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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 recognize the demands on work life balance and offers a range of family friendly policies:

  • Flexible working: Options for flexible working arrangements. 
  • Family leave: Maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave schemes are in operation.
  • Parents and CarersThe University aims to support all employees with parental or caring responsibilities to ensure that they are able to balance work and family life.
  • Child care: The University offers a comprehensive range of childcare services at affordable prices and works closely with various professional bodies to continue to enhance its provision. There is currently a waiting list of about 600 for university childcare. Other useful links include: KidsunlimitedCo-operative ChildcareChildbase , Oxfordshire County Council Childcare Services.
  • Childcare vouchers - you can start paying for these from your pay while expecting a child
  • Sponsored priority places for the university childcare waiting list - the Department has two places this year, which move your child up the list, roughly into the top 100. See Tracy Tompkins, Head of Administration and Finance, to find out if either place is currently free.

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. I look forward to being part of the support group when I return."

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!"



A forum aiming to put people around the Medical Sciences Division in contact, and to give parents the opportunity to share and find a place where to exchange goods and ideas alike.


The forum has been developed in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) following the implementation of their Athena SWAN Bronze Award Action Plan, in consultation with the Divisional Athena SWAN team. The administration and moderation of the forum is shared between DPAG and the Divisional Athena SWAN team.


People are able to post to and follow posts in any of the categories below:

·         Childcare

Disclaimer: Please note that the aim of this section is to provide a useful source of information. ParentsNet cannot accept responsibility for the quality or suitability of any information posted in this section.

·         Looking for a new home (Offered, for sale & wanted)

Equipment; toys; etc.

·         Is this normal?

Parents' offload - Here is where you ask for reassurance that you will sleep again, that teething doesn't last forever, that your teenager will merge into a reasonable adult; etc.

·         Work/life balance

How do you manage? Tips for working mums and dads.

·         Events


ParentsNet is hosted on Weblearn and is subscription-based only. If you would like to sign up to the forum, please email:


Family friendly Departmental policies

The Department is constantly trying to improve the way it supports working parents, through the Athena Swan Panel. Recent changes include:

  • 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

There is a room available, on request, for new mothers who wish to continue nursing, to help them in their return to work. Please see Tracy Tompkins to discuss further details.

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 ‘During 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. 


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 Kia Nobre.