Early Career Academic Network (ECAN)

Early Career Academic Network (ECAN)
We are a trusted peer-led professional support group for ECAs, that provides advocacy, development opportunities and networking.



* Enabling ECAs to make strategic and informed decisions about their career trajectory and goals, and to enhance their research, teaching, and academic capabilities.

* Promoting and facilitating ECA leadership across the key strategic areas of academic and research excellence, social engagement and global impact.

* Providing space for ECAs to network and share knowledge at both the faculty and university level.

* Connecting the wider UNSW community with a valuable ECA population.

* Representing the voice of ECAs.


ECAN Events
Upcoming Events

Challenges faced by early-career researchers in STEMM

Thursday 20 May 2021   •   11:30 am to 12:45 pm AEST

Through a mixed methods study, Kate Christian explored the challenges faced by early-career researchers (ECRs) in the sciences in Australia and the effect of those challenges on their careers. In this webinar, she will present her findings, as well as a series of recommendations which could lead to a change of culture and benefit the wellbeing of ECRs in STEMM without incurring significant cost.

Kate Christian has worked in health and medical research for over 30 years, where she has managed research projects and assisted scientists, especially early-career scientists, with management of themselves and their research. She recently completed her PhD at Federation University Australia.
Federation University received the SAGE Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2019.

If you have particular questions you would like the speaker to answer, please feel free to send these in advance to sage@sciencegenderequity.org.au. Otherwise, there will be ~20 minutes for Q&A at the end of the webinar.

The webinar will be recorded and made available to those unable to attend on the day.


Join by Zoom
Meeting ID: 835 5436 0711
Passcode: 348579

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Previous Events

ECAN supporting ECRs in a time of change

In response to the recent COVID-19 Survey report feedback from the ECAN community, including insights that 80% of ECAs were concerned about job security, and more than 1 in 3 respondents are feeling disconnected and isolated, suffering from mental fatigue and/or overwhelm, ECAN hosted a series of three consecutive events on 23rd July 2020 to offer support and insights on managing oneself during these times.

A total of 130 ECRs from UNSW Sydney and UNSW Canberra joined research and industry experts in the insightful ‘Resilience in a Time of Change’, ‘Navigate Your University Canberra’ and ‘Navigate Your Career Pathway’ sessions. 

The ‘Resilience in a Time of Change’ session included a panel of experts (Dr Carlo Caponecchia, AD EDI (Science) and Researcher, School of Aviation, UNSW Sydney; Dr Monique Crane, Researcher, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University; Georgia Smith and Lana Alshawa, UNSW HR Consultants) The session included an engaging Q&A with the panel and moderator, exploring the perception of resilience in the time of COVID.

For the ‘Navigate Your Career’ session, Director of Researcher Development, Cecilia Stenstrom drew on her extensive career experiences and career coaching expertise to share insights on how ECAs can showcase their skills to prospective employers and navigate their career through difficult circumstances. The session was highly interactive, utilising a variety of audience engagement techniques and resources to ensure participants had a range of useful and tangible takeaways 

The workshops were well-received and many ECAs praised the sessions their ‘empathy’, for allowing participants to ‘see what others value compared to [themselves]’ and to gain an ‘insight on the employer point of view’. They also valued that the speakers ‘listen[ed] to ECAs, [were] honest with them and care[d] for their welfare’ and that ‘the workshops covered topics of high importance for career progression, careers outside of academia and well-being given the current circumstances.’ 


Resilience in a Time of Change (panel Session with Q&A): View event recording.

Navigate Your Career Pathway (interactive workshop with Q&A): View event recording

Navigate Your University (Canberra): View Event Recording.


View the 2019 ECAN event 'Navigate Your University (Kensington)' which took place on 1 August 2019 (below). 
2019 ECAN Scientia Series - 'Slow Vs Fast Scholarship: Navigating the Tension

Slow Vs. Fast Scholarship: Navigating the Tension

ECAN is thrilled to announce that our flagship Scientia Series event returned for the fifth time in 2019. The topic: Slow vs. Fast Scholarship: Navigating the Tension. 

With increasing pressure from universities for higher publication rates and metrics, there seems to be less space for slow scholarship. However, because of the evolving nature and speed of academia, it is worth evaluating the merits and consequences of slow scholarship in such a climate. Who benefits from slow scholarship? Does it sustain research impact? Given this tension between job demands and personal academic growth, how can ECA’s successfully navigate this new terrain?

Watch the livestream recording here.

Our 2019 Scientia Lecture Series included a lively panel discussion about the viability and importance of slow vs fast scholarship in the current academic climate. The panellists discussed how they have navigated the tension between slow and fast scholarship and provided critical insights on how ECAs entering the world of metrics and rankings may do the same. Following the panel session, attendees enjoyed refreshments while networking.


Prof Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Criminology at UNSW Sydney
Prof Ana Deletic, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Professor of Water Engineering at UNSW Sydney
Prof Andrew Martin, Scientia Professor and Professor of Educational Psychology at UNSW Sydney
Prof Joel Pearson, Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Future Minds Lab at UNSW Sydney
Prof Mattheos Santamouris, Scientia Professor and Anita Lawrence Chair Professor in High Performance Architecture at UNSW Sydney
Prof Sean Emery, Senior Vice Dean - Research and Operations and Professor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney


ECAN Subcomittees
Science ECAN

Science ECAN provides a supportive platform to assist Early Career Academics (ECAs) in the Faculty of Science to pursue successful careers at UNSW. Click here for more information.

Engineering ECAN

Engineering ECAN is a network that exists to support Early Career Academics (ECAs) in the Faculty of Engineering. Click here for more information.

Medicine and Health ECAN

Medicine and Health ECAN provides a supportive platform to assist Early Career Academics (ECAs) in the Faculty of Medicine and Health and affiliated centres to pursue successful careers at UNSW. Click here for more information.


ADA ECAN represents and advocates for Early Career Academics in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture. Click here for more information.

Law and Justice ECAN

Law and Justice ECAN represents and advocates for Early Career Academics in the Faculty of Law and Justice. 

Business ECAN

Business ECAN represents and advocates for Early Career Academics in the Faculty of Business. 

Canberra ECAN

Canberra ECAN represents and advocates for Early Career Academics at UNSW Canberra. 

Early Career Academic Support Guideline

ECAN has been closely involved in developing the ECA Support Guideline, which offers a framework for ensuring ECAs at UNSW are provided a supportive and collegial work environment, and are well positioned to pursue a successful academic career. You can read the Guideline online here.


Early Career Academic Support Policy

This Policy outlines the fundamental principles to guide the relationship between Early Career Academics and the University. Find it here

Become an ECAN Member
Am I Eligible to Join ECAN?

To become an ECAN member, simply subscribe to our Mailing List (below). Membership is open to UNSW Early Career Academics (ECAs) who meet all of the following criteria:

  • UNSW Academic staff within seven years (relative to opportunity) of having been awarded a PhD or recognised equivalent;
  • Appointment is at Level A-C.

The term ECA includes any employee who fits the requirements above, irrespective of whether the employment is:

  • in a research-focused role, an education-focused role, or a combined research and education role; and
  • in a continuing or fixed-term position.

Additionally, you must also take into account your relevant career opportunity and interruptions.

If you have any questions, please email us at ecanexec@unsw.edu.au

Follow ECAN

Follow our Yammer group for regular updates about opportunities, events and to celebrate the achievements of your fellow ECAN members. Feel free to post directly to Yammer to share any relevant information with the community.

ECAN LinkedIn

ECAN is now on LinkedIn too! If you are a LinkedIn user and would love to learn about ECAN updates on LinkedIn, please follow our page! We endeavor to keep the page updated with ECAN and other interesting academic info. 


Subscribe to the ECAN Mailing List

You must click "Subscribe" to submit your application. Please check your email address is correct before registering to ensure you receive all notifications.

You will receive an email confirmation of your membership application within 48 hours. Please note all Early Career Academic Network events are publicised via ECAN website and invitations to our events are sent via MailChimp mailing list and our ecanexec@unsw.edu.au mailbox.

Once you register, your name will be added to the mailing list and a confirmation email will be sent via MailChimp. This email will contain instructions on how to unsubscribe in the future, should you wish to terminate your membership. 


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  • Arts, Design, and Architecture