NECTAR has its roots in the inaugural Early Career Academic Program 2008 facilitated by the Centre for Career Development. Four Program Graduates – Jochen Brocks, Nicolas Cherbuin, Daniela Rubatto and Jochen Trumpf – conceived and developed the NECTAR initiative in response to the question "Could it be that the only thing preventing us from forging amazing academic careers is ourselves?" Their proposal was approved by the ANU Executive in late 2010 and implemented in 2011.
Since then, NECTAR has come a long way! Today, NECTAR has more than 2,500 members and has established itself as an important part of the ANU landscape. Other universities, such as the University of Southern Queensland, have turned to NECTAR for advice on establishing similar programs focusing on nurturing ECAs.
- As a result of a recommendation by NECTAR to the University Executive in 2012, ECAs are represented in leading University committees, e.g. the University Research Committee, directly influencing the University's strategic decisions.
- NECTAR has established a direct collegial dialogue between ECAs and the University Executive through the annual NECTAR Retreat, re-named NECTAR Forum in 2018.
- In 2013, NECTAR successfully worked with University Executive to reinstate the ANU ECR Travel Grants. NECTAR advocated for continuation of the scheme from 2014 onwards and suggested revisions in 2015 and 2017.
- In 2016, NECTAR contributed to ANU strategic working groups in support of developing the ANU vision and strategic priorities for the ANU Strategic Plan 2017–2021.
- In 2017, the selection criteria for the ANU Futures Scheme were revised following a written request to the University Executive by NECTAR, allowing internal applicants.
- As a result of an ECA initiative, NECTAR has been delivering the cross-College ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program 2018 and 2019 with more than 100 Mentees, a program funded by all ANU Colleges.
- Since it's inception, NECTAR has offered a growing professional development training program for ECAs focusing on education, research and career development. In 2018, NECTAR delivered more than 10 workshops on grant writing, networking, pedagogy, self-promotion and more.
- NECTAR has a strong track record on fostering people-connections and collaborations across campus and beyond. For example, 5 of the 37 ANU Grand Challenges 2017 were collaborations formed at NECTAR events and led by members of NECTAR, two of them entering the semi-finals.