Welcoming the new Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum Executive

February 02, 2021
The new members of the EMCR Forum Executive (from top left): Dr Vipul Agarwal, Dr Raffaella Demichelis, Dr Mohammad Taha, Dr Mary McMillan, Dr Patrick Taggart, Dr Vanessa Moss and Dr Maithili Sashindranath.

The Academy’s Early- and Mid-Career (EMCR) Forum has announced the new Executive for 2021.

Seven new passionate and engaged EMCRs will help advocate for researchers in Australia through the Forum and all its activities. Dr Yee Lian Chew, Dr Timothy Lau, Dr Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar, Dr Michelle Christie and Dr James Gong are continuing their ongoing terms, bringing seasoned knowledge to the Executive.

Meet the new members

Dr Vipul Agarwal is a researcher at the University of New South Wales. He is passionate about addressing stress-related mental health challenges for EMCRs.

Dr Raffaella Demichelis is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University. She is passionate about science communication and has co-initiated networks in Western Australia that teach software skills to PhD students.

Dr Mohammad Taha is an engineer and scientist at the University of Melbourne. They are dedicated to the inclusion of gender-diverse, non-binary, queer, intersex and transgender people within Australia and particularly the Australian scientific community.

Dr Mary McMillan is a senior lecturer at the University of New England. She is passionate about supporting regional researchers in Australia, championing STEM equity programs and science communication.

Dr Patrick Taggart is a research officer within the Vertebrate Pest Research Unit (VPRU) of the NSW Department of Primary Industries. He is determined to identify sustainable and achievable career paths for EMCRs.

Dr Vanessa Moss is a radio astronomer working on the intersection of astronomy, telescope operations and data science at CSIRO. She is a passionate proponent of accessible and inclusive digital-first interactions and advocates for the development of effective EMCR career structures.

Dr Maithili Sashindranath is a biomedical scientist at Monash University. Dr Sashindranath maintains a strong community focus and actively promotes STEM to children, with a special emphasis on inspiring young girls as a ‘CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools’ partner.

New leadership team

The EMCR Forum will be guided by the new executive leadership team that includes Dr Yee Lian Chew as chair. Dr Timothy Lau and Dr Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar will each take on the role of co-deputy chairs.

Dr Yee Lian Chew is an NHMRC Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong. She enjoys mentoring young researchers from underrepresented backgrounds and is passionate about creating a stronger, more diverse research community.

Dr Timothy Lau is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Adelaide. He is passionate about STEM subjects being more effectively communicated to the younger generation and sees EMCRs as the perfect ambassadors.

Dr Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar is an environmental scientist and lecturer at James Cook University in Townsville. She is an experienced public speaker and a great networker, who can engage with multiple industry stakeholders. She has three children, and is passionate about supporting women, mothers and daughters through their careers, PhD and ECR journeys.

Outgoing members

The Academy would like to sincerely thank the members of the Executive who finished their term in 2020. Outgoing members include Associate Professor Michael Bowen (outgoing Chair), Associate Professor Vanessa Wong (2019 Chair), Dr Emma Beckett, Dr Adrian Murdock, Dr Alexie Papanicolaou, Dr Justine Shaw and Dr Irene Suarez-Martinez.

It was a challenging year for EMCRs. But thanks to the commitment and expertise of these members, the Forum continued to support EMCRs and advance the representation of EMCRs in Australian science through the pandemic.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science