ECAN Past Events


Previous ECAN events are as follows:

Faculty ECA committees launch - S1, 2018

As one of our 2018 priorities, the ECAN Executive has identified the need to create Faculty ECA Committees. These committees will serve as leadership and representative bodies to assist Faculty ECAs to clarify their career directions and goals, build a network of colleagues from across the University, and think strategically about their individual priorities and how these fit into the Faculty and broader University context. On Friday 9 March, ECAN held a launch for the faculty committee initiative as our first event for 2018. Attendees had the opportunity to pick the brains of five members of already established Faculty of Engineering ECA Committee, to learn about how a faculty committee can raise the visibility of ECAs, as well as meet important networking and support needs. We also welcomed some new members to ECAN for 2018, and enjoyed a tasty lunch. Many thanks to Natalia, Weihuan and Natasha for your organising efforts! 


The first phase of the initiative is being rolled out in Medicine, Science and Arts & Social Sciences - if you're an ECA in one of these faculties, and are keen to get involved, please fill in an EOI form and send it to your Faculty Representative by COB Friday 23 March:


Maria Agaliotis


Natalia Castano Rodriguez


Valentina Bau

Scientia Series: The Gig Economy of Academia, 22 September 2017


On 22 September, ECAN was delighted to host its third annual Scientia Series Event, on the topic The Gig Economy of Academia: casualization as the new norm?

Job security for many working in academia is increasingly becoming a privilege rather than a right. This new gig economy is reshaping ECAs' careers and having a profound impact both on the way we do research and on how we teach. So what does the future look like for those seeking to establish a career in the academy? And what will be the impact on higher education?

Our panel was moderated by A/Prof kylie valentine, Director of UNSW's Social Policy Research Centre, and included the following speakers:

  • Prof Geoffrey Crisp (Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, UNSW)
  • Dr Peter Bentley (Research Fellow, LH Martin Institute, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Andrew Dunstall (Associate Lecturer, Macquarie University)
  • Dr Anne Junor (Industrial Relations Research Centre, UNSW)

An audience of approximately sixty academics, from ECAs through to senior scholars, enjoyed a lively and thought-provoking discussion on what the future of academic work will look like, and how this will shape teaching and research outcomes. The number of audience questions that followed indicated that this is a topic of great interest to the academic community! Thanks to everyone who participated, and particularly to Valentina Bau, who led the event organisation, and to our wonderful panelists.

We look forward to seeing you at the next installment of the ECAN Scientia Series - stay tuned for details.

What's the best workload to enhance career development for ECAs? 31 May 2017

This lively panel event discussed and responded to the outcomes of an ECAN survey of more than 140 survey respondents around the the theme - What's the best workload to enhance career development for ECAs?

The event was well attended and generated many questions for the experienced academic leadership panel from the audience.

Professor Laura Poole-Warren PVC Research Training and Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)


  • Professor George Kouvaros: Deputy Head - Staff Development, the School of the Arts & Media
  • Professor Mary-Louise McLaws: Deputy President Academic Board Epidemiology in Healthcare Infection and Infectious Diseases Control at the School of Public Health & Community Medicine
  • A/Professor Simon Pinnegar: Associate Director, City Futures Research Centre
  • Professor David Waite: Deputy Dean (Research), Faculty of Engineering
  • Professor Bill Schworm: Former Head of School of Economics, Presiding Member of the UNSW Business School.

Event Feedback

Feedback from the event indicated 90% of respondents believed the event was valuable. Most respondents valued the panel perspectives and resulting discussion with 93% believing content to be relevant to their situation.

Scientia Series: Should all academics be activists? 19 October 2016


ECAN proudly presented the second event in the annual Scientia Series: should all academics be activists?

In a world where academia is expected to demonstrate its relevance beyond the ivory tower, activism is one way to support social change, as well as to hold the tertiary sector to account. But activism brings both benefits and risks, and also takes time away from teaching and research. So is activism an essential part of being a responsible academic? And is it right for all?

Thank you for joining us for a lively and challenging debate on academic activism, with scholars from universities across Sydney and moderated by Professor James Arvanitakis (UWS).

Panelists included:

  • A/Prof Peter Slezak (UNSW)
  • A/Prof Gabrielle Appleby (UNSW)
  • Dr Dallas Rogers (UWS)
  • Dr Agnes Bosanquet (Macquarie)

The event saw the participation of approximately fifty academics, from ECAs to more senior scholars, who energetically debated what is still regarded as a contentious topic in academia. Different viewpoints were heard, with an overall agreement on the significance of academics’ role in promoting change. To read a synopsis of the discussion, click here

Early and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Forum National Meeting – Science Pathways 2016, 26-27 September 2016

ECAN was proud to be involved in hosting Science Pathways 2016, the fourth national meeting of the EMCR Forum. The event brought together early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) and scientific leaders from academia, industry and government.

As Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and Chief Scientist have highlighted, our scientific industries can no longer prosper in isolation. Instead, the next generation of science leaders must be skilled in working across science sectors, collaborating with academic institutions, private companies, government and NGOs.

This meeting ptovided insights from nationally and internationally recognised leaders who explained what leadership in their industry meant, and how EMCRS can develop as leaders in their sectors. EMCRs were provided with opportunities to network with other future leaders from different backgrounds, and share their ideas on how to shape Australia’s scientific and innovative future.

Key speakers included Emma Johnston, Professor of Marine Biology and Ecotoxicology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), UNSW, and Simon McKeon AO, Chancellor of Monash University and 2011 Australian of the Year.

Human ethics: how can we clear the unclearable? Getting your data fast and responsibly, 3 August 2016

On a rainy winter’s day ECAN hosted its second seminar of the year “Human ethics: how can we clear the unclearable? Getting your data fast and responsibly”. This was in the form of a panel discussion chaired by Associate Professor Cameron Holly (Faculty of Law), with panel members including Associate Professor John Hunt (Medicine, new Chair of Human Research Ethics Committee), Dr Ted Rohr (Director, Research Ethics Compliance and Support, RECS), Associate Professor Kath Albury (Faculty of Art & Social Sciences) and Dr Daniel Robinson (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Art & Social Sciences).

The seminar saw the participation of nearly 40 early career academics from all faculties within the university and involved discussion on the challenges of research conducted overseas, the use of social media for study recruitment and the role of communication in the ethics application process. Panelists raised important points such as the importance of preparing a literature review for high risk projects to identify potential ethics issues.

Going to the dark side: will you ever be a Jedi again? Exploring careers outside of academia, 7 April 2016

ECAN kick-started the year with a new seminar in April. The topic Going to the dark side: will you ever be a Jedi again? Exploring careers outside of academiahad relevance in the context of UNSW 2025 Strategy, which proposes a Scientia Fellowship as a distinctive UNSW career pathway that supports non-academic experience such as industry involvement. The event took the form of a panel discussion in which strategies to enter into industry from academia and the challenges that this involves were discussed.

Speakers included Ian Gibson, Associate Dean (Industry & Innovation) for the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW; Paul Matteucci, with an impressive track record in Biomedical Engineering and experience in both industry and academia; Deborah Healey, who joined the Faculty of Law after practising extensively as a commercial lawyer with leading law firms; and Leela Cejnar, Senior Lecturer with UNSW Business in the School of Taxation and Business Law, who spent many years working as a competition lawyer before becoming an academic.

The seminar saw the participation of over fifty early academics coming from a range of different faculties across the university and it was followed by an interesting and thought-provoking Q&A session.

Welcome event and our Twitter account, 18 February 2016

It was great to kick off another year of ECAN activity at our welcome drinks on Thursday, 18 February, in the Lowy Building. The event provided an opportunity to meet some new faces, catch up on the latest from our existing members, and hear more about the new ECAN website and some exciting events planned for 2016. We also welcomed three new members to the ECAN committee this year: Laura Crommelin, Valentina Bau and Scott East. There’s plenty on the agenda for 2016, so be sure to check back here regularly for details, and follow us on Twitter (@unsw_ecan).

End of Year Thanks and Celebration, 26 November 2015

Thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate another great ECA year, to network and to catch up with other ECAN members and many of the ECAN 2015 guests who contributed to ECAN events. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you in 2016 and beyond!

Scientia Series: Academic Freedom, 15 September 2015

More than seventy academics and professional staff of all levels and faculties came to engage in debate on Academic Freedom on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. Professor Ian Jacobs (UNSW Vice Chancellor and President) opened the event chaired by Professor Ross Harley (Dean Art & Design) in the Council Chambers of UNSW Chancellory. This topic launched the ECAN Scientia Series, driven by the Early Career Academic Network (ECAN). ECAN seeks to represent the leadership of ECAs in building the University’s research and teaching culture.

Panel speakers were:

  • Dr Valentina Baú (UNSW FASS)
  • Professor Paul Frijters (University of Queensland)
  • Dr Sarah Gregson (UNSW AGSM / NTEU)
  • Dr Haiqing Yu (UNSW FASS)

Academic freedom is widely considered a core value guiding academic research and teaching, and yet can be highly contested and vulnerable in the face of commercial and political interests. The event offered a thought provoking and open conversation on academic freedom in Australia and beyond, including its importance, limits, threats and safeguards. A panel discussion (3.30-5pm) was followed by canapés and drinks.