Updated EMCR definition for Forum membership

Eagle-eyed viewers of the EMCR website may have noticed that the definition of EMCR Forum membership has been updated recently. These updates have been made in consultation with our fellow EMCRs and have been modified to be more inclusive and reflect the variety of career pathways.

The new definition now reads:

Membership of the Forum is open to early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) actively engaged in STEM research, either as a researcher or in a role that substantially supports the delivery of research and that requires substantial research training and experience.

In principle, an EMCR is someone between 0 and 15 years of graduating from a PhD or equivalent (discounting career interruptions) and includes individuals in Australia’s academia, industry, government, public, commercial and not-for-profit sector positions.

The Forum aims to be accessible and inclusive, so there are circumstances where self-identification as an EMCR can be accepted as criteria for what defines an EMCR. The Executive also recognises and is inclusive of alternative career pathways, individuals from underrepresented intersectional communities (as identified by the EMCR forum, Equality Australia, research institutions, government, and funding bodies) who are considering or embarking on a research career and is open to considering membership of researchers without a higher degree but with equivalent professional experience.


This can be seen on the sign-up webpage.

The key changes are to expand on the definition of ‘researcher’ to explicitly provide non-academic examples such as industry, government, public, commercial and not-for-profit sectors and affirm the Forum’s openness to researchers without a higher degree and those considering embarking on a research career.

These changes are critical to better include researchers from underrepresented groups. People from underrepresented groups face various structural challenges to a research career and then more so to obtain a PhD. By clearly stating that the Forum accepts ‘researchers without a higher degree but with equivalent professional experience’, the Forum includes and affirms its support for active researchers from underrepresented groups, such as Traditional Knowledge holders, both inside and outside of academia.

These changes are also essential to encompass the non-linearity of researcher careers. For example, a research career may take you from government to industry and then to academia. While each sector has unique challenges, there are many common ones for researchers across Australia. By including researchers across all sectors, the Forum can better identify and speak to these common challenges.

The Forum strives to be a welcoming environment for all researchers and to play host to the variety of voices that exist within research and society more broadly. The Forum realised that by not explicitly stating that non-academic research roles and people working in research without a higher degree could participate in the EMCR Forum, the Forum was not well representing them. Furthermore, the Forum was unable to engage with the challenges faced across all sectors and by researchers from underrepresented groups as well as the opportunities of research careers outside of academia. The updated EMCR definition aims to resolve these obstacles to the Forum’s central goal of representing early- and mid-career researchers. The changes are already having an impact, as reflected by the current Executive members.


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