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Human Resources


The Career Support Fund (CSF) is a short-term fund, limited to the current academic year (2020-2021) and is designed to support employees whose careers have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It replaces the Returning Carers Scheme (RCS) for this academic year. The CSF eligibility criteria outlined below includes those who have taken a three month break due to caring responsibilities within the last five years.

The CSF will be accessible to all employees who can evidence that their career has been or is being disrupted as a direct result of the pandemic, or due to a career break for caring responsibilities under the terms of the RCS. Funding through the CSF can be used to mitigate past adverse impact or potential anticipated future adverse career impact. Grants may be awarded of up to £10,000 (typically no more than £5,000) to support award holders with their career development.

There is widespread recognition that the impact of the pandemic is being experienced most prominently by carers, members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and disabled people.

Eligibility Criteria

The CSF is open to all employees of the University.

Applicants will be required to evidence one or more of the following in the application form:

  • a significant increase due to COVID-19 in childcare responsibilities (of any age) including home-schooling for an extended period of time (more than three months)
  • a significant increase due to COVID-19 in caring responsibilities for an adult dependent for an extended period of time (more than three months)
  • prolonged COVID-19-related illness or shielding (including issues affecting mental and physical health)
  • COVID-19-related impact of disability and lack of disability adaptions while working from home
  • temporary COVID-19-related return to full-time clinical duties
  • compassionate leave due to COVID-19 meaning the loss of an immediate family member or multiple close family members

OR meet the current eligibility criteria under the terms of the Returning Carers Scheme:

  • a return to work from a break in their career for at least three months for caring responsibilities in the last five years
  • a current break in their career for caring responsibilities
  • are due to go on a break in their career for caring responsibilities
  • have been working part-time or reduced hours because of caring responsibilities

In ALL cases:

The disruption may have a meaningful adverse career impact over the longer-term without additional support from the University. ‘Meaningful adverse career impact’ may include:

  • staff who may be at greater risk of not securing another contract,
  • staff who may have missed out on significant career advancement opportunities, or
  • those who may demonstrate lost career momentum.

Please note that the scheme is not a general hardship fund. For information about University support available in this regard please see the Coronavirus Employee Welfare Loan Scheme and the Staff Hardship Grant Scheme (COVID-19)

Priority will be given to those who have not received any other COVID-19 mitigation support.

Examples of Potential Spend

Examples of potential spend include (but not exhaustive):

  • training or professional development
  • conference attendance (including online) to enable applicants to re-establish their research profile
  • short-term research support, for example to generate preliminary data to support research grant applications
  • small scale critical equipment purchases for research purposes
  • IT equipment including ergonomic equipment where not covered by the University’s homeworking expenses policy

The CSF cannot be used to fund the following:   

  • personal tuition of child dependants
  • IT equipment to support homeschooling
  • partner or legal guardian's salary costs for child dependants
  • direct childcare or elder care costs
  • books/toys or similar for child dependants
  • financial aid
  • food and food delivery costs
  • WiFi packages
  • complementary and alternative therapies
  • to request an extension of one’s own contract of employment
  • costs associated with hotel quarantine

Funds are required to be spent by 30 September 2021.

Application Timetable

There will be three open calls for applications in February, April and June 2021:





Round 1

15 February 2021

15 March 2021

April 2021

Round 2

15 April 2021

15 May 2021

June 2021

Round 3

15 June 2021

15 July 2021

August 2021

How to Apply
Click here for the Career Support Fund application form

The Head of Institution (or nominated deputy) will be required to sign the application to confirm that the application is in line with the aims of the Scheme, that the items requested are of personal benefit to the member of staff, that there is no other source of funding and (if relevant) that there will be no adverse effect on colleagues.

The application form is divided into six sections:

Section A

Contact details, job title and Institution 

Section B

Reasons support is required and contextual information to support the application.

Section C

Detailed financial breakdown of the support required

Section D

Declaration that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria

Section E

Head of Department / Institution (or nominated Deputy’s) Signature. 

Section F

Equality data that will be used for monitoring and reporting purposes only.

Information provided will be used to assess the application against the eligibility criteria. Applicants are therefore advised to ensure that all relevant information is included. The level of personal information requested is to enable the Panel to target support to those with the greatest need. It is not obligatory to provide this information but doing so will strengthen the application.

Once the application has been submitted, an acknowledgment e-mail will be sent to the applicant.


In the first instance, all applications will be reviewed and eligibility verified by the CSF Coordinator.  Applications up to £2,500 will be assessed by HR Business Manager, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Section and the HR Assistant Director (Strategy).  Applications that are deemed complex or requests for large sums (in excess of £2,500) will be referred to the CSF Panel for assessment.

Applications for funding will be overseen by a Panel chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations. If there are more eligible requests than there is available funding, priority will be given based on the severity of past adverse impact of the disruption and the severity of potential anticipated future adverse career impact.


Applicants will be notified of the outcome, usually within four weeks after the application deadline. Successful applicants will be informed of the funding amount, when funds will be released and advised on next steps. 

Please note that all funds received from Rounds 1, 2 and 3 must be spent by 30 September 2021.

Further Information

Ordinarily it is expected that one award will be made to an individual. However, exceptionally, due to changing circumstances, if sufficiently new disadvantage satisfying the purpose and criteria of the scheme can be demonstrated, a new application from a previous or current award holder may be made.

Applicants of successful award holders are expected to immediately inform the CSF Coordinator if they receive additional funding or other financial support that reduces or eliminates their need for support from this scheme.

Where funding for temporary resource has been agreed via the CSF, approval to recruit will not be required under the Recruitment Protocol.


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