The AERA recognises excellence in research in Australian ecology, for a specific body of recent work by a mid-career researcher1. The AERA award conferred by the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) is not restricted to any particular sector, and aims to recognize outstanding ecological research. Nominations of researchers from academia, and the public and private sector agencies are invited. While peer-nomination is preferred, self-nomination is not discouraged. All nominations are reviewed by an independent panel of expert ecologists from around Australia (chaired by the ESA Vice President – Research) to select an AERA winner. An AERA may not be awarded in a given year, should there be no nominations or should none of the nominees be of a standard deemed appropriate for the conferral of the AERA.
For a list of past recipients, please follow this link.
1. For this award, “mid-career” is defined as 5-20 years post-PhD/highest non-honorary qualification (subject to taking into account any career disruptions). If you are considering nominating someone who less experienced than this definition of mid-career, please consider nominating them for the Next Generation Ecologist Award. For nominations of those more senior than mid-career, please forward the nomination to the ESA President for consideration for the Gold Medal of the Ecological Society of Australia.
The process of selecting the AERA winner:
Eligibility of Nominees:
To be eligible for receipt of an AERA, the nominee must meet all the following conditions:
- Not be a current member of ESA’s Board of Directors,
- Submit the nomination within the stipulated timelines (see below), and
- Commit to fulfilling the obligations of the AERA (see below) in the year of the award
Process for review of nominees & ratification/conferral of the successful nominee:
A panel of ecologists, representing a cross-section of the membership, will be convened by the VP-Research to review the AERA nominations2. Sincere efforts will be made to get a balance across the panel in terms of gender, career stage (early-career, mid-career and senior scientists), geography and organizational affiliation/background (e.g. academia, government research, consultancy). The chair of the Science Committee for ESA’s annual conference will be invited to serve on the panel, to better integrate the AERA process with the annual conference planning. Panel members will be requested to treat the nominations as in-confidence and to declare any conflicts of interest (real and perceived) to the VP-Research; conflicts likely to impact to integrity of the review process may require the recusal of panel members from part/all of the review of nominations.
The panel members will independently review materials submitted as part of the nomination process (and gather other associated evidence) to assess nominees on the basis of;
- The nature and relative significance of the contributions to ecology in Australia and globally (weighting ca. 80%), and
- Service to Australian ecology (e.g. through research, education, outreach and public liaison) and to the ESA (weighting ca. 20%)
Based on these deliberations the panel arrives at a recommendation of the AERA winner. The VP-Research presents the panel recommendation to the ESA Board for formal recognition of the AERA awardee for the year. Pending approval by the ESA Board, the VP-Research notifies the winner and informs them of the obligations of the award.
2. If you wish to serve on the AERA panel, please contact ESA’s VP-Research. Your service on the panel will be confidential during the review process, and acknowledged at ESA’s annual conference.
Obligations of the AERA Recipient:
In the year in which the AERA is conferred, the awardee is obligated to,
- deliver a plenary at ESA’s annual conference, and
- be available to participate in any media associated with the award
Some of the benefits of being an AERA Recipient:
- Keynote speaker at ESA’s annual conference
- Recognition and promotion of contributions to ecology (via the award, through the ESA’s website and media releases)
- Invitation to contribute a forum/review article for publication in Austral Ecology
- Invitation to contribute to Bulletin and E-News articles, to feature lab’s research
|1-February||Call for AERA nominations|
|15-April||AERA Review Panel assembled|
|7-May||Deadline for AERA nominations|
|12-May||Nominations and associated materials forwarded to VP-Research|
|19-May||Nominations and associated materials forwarded to AERA Review Panel|
|2-June||Completion of independent review of nominees by AERA Review Panel, and subsequent panel discussion to recommend an AERA winner|
|2-June||Discussion with successful nominee to confirm ability to fulfil AERA obligations|
|June BoD meeting||Ratification of AERA winner by ESA's Board of Directors; notification of AERA winner|
|1-July||AERA winner's details announced online|
|Annual Conference||AERA winner gives Plenary Address|