Farewell from the outgoing EMCR Forum Chair

Drew Evans says a goodbye of sorts as he leaves his role as our fearless leader

Associate Professor Drew Evans
Chair of the EMCR Forum

Wow, it is 2019 already. I think it is fair to say that 2018 was an action-packed year that seemed to fly by. As the outgoing chair I get to sit down and reflect on what we achieved in 2018. But before I get into that, I want to warmly welcome our 2019 incoming EMCR Forum Executive Chair, Dr Vanessa Wong. In the next edition of Pathways we will hear from Vanessa and some of the plans for 2019. I’m excited to see where the new executive team will take the EMCR Forum, knowing it is in the capable hands of a great group of people (not just the executive, but our Representative Network and all the EMCRs around Australia).

2018 saw a real mix of steps forward and, frustratingly, steps sideways (not sure they were backward steps). Here I want to focus on the steps forward by demonstrating the impact that the EMCR Forum has. In April 2018 we hosted Science Pathways 2018—Diversify Your Thinking in Brisbane. This was an excellent event that focused on all things around diversity—diversity in the workplace, diversity in career pathways, diversity in research. During the event we held a workshop on diversity in competitive selection processes and many EMCRs who attended contributed their opinions and ideas. After the event, several of our executive team packaged the workshop learnings into a short document designed to inform organisations that run competitive selection processes. We shared this document and the ideas in it with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, who were consulting with the sector to improve the diversity of applications they receive to the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. This consultation resulted in a more strategic advertising campaign to see greater levels of diversity in the nominees put forward for the 2019 prizes. The proof will be in the pudding though: when we see the outcomes of the process when winners are announced later this year. However, this is but one example of how the EMCR Forum is contributing to positive change in the sector.

Rather than illustrate more examples of the Forum’s impact, or to dwell on issues of 2018, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone well for 2019. Please stay in touch with us through Twitter @EMCRForum or email emcr@science.org.au. I know that 2018 was a tough year, and for me personally it was very challenging at times. So, I hope that all EMCRs around Australia can lean on each other to make positive steps in your careers in 2019 and then reflect on what a fun and exciting year 2019 will turn out to be. Without the support and help from our many EMCRs around Australia, the EMCR Forum would not be. 

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