Fostering Academic Reintegration for Women: Return-to-Research Initiative

Koç University Gender Equality Office, in collaboration with the Vice Presidency for Research and Development (VPRD) and The Center for Gender Studies at Koç University (KOÇ-KAM), has introduced the pioneering Return-to-Research Grant Program in 2023. This program is designed to address the distinct challenges faced by women academics returning to academia after career breaks, aligning with Koç University's commitment to inclusivity within academia.



This grant, newly integrated as an integral component of the well-established Seed Research Fund (KU-SRF) by the VPRD, provides essential institutional support for a seamless transition back to research careers. Recognizing the complexities of academic reintegration following caregiving responsibilities, it establishes a foundational platform for researchers to re-engage with scholarly work and recent publications. Eligibility is extended to women faculty members who have taken a care-related leave of absence for a minimum of 16 weeks within the preceding 12 months. The grant covers necessary expenses for conferences, workshops, and graduate student support, facilitating the researcher's reestablishment in academia. Aligned with Koç University's Gender Equality Plan (KUGEP), this initiative exemplifies the institution’s dedication to fostering a balanced academic environment. By addressing gender-sensitive challenges and equipping female faculty members with vital resources, the Return-to-Research Grant empowers them to recommence their academic pursuits with renewed focus.

The 2023 awardees have been announced institution-wide, and their enlightening interviews shed light on gender equality imperatives and essential support mechanisms. These insights underscore the resilience and determination of female academics, emphasizing the grant's role in promoting equal recognition and opportunities within academia. Through the Return-to-Research Grant, Koç University cultivates an equitable and supportive academic landscape. Awardees contribute not only to knowledge advancement but also inspire future generations of women in academia. By fostering shared experiences, insights, and mentorship, this initiative empowers women researchers to overcome challenges and reclaim their rightful place in academia. The success of the inaugural round ensures the continuation of this award scheme, making it a rare and impactful endeavor that offers robust career support to women academics after their career breaks.


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