ECR group

Published: 23 October 2023

How has this important group addressed inequity in representation, progression, and success of early career researchers in the past 12 months, and what are the hopes and aims for the year to come?

Group chairs Michael Fleming and Emily Long provide an overview of the significant changes this group has undergone in the past 12 months, what has been achieved and what lies ahead.

Photo of female researcher on laptop in library with coffee and book

ECRs are a well-represented cohort within the school and are an integral part of any thriving university, and we should work hard to identify opportunities to optimise their development.

The Athena Swan ECR working group has a mission statement of addressing issues affecting inequity in representation, progression, and success of all early career researchers within the School of Health and Wellbeing.

The ECR working group has undergone some changes over the last 12 months. Co-chair Seonaid Cleare stepped down and was replaced by Michael Fleming and, more recently, co-chair Paul McCrorie also stepped down and was replaced by Emily Long.

The working group had already undergone a significant change in structure with four subgroups formed to help manage workload but also to enable four specialist subgroups to focus more pertinently on specific objectives. These subgroups have worked well over the last 12 months under the leadership of the respective subgroup lead. Our subgroups are:

  1. Training subgroup (led by Paul McCrorie) aims to ensure our ECR cohort are provided with the training opportunities that allow them to build capacity in their role and to support their wider learning.
  2. Career progression and professional development subgroup (led by Kirsty Dunn) aims to establish, develop, and implement ECR specific development opportunities to improve insights into career planning and progression.
  3. Teaching subgroup (led by Claire Hastie) aims to establish a suitable teaching information resource to improve matching between individual ECRs and teaching opportunities.
  4. Communication and social activities subgroup (led by Moya Clancy and Olivia Hamilton) aims to improve communication and visibility of opportunities, ECR specific groups, as well as address work life balance.

Each subgroup has made progress on their actions this year, however major highlights include developing and implementing an ECR specific grant-writing group which will meet monthly throughout 2023–24 and creating and circulating an ECR survey focussing on tackling ECR specific issues around training, teaching, career development, career progression, communication, social activities, and job security.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas, please do get in touch with the co-chairs of the group, Dr Michael Fleming ( and Dr Emily Long (

Michael Fleming and Emily Long
Chairs of SHW Athena Swan ECR group

If you would like to join this Athena Swan group, please contact the group chairs – they'd be delighted to hear from you.

First published: 23 October 2023