Grand Challenges lunch

We believe all ECA and Mid-Career Academics of ANU can participate in the ANU Grand Challenges!

On 6 April NECTAR hosted a Social Lunch at Fellows Cafe and with two guest speakers and about 20 attendees who shared their visions for the ANU Grand Challenge 2018! You can read a summary of what they had to say here.

Next lunch 2 May 12 -1pm Fellows Cafe.

 Guest Speakers (from 6 April)

  1. Douglas Robertson (Director of Research Services ANU) will pop in to give you some behind the scenes knowledge on how the ANU Grand Challenges Scheme works
  2. Jane Desborough – One of the winners from last year’s challenge is likely to come because she wants to share the story of her participation. She said:

“At my first meeting, I found myself with a group of people who were much more senior than I and talking about a project that I couldn’t see myself a part of. I said to one of them, “I don’t think I belong here – I don’t have as much experience as the rest of you “, to which he replied, “Oh no – now you’re doubting yourself!”. This was the beginning of a fantastic journey.”

Family members are encouraged to attend all NECTAR events.

Jane Desborough photo

NECTAR logo 2018




Early Career Academics are hardworking individuals striving to position themselves in a highly competitive niche.

NECTAR is the ANU Network of Early Career Academics. It includes a collective of these individuals who come together in a forum to advocate the needs of Early Career Academics.

NECTAR aims to:

  • empower Early Career Academics to better achieve their vision / realise their niche.
  • facilitate ECA to better shape the future of ANU
  • foster open communication, connectivity and collaboration across and beyond the campus.

If you have comments to make on this logo please contact us.

Ask Brian – empowered through NECTAR!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018!

Do we – the Early Career Academics – have burning questions for VC Brian Schmidt? You bet!

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Every year the Early Career Academic network of ANU – NECTAR – meet with the ANU Executive, including Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor and Nobel Laureate, to ask questions about issues faced by Early Career Academics.

By working together we can ask our questions with a collective, constructive voice!

We will host this event close by in a program of discussions and workshops to prepare our questions. We aim to deliver a thought provoking and skill developing program like the ‘NECTAR Retreat 2016 and the NECTAR Retreat 2017′.

Save the date!

Escalating Your Strategic Career

Mentoring Program Conclusion: Escalating Your Strategic Career

PRESENTER – Academic Careers Consultant SHELDA DEBOWSKI

Part of the ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program

Workshop Description:
With the conclusion of your mentoring program you should now feel much more confident in taking your career forward. This workshop will help you map effective strategies that support your career progression in readiness for your ongoing advancement. You will be guided through a series of exercises that assist you in clarifying your academic identity, likely directions, career strategy, performance targets, goals, narrative and evidence building practices. The workshop will enable you to be well set up for competitive opportunities, including for awards, fellowships, promotion and other forms of success.

Topics covered
❖ Taking your career forward: clarifying your goals and directions
❖ The changing nature of academic identity, and what it means for you
❖ So where are you going? Planning for your career advancement
❖ Optimising your roles and activities: Building a balanced, strategic portfolio
❖ Building your narrative: Articulating your goals, directions and outcomes
❖ Setting up your evidence trail: implications for your reflexive practice
❖ Mapping and achieving your goals and intentions
❖ Harnessing and building your networks and support base

Learning Outcomes
After attending this workshop participants will have developed:
❖ A more sophisticated view of their career and emerging academic identity
❖ Confidence in progressing their goals and priorities
❖ The capacity to set clear goals and priorities that support their potential and career aspirations
❖ Increased confidence in articulating a career narrative
❖ An evidence-based approach to career management

Read more on the ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program 

Building your Strategic Academic Portfolio

Mentoring Program workshop and mid session check point

30 October 2018


Workshop Description

There are a number of key capabilities that will underpin your academic success. This workshop will provide you with an opportunity to critically review your career strategy and identify how to advance to the next level.

To demonstrate your academic success you will need to build a confident and well-articulated identity as an academic with a progressive trajectory of successful outcomes. We will explore some key foundation elements that will ensure this success, mapping the expectations across the three portfolios of research, teaching and leadership / engagement.

You will leave the session with a range of ideas and strategies that will further support your career positioning and to explore with your mentor and other supportive colleagues.

Learning Outcomes

After attending this workshop, you will have developed:

  • Increased insights into networking and collaboration as part of your teaching and research strategy
  • Clarity as to your envisaged career path/s and likely outcomes
  • A career strategy that optimises your strengths and supports your desired directions
  • An improved understanding of the University’s academic and promotional priorities and expectations
  • Improved confidence in building your academic strategies and approaches
  • The capacity to articulate and evidence your success across your portfolios
  • Increased confidence in articulating your narrative and goals.

Topics Covered

  • The key elements of academic success
  • Defining your academic identity
  • Mapping your key academic portfolios and capabilities
  • Building a successful research portfolio
  • Teaching, scholarship and leadership
  • Leadership and Engagement: Making a difference
  • Developing networking and collaboration strategies
  • Articulating and enacting your plan and narrative

This part of the program is currently under development, for more information contact NECTAR.

The Strategic Mentor

Program commencement – workshop for mentors

Presenter – Shelda Debowski – a highly experienced Academic Careers Consultant

Successful researchers note the importance of mentorship in their career development, but there has been little exploration as to how mentors can best guide successful career decisions and exploration of research contexts. This workshop will provide you with some new insights into the ways that mentors and mentees can strengthen and deepen the mentoring discussions and outcomes.

Various models and principles that support robust research career management will be introduced, along with guidance on the role of mentor and mentee in these processes. You will be challenged to think differently about mentoring and how it can be optimised for career success.

Learning Outcomes

  • After attending this workshop you will have developed:
    • A clear understanding of academic / research career management and the importance of mentorship as a key strategy;
    • The capacity to enact a successful mentoring relationship to support effective academic career management;
    • A deeper appreciation of the ways in which mentorship can be integrated into career planning and management;
    • Enhanced tools and strategies to guide your mentee/s toward more productive and effective outcomes.

Topics Covered

  • The key principles of academic career management
    • A review of academic career management models and tools
    • Strategies to build successful academic careers
    • Key indicators of a successful mentoring relationship
    • Enacting good mentorship: questioning and mentoring approaches, guiding reflections and evaluative processes, and building an effective plan for implementation.

This workshop has been presented to many different mentoring communities. It has been a presented in the College of Science mentoring program at ANU in 2015 and the Telethon Kids Institute. This session has also been commissioned by The University of Sydney, Universities Australia.

Register on Eventbrite or contact Sophie Baker on 

The Strategic Academic

Stage 1 – Program Commencement: The Strategic Academic

Presenter – Shelda Debowski – a highly experienced academic careers consultant.

The first workshop sets the scene for the program for mentees, providing participants with principles and frameworks that they may employ in their discussions with their mentors. Mentors are similarly prepared with a ½ day workshop.

In The Strategic Academic, the broader landscape in which the participants work will be explored, offering important guidance on how success is measured, what needs to be prioritised and how the individual can establish their identity and focus. The capacity to manage time and priorities is a key part of this session.

This particular workshop has been widely commissioned by universities in Australia and the UK, including Monash University, The University of Sydney and Kings College London. All three institutions run this workshop multiple times each year.