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 

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.



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.