Case Study: Dr Hugh Tuffen

"Lancaster University's flexible, child-friendly policy has allowed me to successfully combine my busy research schedule in volcanology with the joys and responsibilities of parenthood since my son Alec was born in 2008.

"After taking a full month of paternity leave, which the Research Support Office helped me to arrange, I returned to work four days a week, spending one day a week with Alec, and caught up by working occasional evenings and weekends. Both my funding body (NERC) and the University were fully supportive.

"From four months old Alec has attended the Pre-School Centre part-time, which has allowed my partner, who is also a researcher at the University, to also return to work. Now that he is approaching two years old we both spend one half-day with Alec per week, which works well. The pre-school centre is quite excellent, with caring and committed staff, and is within sight of my office window. Alec got to visit Iceland last year to help me with my fieldwork on an extinct volcano and I look forward to many more such trips in the future - but I won't be able to carry him for much longer!"

Dr Hugh Tuffen is a NERC Research Fellow in the Lancaster Environment Centre