Getting to know your ECR Ambassador

Hi my name is Annie Ockelford and I am the new Early Career Ambassador for the University.  Since my PhD Viva in 2012, I have completed two postdocs (at Loughborough University and the University of Hull), and have progressed into an academic position as Principal Lecturer in Physical Geography within the School of Environment and Technology.  I can usually be found in a boat on a river where I am interested in rivers and flooding, particularly how we can reduce the risk to humans from contaminants and sediments which are moved during floods.  I wanted to briefly introduce myself so you could put a face to a name and knew how to contact me if you had any worries!!  You can find out more about my love of rivers, outreach and champagne in the podcast I recorded for the university:

  • What made you interested in the role of ECR ambassador?

Being an ECR is such an exciting time where you can begin to forge your own way into academia.  It’s full of opportunities to work on some exciting research, collaborate and learn from academics from all over the world and share your work across the community.  However, it is also a hugely challenging, competitive environment which can be difficult to navigate.  I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing set of mentors around me who have helped guide me through the murky waters of being an ECR.  As such, I wanted to become ECR Ambassador to help others as they begin their journey through academia, especially since I have experienced firsthand the hurdles of being an ECR where I have been on a number of temporary contracts and moved around the country following the jobs!!  When the ECR ambassador role was advertised it seemed an ideal opportunity to be able work with the ECRs at Brighton.

  • What do you hope to achieve in the role?

I am the ECR Ambassador for a year and although a year isn’t a long time I really want to achieve two things during my time in post.  Firstly, although there are so many opportunities and resources for ECRs at Brighton I am often surprised to hear how people don’t know about them or have difficulty accessing these resources. So, I really want to work with the community to help promote and signpost these resources.  Secondly, ECRS at the University of Brighton have an incredibly diverse range of interests with huge potential yet we often don’t know what each other are doing.  So I really want to begin to build a sense of community and collegiality between researchers where we can exchange views and ideas with each other.

  • How will you be finding out about what the ECR community will find helpful?

As ECR Ambassador part of my job is to work the with the  ECR representatives from each school to ensure that you, as an ECR have a voice within the university and I really want to hear what you would find useful.  Over the coming year I hope to meet a lot of you in person but if you have ideas then let me or your School representative know.  For example this could be related to your training needs and the development of training opportunities within the university.  I would also love to hear how you would best like to be communicated with?  Would a regular newsletter be helpful?  Or would podcasts and videos with key members of the university be helpful to keep you up to date with what’s going on at the university?

  • How can ECRs find out more about what’s going on?

I know everyone is busy and ECRs epitomize the word multitasking so I have tried to use as many platforms as possible to let you know what’s going on!!  However I can only help you if I know who you are so I would really encourage people to self-identify for the ECR email list so I can keep you up to date with all things ECR!! I will write regularly for the ECR blog and I have reinvigorated the ECR Twitter feed (@ECRBrighton) to send out updates of events occurring across the university.  I am working closely with Professor Tara Dean (PVCR) to develop ECR focused activities at the University Research Day on the 5th July so keep an eye out for calls to attend that!! Finally, at an institutional-level keep an eye on messaging through Staff News and the R&E newsletter.

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