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Candidates for ECR Council position

The following are candidates for the early career researcher (ECR) position on Council.

Tom Baker

Tom BakerI am motivated to join the Royal Society Te Apārangi Council as an Early Career Researcher (ECR) representative in order to promote the views, needs and aspirations of those in the early stages of their career. To date, I have pursued this aim in my role as a committee member and, later, co-chair of Te Apārangi’s ‘Early Career Researcher Forum’. In this role, I have led and supported initiatives such as (1) professional development webinars, (2) the first national survey of ECRs, (3) providing input into consultations with the research community, and (4) a national research video competition. These initiatives demonstrate my enthusiasm for service and an awareness of the challenges and opportunities for ECRs in the contemporary moment, including those related to support, training, network-building, and employment pathways, for example. Through these initiatives, I have developed a greater appreciation of, and strategic perspective on, the national research landscape (within and beyond the tertiary education sector) and the breadth of ECR research interests and skills. I would acknowledge and represent this diversity if elected to Council.

By way of background, I am a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Auckland. My research focuses on processes of innovation in governance and public policy. I publish in the fields of Geography, Urban Studies and Public Policy, and I enjoy contributing research-informed articles in popular outlets such as the New Zealand Herald and The Spinoff. Since receiving my PhD in 2014, I have developed a strong record of professional service, including roles as (1) deputy leader of my faculty’s ‘Healthy People, Healthy Communities’ research theme, which aims to mobilise health-related research capacity across departments, (2) an advisory board member for the University of Auckland’s Critical Theory Network, (3) an associate editor of the International Journal of Housing Policy, and (4) a range of departmental service roles. Among other things, these roles have given me an understanding of governance processes and inclusive research leadership. As a research supervisor, I have experience in building the research and professional capacities of more junior scholars, and have supervised (or continue to supervise) one postdoctoral fellow, two PhDs, 10 Masters and 6 Honours students.

I hope to build on my track record of effective professional service, and particularly my service to the ECR community, if elected to Council. 

Nominated by Dr Lucy Stewart; seconded by Associate Professor Jane Allison

Karen Middlemiss

Karen MiddlemissI am a mature early career researcher (ECR) having completed my doctorate in 2017 and am currently employed by the Cawthron Institute as a postdoc research assistant. I have a vast range of life skills and experiences gained from a career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, including student mentoring. Representing ECRs as a councillor is a great opportunity to utilise these skills in my scientific career. I value the role the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) plays in developing ECRs through funding, networking and development opportunities and would like to get involved. The position specifications are addressed using examples given below:

1. Strategic perspective, vision
Working as a senior advisor in strategic policy development within the Ministry of Defence I investigated the future direction of training objectives. This involved liaising with national and international training organisations to investigate opportunities and resulted in developing and implementing new training objectives to meet work place requirements.
2. Mana, integrity, courage, passion for Society
I became a member of RSNZ in 2019 to join an organisation which supports and encourages great things in science, technology and the humanities. I believe I can provide a voice on behalf of ECRs that will support the goals of RSNZ in a way that extols the great value of this organisation to our research community.
3. Emotional intelligence, listening skills, openness
Representing others requires the ability to hear and understand different points of views. Having work experience in a student advisory role I have come across a variety of situations which require an open mind in order to find a resolution. I enjoy the diversity of all peoples and the challenges presented by our differences in reaching solutions and genuinely believe people feel I am an active listener and proactive.
4. Network of value to Society
Having carried out research in Europe and New Zealand over the past six years I have developed an extensive network of colleagues from various research backgrounds including universities and independent research institutes. My connections on this global network will, I’m sure, be valuable in representing ECRs on the Council.
5. Governance understanding
I am member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors (NZID. The NZID provide training to equip members with the awareness and skills required for governance roles.
6. Criticality
The ability to objectively critique is a skill required of all researchers and requires continued improvement as a critical part of ECR development. Since completing my doctorate, I have developed workplace experiences that better equip me to question all aspects of research endeavour and I would provide good representation as an ECR counsellor in this respect.
7. Appreciation across research/scholarship/innovation
I am looking to develop my own career by applying for RSNZ foundation scholarship funding to lead an independent research project. To improve my understanding of the process I recently attended a RSNZ workshop on scholarship applications and feel my knowledge in this area would be valuable as an ECR representative.

Nominated by Dr Maren Wellenreuther; seconded by Dr Samantha Brown

Voting information

Election for a Councillor representing Early Career Researchers for a three-year term will be held by electronic ballot shortly.

Any paid-up Professional Member who holds ECR status may take part in the election as Councillor representing Early Career Researchers.

An individual Member is entitled to one vote for the position.