I am applying for a fellowship that would allow me to start an independent research group--something between post-doc and faculty levels. Part of this application requires that I explain my choice of host university. My question is whether I should include family reasons alongside professional ones in my justification statement.
The university I'm hoping to work at is strong in my general field, though the academic fit could be a bit better (e.g. more faculty with complementary interests, more labs with relevant equipment/resources I could use). The main reason I'm choosing this university is because of family reasons: my partner has a good job at this university already, and since we have a small child together, I can't reasonably move elsewhere without totally disrupting my entire family.
After hitting the standard points (the strengths of the university and department, relevant faculty interests, professional development opportunities), should I also mention my family situation?
On the one hand, I'm worried that some reviewers might find it inappropriate for me to include personal asides.
On the other hand, I think including this aside is a good place for explaining why I have a bit of a gap in my CV (I took family leave and am looking to return to academics), and why I'm choosing a place that the reviewers may think isn't ideal. My CV mentions that I took family leave, but of course this small line item could easily be missed. I'd normally use my cover letter to explain my situation, but in this case cover letters get stripped before the application reaches the reviewers.
If it's relevant, this is in the UK, in the natural sciences.