for some.
“Whether you need equipment to help manage a disability, to help with home schooling or to support a dependent’s health condition – we will consider your application in line with your own circumstances.
“We are particularly hoping to support those who fall through the cracks of existing employer support provisions – such as PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and those working for companies or SMEs with limited resources.”
Since the pilot scheme was launched in May 2019, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) Grants for Carers has supported over 50 scientists in 9 countries to attend events and conferences without having to worry about paying for childcare or respite. The funding, provided by registered charity The Chemists Community Fund, has paid for support including childminders, care workers, nursing help and expenses for children to travel with their parent.
And once government restrictions are lifted the RSC will be accepting applications for carers and those with disabilities to enable attendance at virtual training or online events that are not provided by their employers.
Dr Pain added: “When consulting our community, it has become clear that work cultures have changed due to COVID-19 and this may well continue. Therefore, in anticipation of increased numbers working from home or attending virtual events in the future, we intend to continue offering grants for these purposes for many years to come.”
Professor Marina Resmini, Head of Chemistry at Queen Mary University of London and Chair of the RSC’s inclusion and diversity committee, said: “I am very proud of this initiative and how the Royal Society of Chemistry is being so responsive in supporting its members throughout these difficult and challenging times.”
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Royal Society of Chemistry