Dr Winkler will be presenting her research on bovine TB at this year's Daphne Jackson Trust conference.
Fellowship helps academic end career break
Betina was asked to speak at the 2013 conference after the support given by the trust and the retraining opportunities available meant she was able to pursue a career in a different line of veterinary medicine.
Betina’s background is in animal production and nutrition. She took a carer break after completing her PhD because of difficulties finding a research position in her chosen field.
She completed her PhD at the University of Plymouth but due to a funding shortages Plymouth suspended a number of courses in the years after Betina completed her PhD. When Betina couldn’t find a research position she took a career break.
Returning to a career in research following her six year break from academia was a challenge.
Betina explained: “It was very difficult to be eligible and to successfully apply for research council and ‘main’ funding bodies grants. Because of the career break I didn’t have the same outputs as other candidates and didn’t have a link to a department in a university.”
Betina returned to academia with a fellowship from the Daphne Jackson Trust, these fellowships focus on retraining individuals and improving employability. The retraining offered by the Trust includes courses on work/life balance, presentation skills, media and PR skills and professional skills.
Betina said the retraining offered with the fellowship enabled her to start research in the area of epidemiology and modelling, an area which she hadn’t worked on before.
As part of the retraining, Betina learned statistical modelling as well as how to use the Geographical Information System (GIS).
She said: “I did a GIS course and I am now using it as part of the work I am currently doing. I did different statistical courses at Exeter and learned how to use the open source modelling programme. My supervisor, Fiona Mathews, also helped me with the type of statistical analysis I need to do.”
As well as helping improve Betina’s employability through retraining, the Trust helped support a more flexible working pattern.
She explained: ”Being part time offered flexibility so I could adjust my family life to work and training opportunities.”
Betina’s current research involves studying the spread of bovine tuberculosis between cattle and badgers; she will be presenting on the topic of bovine TB at the research conference.
She is also doing a pilot study on the habitat characteristics of the snail Galba truncatula –the main carrier of liver fluke.
Betina’s Daphne Jackson fellowship and her contribution towards their conference, helps support the University’s commitment towards the Athena SWAN charter.
This charter helps universities work towards gender equality within the STEM/M disciplines; the Daphne Jackson Trust fellowships help support female academics overcome the personal and structural obstacles that they may face in their career.