What have we been up to?

By Mari Kondo

Early- and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Program Manager, Australian Academy of Science

Mari Kondo. Photo: supplied

We’re just releasing the first edition of EMCR Pathways 2023, but the Executive Committee members have been busy! The following is a selection of the work that has been conducted on behalf of the Forum in the first six months of 2023.

As 2022 Chair Associate Professor Raffaella Demichelis mentioned, check out the shiny, new, EMCR Forum 2022 annual report! This is the first Forum annual report since the COVID19 pandemic. Moving forward we hope this can be a regular publication.

Engagement opportunities

2023 Chair, Dr Mohammad Taha, represented EMCRs in:

  • a virtual roundtable discussion with Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, on revitalising Australia’s vision for science and research (31 March)
  • ARC Discovery Program Grant Process Review online consultation sessions (4,8 and 27 April)
  • the Pathway to Diversity in STEM review dialogue starter discussion led by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (2 June).

Additionally, Forum Executives represented STEMM EMCRs in roundtable discussions with:

  • Professor Christina Twomey, ARC Chief Research Officer, to discuss the ARC Discovery Program Grant Process Review (3 May)
  • Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) on its Modernising Research Assessment consultation (1 June)
  • Science and Technology Australia (STA) on its STEM Career Pathways consultation (30 June).

With contributions from the wider team, Associate Professor Raffaella Demichelis and Dr Tim Lau led the EMCR Forum’s policy submission for Australia’s science and research priorities: conversation starter. Raffaella and Tim also led the Forum’s response to the ARC Discovery Program Grant Process Review, which was requested in the form of a stakeholder survey.

EMCR Forum Executives are invited to report EMCR issues and Forum activities to the Australian Academy of Science’s Council of Fellows throughout the year. Associate Professors Angela Laird and Raffaella Demichelis attended the February Council meeting, and Drs Tim Lau and Isabella Bower attended the June Council meeting. The first week of June saw the Forum Executive’s first face-to-face meetup in Canberra since the pandemic. This meeting allowed the Executive to strengthen their relationship with the Academy’s President, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC PresAA FREng FTSE, and the secretariat including Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia.

This March, the EMCR Forum was welcomed into the International Science Council as an Affiliate Member and invited to join the Young Academies and Associations (YAA) Sounding Board. Tim represented the Forum at the first YAA Sounding Board meeting on 26 April.

EMCR Forum in the Public Eye

The Forum Executive were interviewed for an article in Nature Careers and one in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding our views on The Australian academic STEMM workplace post-COVID: a picture of disarray, which highlighted the struggles for EMCRs in relation to heavy workloads, bullying and lack of support.

Dr Jordan Pitt is one of the Convenors for the Academy’s Looking back, moving forward: Indigenous knowledges informing our modern world 2023 public speaker series. Ms Mibu Fischer was one of the speakers on 11 April for ‘Looking back, moving forward: rivers, groundwater and oceans’. Watch Mibu’s presentation.

Keep up-to-date with the EMCR Forum by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Keep your eyes open for news about our upcoming Science Pathways Festival.

EMCR Forum Executive Committee’s first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID19 pandemic was at Ian Potter House, the Australian Academy of Science. From right to left: Dr Rowan Treblico, Dr Mohamad Taha, Ms Mibu Fischer, Associate Professor Angela Laird, Dr Isabella Bower, Dr Charlie Morgan, Associate Professor Tomoko Sugiura, and EMCR program manager Dr Mari Kondo


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