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The Department of Experimental Psychology actively promotes the provision of a family friendly working environment, equal opportunities and career development.

Family Friendly

The University of Oxford and the Department of Experimental Psychology recognise the demands on work-life balance and offers a range of family-friendly policies:

Please talk to Tracy Tompkins, Head of Administration and Finance, to discuss any of the above.

If you are expecting a child, please arrange to discuss with her arrangements for maternity and paternity leave and possible ways you can be supported while you are expecting and on your return. Line managers and supervisors for all staff should also be able to help you think about informal ways of being flexible that work for your team. You are also welcome to talk to a member of the parent support group (below).


Parent Support Group 

An informal support group within Experimental Psychology has been set up with the aim of providing prospective and new parents with someone to chat with informally about how to manage the balancing act between work and home. You can contact any of the following for a chat, and there will be occasional lunches for parents to meet and talk, advertised through the Department mailing list:

Gaia Scerif

"Combining research and parenthood keeps one grounded. There is formal and informal support around most corners - do ask me or other parents for suggestions."

Katie Hewitt

“I benefited from many supportive and understanding colleagues while I was expecting, and the Department has helped to make leaving and the prospect of returning manageable."

Nick Yeung

"The flexibility of an academic job is a real bonus in coping with the challenge of balancing work and parenthood.  It is definitely a challenge -- and the challenges keep coming, for example, settling my younger child recently with my wife returning to work -- but one that I think has actually made me better at my job, as well as much better at drawing clear boundaries between work and home."

Mark Walton

"It's not that hard to work flexibly in the Department as a research fellow. I look forward to talking with anyone who needs to know more, and comparing notes with other parents on sleepless nights!"


Family friendly Departmental policies

The Department is constantly trying to improve the way it supports working parents, through the Athena Swan Committee. We've implemented the following:

  • having seminars and meetings within core hours (10 - 4)
  • setting up the parental support network
  • asking parents for suggestions for how to support them in their career
  • setting up a room for returning mothers who wish to continue nursing
  • arranging more family friendly activities, such as arranging post-doc lunches at different times to accommodate those with children

Please do get in touch with the Panel if you have other suggestions!

Room for Nursing Mothers – contact Tracy Tompkins for more information.


Equal career opportunities 

As part of its Equality Policy the University of Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected. The University embraces diversity amongst its members and seeks to achieve equity in the experience, progression and achievement of all students and staff through the implementation of transparent policies, practices and procedures and the provision of effective support.

The Equality and Diversity Unit works in partnership with University bodies, academic divisions and departments, and the UAS to ensure that the University's goal of the pursuit of excellence goes hand in hand with ensuring freedom from discrimination and equality of opportunity.

Career Development

The University provides a range of training and development courses to support career progression.


Additional links

Please see the 'employment’ pages of the University website for policies on the following areas:

  • Management of working hours
  • Management of leave, from annual leave/holiday to leave for domestic emergencies
  • The arrangements for sickness absence
  • Training and Personal Development Review (PDR)
  • The prevention and management of work-related stress
  • Handling grievances
  • Performance management including disciplinary procedures.




Our Athena SWAN Silver Award was renewed in 2021, recognising our efforts to support gender equality in research and education. Experimental Psychology was one of the first in Oxford to receive a Bronze award in 2012 and was awarded Silver in 2015.

The University of Oxford is a member of the Athena SWAN Charter and holds an institutional Silver Athena SWAN award. 

On 1st October 2015, the department was awarded the Athena SWAN Silver Award, in recognition of the steps we have taken in establishing good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in SET in higher education.

Our Athena SWAN Coordinator is Professor Kate Watkins.