Last Friday 19 February, level three of the Campus Hub was abuzz as more than 200 early career researchers (ECRs) joined Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development) Professor Lesley Hughes for the launch of the Macquarie University Early Career Researcher Network.
The Network is part of a broader University strategy developed under the Strategic Research Framework to support ECRs and help them achieve world-leading research at Macquarie. The launch marked the first event for the Network and will be followed by regular professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year and beyond. According to Professor Lesley Hughes: “Macquarie is building a network that is both supportive and informative to help early career researchers develop their careers.”
Professor Hughes, who has driven the establishment of the Early Career Researcher Support Strategy, says the strategy aspires ‘at the most basic level to raise the bar of ECR support and provide opportunities for all’. Both Professor Hughes and Professor Pretorius acknowledged the many challenges facing today’s early career researchers.
Professor Pretorius described the ECR Support Strategy as an example of our commitment to supporting researchers who have the hunger and aspiration to become future research ‘black belts’. His message to early career researchers was to find balance and not to ‘prioritise what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities’, also emphasising the importance of family, friends and wellbeing to a flourishing career.
Early career biologist and 2015 recipient of the NSW Young Tall Poppy Award, Dr Rachael Gallagher, spoke about early career researchers deserving the very best in support and mentorship that Macquarie University can offer and urged her peers to make the most of the opportunities available.
Professor Hughes encourages ECRs to make the Network their own by engaging with events and contributing feedback and suggestions.