First things first, I want to thank my fellow members of the Australian Academy of Science EMCR Forum executive for giving me the gentle nudge I needed to accept the position of Chair for 2017. It means a great deal to me to have their support. Nikola Bowden did a stellar job last year and has left some big shoes for me to fill. I’m really excited to see what the next 12 months will entail.
I’m often asked what the EMCR Forum is about – mostly because I try to tell anyone who will listen! It is somewhat of a tricky question to answer because it depends on what your interests are and how you choose to engage. In a nutshell, the EMCR Forum provides a national voice for all scientists up to 15 years post-PhD, irrespective of sector and discipline. Our mission is to improve the future of science in Australia through advocacy and engagement.
Since our inception in 2011 it has been possible to drive several important initiatives including implementation of the Science and Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot; rescuing the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship scheme from certain death; and making sure EMCR issues were front and centre during the recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) structural review. This is a tough environment for EMCRs and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our constituents (i.e. everyone who meets the description in the paragraph above).
Thanks mainly to the efforts of Hamish Clarke and Adrian Carter, the EMCR Forum is active on Twitter (@EMCRForum) and provide regular email updates to disseminate the latest information of relevance to EMCRs. We host Science Pathways to promote professional development and will hopefully be in a position to run events locally this year. The Forum provides a unique mechanism to get involved in national conversations and we are pleased to be assisting Science and Technology Australia with Science meets Parliament this year (#SmP2017).
What does it all mean? If any of this is resonating with you, I’d like to encourage you to become a member. It’s free, so why not? Everything we do as the EMCR Forum executive is driven by feedback from EMCRs about what concerns or interests you most. Sharath Sriram (who is leaving the executive this year) puts it best by saying we are run by scientists, for science. As we move forward I’m hopeful that by fostering a positive and inclusive community of EMCRs we can work together to change the future for Australian scientists. So go on, join the conversation – we’re here for you, and we’re listening!