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Cymraeg

Supporting return to research

21 February 2008

Dr Isabelle Durance

A University scientist has been awarded an important fellowship supporting women returning to work after a career break.

Dr Isabelle Durance, of Cardiff School of Biosciences, has been awarded the two-year fellowship from the Daphne Jackson Trust to undertake research on the ecological impact of climate change.

Investigations in Dr Durance’s own time - which made news in the journal ‘Nature’ - had revealed that streams and rivers were highly sensitive to climate change effects. This new project, co-funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, will appraise interactions with other environmental problems such as acid rain. It will also examine climatic effects on the way stream organisms use energy, while an important applied component will assess how streamside land-use can be managed to offset climate-change impacts.

Dr Durance worked for 14 years in full-time research in France, but a series of career breaks to raise four children meant inevitably that she, like many other women, had been forced to juggle her career and family life. Through the Daphne Jackson Trust, she now has a unique opportunity to find her path back to full-time research.

"In reading all of their literature, I’d sensed how much the Daphne Jackson Trust had affected other women's lives", said Dr Durance. "Now, as a new Fellow myself, I appreciate, first-hand, this life-changing opportunity to contribute to a problem that has such importance not only now, but also for the world we leave to our children."

Established in memory of Britain’s first female physics professor, The Daphne Jackson Trust is a charitable organisation whose Fellowship scheme supports women returning to careers in science or engineering.

Dr Durance’s award mirrors the University’s own commitment to equal opportunities. Professor Terry Threadgold Pro Vice-Chancellor, Staff said: "It is vital to the University’s success that work-life balance has a key position in our ethos. Dr Durance’s example shows how good scientists can be at the heart of important issues without losing touch with the importance of their own lives."