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

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!

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.


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.

Collaboration across boundaries 2017 – a success!

20171207-_MG_4313NECTAR launches a new channel to cross-disciplinary collaboration at ANU

OUR first Collaboration across boundaries – a cross-disciplinary industry engagement – last Thursday (7 December) was a great success. Over 100 people attended to see 41 posters, including 5 posters presenters form CSIRO, 4 films and 4 artwork series.

NECTAR thanks the Industry representatives who attended and judged the competition including CSIRO, the Capital Health Network, the ACT Primary Health Network, and the Saudi Arabian Embassy among others.

NECTAR volunteers were instrumental in making this event a success, particularly Dr Elizabeth Sturgiss and Dr Umme Habiba Hossain. Thank you to all our NECTAR volunteers.

We would also like to thank our partners the Joint College of Science Early Career Academic Development Committee, particularly Julia Sharwood, and the Heritage Early Childhood Centre.

Congratulations to the winners:

Christina Spry won: Most engaging poster or art work – her prize was $2000 research funds!

Vini Gautam won Outstanding poster or artwork – with a prize of $100 to take a collaborator out to dinner at University House.

Michal Glikson won Outstanding poster or artwork with her interactive poster/ website See also her film – what happens if you create in a space that is totally unpredictable?

Aparna Lal and Alice Richardson won the Audience Choice Award with the globe poster “Health in a Changing Environment”.

Congratulations and thanks to all participants.

If you have ideas on how to develop this event for next year please contact us!

Redefining the ANU PhD – NECTAR invited to the discussion

Join the discussion on redefining the ANU PhD Program

You are invited to Open Forums where you can have your say in this important discussion. (See below).

NECTAR has also been offered the opportunity to nominate a representative for the Committee of Inquiry. Expressions of interest for this position to NECTAR by 10am, 30th June.

Here is the letter from Prof Imelda Whelehan (ANU’s Dean of HDR)


We are redefining the ANU PhD program.

During the development of the new Strategic Plan we made a commitment to redefine our PhD program.  We are now starting to work out what this will mean for our academic staff, supervisors and students.

ANU has the highest HDR load per total student population of any Australian university, consistently high research rankings and an enviable international reach. To continue to provide some of the best academic programs around the world and to give our students the best opportunities for their futures, we have a responsibility to reflect on what we do well, and to discuss what we might review and change. We are inviting you to help shape our discussions and have your say on what the new ANU PhD of the future could look like.

To start the discussion I will be hosting open forums for all interested staff and students. Please register below for one of the forums.

Questions will include:

  • What should a 21st century PhD look like?
  • How can we ensure that the ANU secures our position as a world leader in graduate research education?
  • What is best practice for PhD delivery worldwide?
  • What changes can we make?

In these forums I will be using Poll Everywhere to allow live interactive audience participation. Bring a mobile device (phone, tablet, laptop or iPad) to enable you to join the interactive discussions.

Please join me.

With best wishes


Professor Imelda Whelehan

Dean, Higher Degree Research Office of the Vice-Chancellor | Chancelry 10 East Road


Wednesday, 5 July from 10am-11.30am Venue: R214 Seminar Room, Ian Ross Building #31 ANU Register here.

Tuesday, 25 July from 1pm-2.30pm. Venue: The Drawing Room, University House, 1 Balmain Crescent ANU Register here.

Thursday, 3 August from 10am-11.30am Venue: ANU. Exact venue to be confirmed shortly. Register here.

Tuesday, 8 August from 10am-11.30am Venue: The Drawing Room, University House, 1 Balmain Crescent ANU Register here.

Thursday, 10 August from 10am-11.30am Venue: 1012, Fred Gruen Economics Seminar Room, HW Arndt Building #25A50 Register here.