NECTAR Co-Chairs

The NECTAR Co-Chairs are elected annually as the representatives of ANU ECAs and leaders of NECTAR.

The Co-Chairs lead the advocacy NECTAR as follows:

  • Take a lead in NECTAR governance, particularly in relation to advocating the needs of ECAs.
  • Take turns to act as spokesperson and represent NECTAR at key meetings with the University Executive.
  • In conjunction with NECTAR staff, facilitate and maintain close working relationships between NECTAR and other stakeholders concerned with the welfare of ECAs at ANU.

More details and eligibility to nominate on the NECTAR Co-Chair role description.

Current NECTAR Co-Chairs

Shaam Al Abed

ANU College of Health and Medicine

John Curtin School of Medical Research

I’m a French postdoctoral fellow at the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience (College of Health and Medicine), and I have worked at ANU for the past 4 years and as NECTAR Co-Chair since August 2021. My research explores the cognitive defects in Autism, from genes to psychological processes.

To me, being NECTAR Co-Chair is an opportunity to make a difference. I’m prepared to dedicate my time and energy towards fostering and harnessing the diverse talent of early- and mid-career academics at ANU as an asset to provide an alternative vision and contribute to shaping the institution for the greater good. I’m very keen in building bridges across schools and colleges to implement bold and translational research and teaching programs.

I’m passionate about uplifting every student and academics to reach their full potential; as such, I’ve been engaged in supervision and mentoring, including within the NECTAR program. As I progress in my career, I’ve been increasing my contribution to committees, and I aim to try and be a provider of constructive ideas. I believe there is a unique opportunity to transform the university into a more inclusive place, and bring our community closer together to reinvent the way we operate.

Naomi Hay

College of Arts and Social Sciences

ANU School of Art and Design,

I am a lecturer and designer in the School of Art and Design (SOAD), College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), with a research focus on the role of design in strengthening community resilience for sustainable futures. As an interdisciplinary designer and researcher, I collaborate on projects with ANU’s Institute for Climate, Emergency, and Disaster Solutions (ICEDS).

I moved from Brisbane to join ANU in 2021 and signed up for the 2022 ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program which I have found extremely valuable as an ECA navigating a new university. I Joined the NECTAR custodians as an active volunteer 6 months ago. Prior to joining ANU, I ran a design consultancy and held sessional lecturing and tutoring positions across multiple institutions, whilst completing my PhD as a single parent. As such I am aware of the unique challenges faced by early-career academics, staff members on sessional contracts, and HDR candidates in juggling time commitments, competing agendas, and job insecurity. I strongly believe in the need for programs such as NECTAR in providing mentoring opportunities and fostering career development in academia. I hope to bring this experience to supporting the NECTAR community to excel in their chosen career paths, strengthen connections across the institution, and ensure their voices are inherent in shaping the future of ANU.

Wenting Cheng

ANU College of Law

Grand Challenge Fellow

I am a Grand Challenge Fellow from the ANU College of Law, working at the Grand Challenge Program Zero Carbon Energy for the Asia Pacific. My research focuses on law and regulation in innovation, energy, and sustainable finance. Having undertaken a PhD and worked at the ANU since 2014, I have gained a good understanding of the research environment at the ANU, not only in my own school and discipline.

I have served as a NECTAR Custodian and College Representative for the ANU College of Law since September 2022. In this role, I participated in NECTAR meetings and events, observed the university Teaching and Learning Development Committee meeting, and enrolled in the NECTAR Mentoring program as a mentor to help other ECRs. I ask important questions about ECRs whenever I have an opportunity. I am passionate about enhancing the university’s adequate recognition of contributions from ECRs in research and teaching and promoting a better understanding of gender-related challenges facing ECRs.

Nikolay Shirokikh

College of Health Medicine

John Curtin School of Medical Research

I am an EMCR and an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow at The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU College of Health and Medicine. I am a NECTAR Custodian and also serve as an EMCR member of the College of Health and Medicine Research Committee. My recent science, teaching and community contributions have been tightly linked to ANU life. From the first hands and in-place I know the excitement and difficulties of leadership trailblazing, funding gap handling and communication through the Schools and Colleges.    

NECTAR has been an outstanding place that brought up many innovative opportunities to ANU EMCRs. My aspirations in nominating for the NECTAR Co-Chair are to help developing the NECTAR-enabled opportunities further, building on the established strengths and identifying areas of improvement and solutions therein. It will be my honour to contribute to the important problems of EMCR funding in the ACT, diversification of the career possibilities for ANU EMCRs, cross-communication of EMCRs between the Colleges and Schools and building leading positions of ANU as a National University in approaches to EMCR careers and life.

I have been with NECTAR over many years and am serving as NECTAR Custodian from 2021. In my role of the Custodian, among the other important developments I have contributed in setting up a new CHM funding scheme for EMCRs, the TRANSFORM Career Development Fellowships. This has been an exceptionally positive experience that was fuelled by the ideas and principles nurtured by NECTAR and in collaboration with NECTAR at all levels. It was amazing to see our concepts at NECTAR being taken into the plan and then actioned, eventuating a governance change that is now improving lives of ANU EMCRs. Using this success, opportunities are open to address more, and work towards propagating and unifying the positive approaches for EMCR careers and life ubiquitously within the University.