Women Academic Returners' Programme (WARP)

All women at the University of Sheffield are able to have maternity cover for all or part of their role whilst on maternity leave. The Women Academic Returners’ Programme provides additional support if needed, either during the period of leave or upon return to work, to minimise the impact of extended leave on research activities. This programme is open to women academics and researchers across all faculties at the University of Sheffield.

This programme can be accessed if women need additional support, over and above their maternity cover, to keep their research on track, thus enabling continued career development.

  • Through maternity cover and WARP the University aims to create a working environment which encourages all women academics and researchers to flourish professionally, thus benefitting the performance of the individual, the department and the University.
  • This contributes to the University’s target of improving the representation of women at professorial level.

Women will be able to request up to £10,000 funding to support an additional post, or up to £5000 to support other research related activity.

If successful applicants change their name, leave the University of Sheffield or need to make changes to their WARP application, they are obliged to inform the WARP team, please email warp@sheffield.ac.uk

Please note that the WARP funding runs using a limited annual budget and we may not be able to approve your application based on the number of employees already using WARP.  (If there is an uninformed delay when using your WARP funding, we may not be able to approve your requisitions).


To be eligible to apply for WARP funding, the returning member of staff must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be an existing member of academic or research staff
  • Completed a 'Maternity Leave Planning Template' which has been agreed between you and your line manager (a template is available to download on the right of this page)
  • Be taking maternity leave for a minimum of six months
  • If on a fixed term contract, have 6 months remaining on their contract following their return from maternity leave.

If you feel you do not meet all the eligibility criteria but would like to discuss your circumstances with us, please contact us at warp@sheffield.ac.uk to discuss your case further.

Further guidance about WARP is available here

Application Process

1. Please complete the WARP application form.

2. Please send your 'Maternity Leave Planning Template' and 'About the Job' (if applicable) documents to warp@sheffield.ac.uk

3. You need to ensure that your Head of Department provides HR with a statement of support for your application, click here for the Head of Department WARP application form.

Please note that we can only process an application once we have received both applications, the 'Maternity Leave Planning Template' and 'About the Job' (if applicable) documents.

Please contact warp@sheffield.ac.uk if you have any queries regarding the WARP application process.