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.


Enrolments have closed for ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program 2018.

Enrolments for 2019 intake will open in November 2018.

We believe mentoring gives Early Career Academics an enhanced ability to be successful in realising their vision and leading a better future.

ANU has the goal to ensure every student and staff of ANU will have access to mentoring. This program aims to deliver career-development mentoring and workshops for Early Career Academic staff to enhance their success in teaching, research and outreach.

ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program 2018 – 2019

Building the knowledge Leaders of the future

Supported by all Colleges of ANU and University House!


Featuring strategic academic career development workshops for mentors and mentees from the internationally renowned academic career coach – Shelda Debowski.

Mentors in this program (previously in ANU Science 2015-2017) said:

  • ‘Feels good to help younger people’
  • ‘Rewarding way to invest my service to the university community’
  • ‘Gave me a better understanding of the a role [I can] play in the future of academia’

Who can be a mentor?

ANU is recruiting mentors with diverse experience and qualities for this program. This program aims to accommodate two different types of mentoring:

  • Experience Mentoring from senior academics and industry partners who’s advice comes from a wealth of experience, qualities and achievements which ECA may wish to emulate, and
  • ‘Facilitation’ or ‘Process Mentoring,’ where mentors engage mentees in discussion and personal reflection. These may include peer mentors with only a few more years’ expense than their mentee. Those who can immediately relate to mentee experiences and challenges have been found to provide excellent mentoring in similar programs.

Different types of mentoring will work for different mentees. In this program, mentee/mentor pairs are matched based on individual’s expressed mentoring needs and preferences. Cross-disciplinary mentoring is encouraged. Mentees will make nominations, a committee will match the pairs and mentors invited to approve the match.

Mentors must be prepared to meet regularly with their mentee from June to April 2019 (by electronic means if necessary). Mentors/mentee pairs will coordinate their own arrangements for these meetings. 1 hr monthly meetings are recommended.

Mentors will gain skills in Academic Career Management and the opportunity to develop the knowledge leaders of the future. To support our mentors in their role, all mentors will be invited to attend a half-day workshop on strategic mentorship and will have access to additional support and resources throughout the program.

Note: Collegiality and service (as demonstrated by such mentoring) is a becoming a promotion requirement at ANU.

Become a mentor! 

Mentors can enrol via Eventbrite OR by email, by 1 April please.

Who can be a mentee?

In this program, the mentees are Early Career Academic (staff) of ANU. The mentoring relationship and workshop content will be most relevant to new academic staff in their first few years working as academics, teachers and researchers although those in the final stages of a PhD and up to mid-career Academics may also find this relevant. Mid-Career Academics are encouraged to be mentors. It is possible to participate both as a mentor and mentee.

    • Mentees must be prepared to participate in the full duration of the program. We expect mentees to achieve this goal over such obstacles as: a change of mentor; leaving ANU, and moving overseas.
    • Mentees will be invited to nominate mentors in late April from a list of mentors. We have over 90 mentors enrolled in the program.
    • All are welcome to apply but there may be limited placements depending on the availability of mentors.
    • Discussion currently underway at the academic governance level to set clear guidance on how we will be prioritise /select for placements in this program.
    • Stay tunes for details on the NECTAR list.
    • We will notify all mentee applicants on the success of their application in April.
    • If you have concerns, Contact the NECTAR team.
Become a mentee! 

What is involved?

The Program will run from 11 April 2018 – April 2019.

  • Mentoring pairs will be matched based on your nominations and preferences.
  • Mentor/mentee pairs should meet regularly from June 2018 – April 2019, e.g. monthly.


  • 1 workshop for mentors on Academic Career Management facilitated by Shelda Debowski (3 hrs)
  • Monthly meetings with your mentee (think coffee, beer or fika!) (from June – April, ~7 hrs)
  • No administration!
  • Invitations to supplementary events for program enrichment and reflection (optional).
  • Some free lunches with other mentors (~2-3 hrs).
  • That’s a total of 10-15 hrs per year.


  • 3 full-day workshops for mentees facilitated by Shelda Debowski.
  • Some social lunches.
  • Invitations to a focus group and supplementary events for program improvement and reflection (optional).
  • Placements limited by number of mentors but we will try hard to find mentors for all of you.
  • Total time: 3 days plus ~10 hours spread over the year.

Mentors and mentees will be invited to attend the NECTAR Collaboration Across Boundaries EMCR Conference late in the year.

Program outline:

All events will be hosted and are supported by University House!

  • Program commencement 11-13 April 2018
    • Full-day workshop for Mentees: The Strategic Academic – Shelda Debowski (two sessions, choose which one suits you)
      • 11 April 2018, 10 am – 5 pm
      • 12 April 2018, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
    • Half-day workshop for MentorsThe Strategic Mentor – Shelda Debowski
      • 13 April 2018, 9.30 am – 12.30 pm
      • This workshop will update your skills in academic career management.
      • Followed by lunch with Mentees.
    • 13 April 2018 – 12.30pm – 1.30pm Lunch with Mentors and Mentees
  • Matching process
    • 5th June (10.30am University House, Common Room) mentor-mentee pairs introduced at morning tea
    • June to March 2019 – Mentors and Mentees arrange regular meetings (e.g. monthly).
  • Mid-program check point 30-31 October 2018
  • End of the 2018 mentoring program 25-26 March 2019

    • Full-day workshops for Mentees: Escalating your strategic career (two sessions, choose which one suits you)
      • 25 March 2019 (time tbc)
      • 26 March 2019 (time tbc)
    • Lunch with Mentors on both days

Proposed commencement of the 2019 ANU NECTAR Mentoring Program: 27-29 March 2019!


The NECTAR Mentoring Program is a collaboration with the Joint Colleges of Science who developed this program over the last three years. Well received in science, this program is now open to all disciplines, through NECTAR.

NECTAR is working closely with all Colleges to develop this program to suit the needs of mentees and towards the ANU strategic goal to lead in mentoring and retention of academic staff.

The goal is that ANU will be delivering mentoring programs for all students and staff of ANU in the near future.

The Matching Process

Mentors will develop a mentor profile to highlight the experiences, strengths, expertise, and learning insights which they could bring to a mentoring relationship. These profiles will be available to mentees for them to nominate suitable mentors. These nominations will enable representatives from all Colleges and NECTAR staff to match the pairs manually.

in Mid-April, Mentees will:

  • review the mentor profiles (mentors can be met in person at the program lunches),
  • send their mentor nominations, along with two reasons (per mentor) why they have chosen each of these mentors,
  • as well as their current CV to the NECTAR Coordinator.

Mentor Recruitment

The success and ongoing commitment to the Mentoring Program is reliant on participation from mentors. If you would like to know more about becoming a mentor, please contact NECTAR coordinator Sophie Baker for more information or register on Eventbrite.

Previous mentor said ‘Mentoring early career researchers in 
another field was interesting and fun. ... I realised that I had 
developed knowledge and skills that I could share 
- that was empowering. 
I also got to practice mentoring.’

Registrations on Eventbrite or email, by 1 April.

Read more: Mentor Information sheet.pdf

More information? Contact NECTAR Team – Sophie Baker and Dr Hannah Birke.

Content credit and resources: CHM COS intranet.
Image credit: Chris Taylor

Supported by the colleges of ANU and University House.

The Buzz – NECTAR newsletter

Subscribe to NECTAR Newsletter (sent out mid monthly)

Newsletter Archive

2018 June – 20180614_NECTARnewsJune

2018 May – 20180516_NECTARnewsMay

2018 April – Lunch on How to win $10Mil with ANU Colleagues – Early Career Academic news April.pdf

2018 March – Mentoring! NECTAR news March.pdf

2018 February – The Early Career Academic ANU NECTAR News 2018 February.pdf

2017 December – The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter.pdf Collaborations Across Boundaries

2017 November – The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter.pdf $2K Research Funds Prize…

2017 October – The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter.pdf Prepare for Research Fellowships

2017 September – The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter.pdf Early Career Poster Exhibition

2017 August – The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter.pdf  ANU Grand Challenges Scheme

The Buzz NECTAR Newsletter – July 2017.pdf  ECAs to be leaders of $10mil scheme


Submissions due first of the month to the NECTAR Coordinator:






Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter!     Follow NECTAR@ANU on twitter

About the NECTAR Team

In addition to the Early Career Academic volunteers of NECTAR (the NECTAR College Contacts), NECTAR also has now two staff members: Sophie Baker and Hannah Birke.

NectarCoordinatorSophie Baker
Sophie Baker – NECTAR Coordinator

Hi, I am keen to facilitate NECTAR to be the best it can be. I’d like to think any ECA can feel comfortable dropping into our office, the NECTAR headquarters at building 10T1, for a chat, any time.”
Hannah Birke – NECTAR Administrator

Hi, I’m Hannah. I’ve spent five years postdoc-ing at CSIRO and ANU, so I know a lot about the challeges facing ECAs. I was lucky and had a lot of support while navigating these challenges. I hope that I will now be able to give back some of that support to the NECTAR community.

NECTAR headquarters:

Room 1.32, Chancelry Building 10T1, Fellows Road

The Australian National University

Acton ACT 2601

T + 61 2 6125 7165

F + 61 2 6125 4023



What is NECTAR?

Network of Early Career Teachers Academics and Researchers

NECTAR – ANU’s Early Career Academic Network – is led by a collective of volunteers who create a facilitated space specifically for Early Career Academics (ECA) at The Australian National University.

All Early Career Academics of ANU are members of NECTAR. We encourage you to get involved and invest your service to the university through NECTAR. You can become an active member by joining the NECTAR Custodians and College Contacts.


What do we do?

NECTAR is dedicated to enabling ECA to realise their vision, by supporting diverse research and education-led ECA initiatives; fostering opportunities for career development and vision realisation via collaborative, cross-college frameworks, and providing a supportive peer-to-peer space for ECAs working in research and/or education activities at ANU to connect with each other.

The key purposes of NECTAR are:

  1. To develop the ideas and build the confidence of ANU’s Early Career Academics. This includes acquiring some of the required skills and knowledge to lead a successful future.
  2. To maintain a direct channel of communication with the Executive. Since 2011 NECTAR has cultivated an open and constructive dialogue with the Executive to allow ECAs to contribute to shaping the identity of the University and ensure that ANU’s strategic goals remain dynamic and relevant.
  3. To foster open communication and collaboration across campus between ECAs and also the broader university community, including networking, research collaboration and socialisation activities.

Principally, NECTAR operates thanks to the voluntary participation of engaged ECAs who meet and collaborate on a regular basis to develop and support the activities of NECTAR and keep the network alive.

What is involved in being an active member of NECTAR?

We have a collective of around 40 volunteers ‘Custodians’ who active members of NECTAR. We have two meetings a month and it is hoped that everyone can make one of these per month. Those who can’t make it to meetings can comment on the meeting notes and participate in other ways, like drafting letters to the Vice-Chancellor. NECTAR Custodians may also get nominated to represent ECAs on Committees and ANU Improvement working groups, such as in the Redefinition of the ANU PhD, ECAF fellows, and the Academic Board.

NECTAR is supported financially and inkind by ANU

Crucial to the operation of NECTAR is financial support of the University towards the salary of a Coordinator to facilitate NECTAR’s key initiatives and activities.

In 2018 All Colleges of ANU have sponsored NECTAR to deliver a grand mentoring program and provided funds for a full time staff member at NECTAR to realise that plan.

NECTAR is also supported by University House and the ECAF fellows.

How can you get involved?

Get in touch with the NECTAR team or ask us at one of the regular meetings or NECTAR events.

Contact us