The Landscape Report – a voice for EMCA’s to guide reform

The Landscape of Australian Health and Medical Higher Education report, is an overview of the Australian national survey of workplace culture and wellbeing (2023) for early- and mid-career academics (EMCAs) employed at health and medicine-related faculties.

It provides a picture of the current health and medical research landscape in Australia and highlights key statistics, areas for improvement and offers core recommendations for universities and government to strengthen the sector.

The landscape of Australian higher education has changed notably in recent decades, encompassing research, teaching and service activities. Although higher education activities are seen as central to Australia’s job creation, productivity and prosperity, there have been reductions in many relevant federal funding schemes and initiatives, and there remain scarce data on the workplace culture and wellbeing experienced by Australian academics.

It is anticipated that this report will positively guide timely reforms of the sector and help early to mid-career academics thrive in the sector and achieve to their full potential.

Recommendations from the report

Commonwealth Government

  1. Address present research funding shortfall
  1. Revisit and reform grant assessments
  1. Identify strategies to make science and health and medical academia a more attractive career

Australian Universities

  1. Promote career stability for academics where possible
  1. Enable and strengthen positive supervisory practices, developing the work environment and our future leaders
  1. Fairness, consistency and transparency in workload models and promotion processes
  1. Generate regular and consistent data relating to EMCAs

The Landscape Report

A comprehensive survey encompassed 660 eligible EMCAs from health and medical faculties across Australia, including seven states and territories and fourteen universities. Participants provided insights into workplace culture, well-being, and their views of the academic profession more broadly.

The Landscape Report findings and recommendations were discussed at the School of Biomedical Sciences Annual Retreat held in early June 2024. Prof Mike McGuckin spoke to the challenges and opportunities, and stressed this as a priority for the faculty who are working across the schools with the aim of working more closely with our valued community of EMCAs.

The retreat more broadly was focussed toward EMCAs, their ongoing engagement, individual pursuits and their importance to the broader school community.