The Early-Career Academic Development Program is designed to help you transition from being a leading academic to an academic leader, by developing your:

  • career planning
  • reflective skills
  • interpersonal skills
  • leadership skills.

The identity of the traditional academic is changing, and early-career academics face a number of new career challenges:

  • competition for funding has intensified
  • there is an increased focus on collaboration across disciplines and national borders, and with business
  • a linear career path ‘climbing the ladder’ is no longer the norm
  • defining your career’s direction can be difficult and technical skill alone will not be enough to ensure success.

The program is supported by the University Staff Development Committee.


The program is specifically targeted at Level A or B staff who are in approximately their first 5 years of employment after completing a PhD.

If your doctorate was awarded more than 5 years ago, but your academic career has been interrupted by non-academic employment, misadventure, illness, or family and career responsibilities, you may still be classified as an early-career academic.

If you are currently employed as a UQ academic staff member but have not completed your PhD, contact Organisational Development to discuss your situation.


By participating in this program you will have opportunity to:

  • clarify your career direction and goals
  • build essential leadership skills
  • think strategically about your individual priorities and how these fit a broader strategic context
  • learn from the experiences of academics at a variety of levels from across UQ
  • build a network of colleagues from across UQ and discipline areas
  • develop and refine important team skills such as negotiating, influencing, and giving and receiving feedback
  • access supporting online resources.


The program is a series of experiential workshops, where you’ll not only gain knowledge but also learn through doing and reflecting.

You will:

  • discuss career-related topics with senior academics and experts
  • work with your peers to support each other and share experiences
  • have the option to access additional resources to extend your development
  • be supported by online resources and a network of your peers.

The program is delivered over the course of 5 non-consecutive half-day sessions. If you're unable to attend all the sessions you may still apply, but you will gain the most if you're able to attend and fully participate in all workshops.

Session 1: Program launch and the big picture

  • How to get the most from the program
  • The senior executive perspective
  • Strategic direction
  • Understanding expectations
  • Peer support and mentoring

Session 2: Performance appraisals

  • Where’s the bar?
  • Being prepared for appraisals
  • Having good performance conversations

Session 3: Career planning and knowing your context

  • Taking responsibility for and control of your career
  • Values-guided career planning and making intentional career moves
  • The diversity landscape
  • Supporting academic women and career progression

Session 4: Leadership, influence, negotiation and collaboration

  • Leadership as behaviour
  • Academic leadership versus being a leading academic
  • Developing influence without authority
  • Networking skills and strategies - identifying mentoring opportunities and support
  • Communication and negotiation
  • Building collaborative relationships

Session 5: Bringing it all together

  • The holistic academic
  • Panel session: what I wish I’d known as an early-career academic
  • Where to from here? Your personal action plan


The program is facilitated by the Organisational Development team, and a range of guest experts to provide specialised input in areas of expertise, including:

  • University executives
  • senior academics
  • experts in academic career development.

All workshops are held at the St Lucia campus and specific room details will be provided once program participation is finalised.

Application process

Places within the program are limited.

If you want to participate in the program, you'll need to submit an expression of interest. You can access the expression of interest form by clicking on the ‘Register’ button on the Early-Career Academic Development Program page on Staff Development.

If we receive more applications than we have places available, we will use your responses to the EOI questions to help us determine the fit between your needs and what the program offers. We may also prioritise applicants who are able to attend all sessions.

Testimonials from past participants

The program has been absolutely fundamental in clarifying my role at UQ and what I have to develop/change if I want to progress.

It has given me the opportunity to think thoroughly about what sort of career I’d like to have. Until now I only thought of ‘having a job’ – from now on I’ll be thinking differently – I have options.