Early-Career Advisory Group: Applications open for candidates to join in 2021

We’re looking for five early-career researchers to join our advisory group and help us realise our mission to transform research communication.

The Early-Career Advisory Group (ECAG) is a small yet diverse committee, which influences and supports eLife’s work to catalyse broad reform in the evaluation and communication of science. In particular, they represent the needs and aspirations of researchers at the early stages in their careers, and promote a research culture that is healthy for science and for scientists.

We have five vacancies opening in 2021 for talented graduate students, medical students, postdocs and junior PIs from around the world to join the group.

It’s an exciting time to join the ECAG, as we increase opportunities of working closely with journal staff and editors on policy and programme development. eLife’s key priorities of 2021 that the group is also involved in concern:

  • increasing involvement of early-career researchers in peer review at eLife
  • increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in eLife’s communities
  • identifying and addressing bias in the publishing process
  • supporting the transition to the publish-review-curate model of science communication
  • increasing openness and integrity in the way science is done and shared

The ECAG holds the monthly #ECRWednesday webinars, leads the Community Ambassadors Programme, contributes to innovative technology thinking, and is involved in awarding the Ben Barres Spotlight Awards. Each member can put forward new ideas for improving the scientific enterprise at any time.

The group published a summary of their work over the course of the previous year, where you can find out more about each member’s contributions. Please note that our early-career advisors regularly interact with executive staff and eLife editors, benefit from some targeted training opportunities, and receive a modest remuneration for their service to the eLife community.

ECAG members standing on a set of stairs with two faces superimposed on top
ECAG members at the eLife annual meeting 2020.

If you’re passionate about improving the quality of the early-career experience in the life sciences, biomedicine and related fields – please apply to join.

The more diverse our communities, the richer our perspectives, and the greater our creativity and resilience. We are committed to forming and empowering communities within eLife that reflect the diversity of the international research communities that we serve. We welcome candidates of all abilities, backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, genders, races and sexual orientations. We especially welcome applications from neurodiverse and neurodivergent early-career researchers, disabled researchers and researchers with disabilities. As we seek to balance the representation of different career stages and geographies in the group, we’re very interested to hear from researchers based in Asia and Oceania and from graduate and medical students.

Applications for five new members to join the eLife ECAG, for two-year terms starting on May 1, 2021, are now invited. Candidates will be shortlisted based on their ability to increase the diversity of perspectives in the group, and their potential to contribute to changing the scholarly culture for the better. Details on eligibility, responsibilities, and the election process are available below.

The deadline for applications is 23:59 (UK time) on March 22, 2021.

  1. apply now


Members of the eLife ECAG are scientists who:

  • Are conducting research in the life or biological sciences or related field, as a graduate student, medical student, postdoctoral fellow, or junior investigator.
  • Have no more than five years’ active experience in an independent position.

“Active experience” is intended to exclude time away for parental leave, health leave, or other reasons unrelated to research. An independent position is defined here as having secured funding to support a research group, e.g. in a Group Leader or Assistant Professor position.


Individuals meeting the criteria set above may apply through this form. During the process they will be asked to confirm their status as early-career researchers according to the definition above.

Nominees will be asked to provide a short (~200-word) statement that describes their vision for how different approaches to research communication might improve the career development of early-stage researchers, why they are enthusiastic to join, and how they would contribute to the work of the ECAG. An ability to demonstrate commitment to any of the key priorities for 2021 will be an advantage.


eLife staff and the ECAG will review applications for eligibility and shortlist the candidates according to their potential to help advance the work of the group, their enthusiasm, and contribution to diversity within the ECAG, as well as help balance its representation with respect to gender, career stage, geography and research focus.

Early-career researchers involved in the most recent eLife community initiatives, alongside the current members of the ECAG vote for new ECAG members from among shortlisted candidates.


The role of the ECAG is to influence and support eLife’s work to catalyse broad reform in the evaluation and communication of science and, in particular, to represent the needs and aspirations of researchers at early stages in their careers. Members provide input in a number of ways:

  • Offering ideas and advice to the editors and staff on new and ongoing efforts at eLife with the potential to help early-career scientists
  • Providing direct support for ongoing programs such as monthly webinars and the Community Ambassadors, participating in working groups
  • Leading efforts to reach out to early-stage colleagues to gather their feedback
  • Participating in online or in-person events about issues of concern to early-stage researchers
  • Attending monthly calls and an annual in-person meeting
  • Respect confidentiality of any information shared in confidence to enable fulfillment of the duties listed above, including business information and personal details of individuals participating in ECAG-lead eLife initiatives

Members abide by eLife’s code of conduct which is outlined here.

Terms and conditions

Incoming members of the ECAG will serve 2-year terms, starting on May 1, 2021, with the possibility of two yearly renewals – up to a maximum of four years in total. ECAG members must meet the eligibility criteria (career stage and profession) at all times, and are expected to step down if their status as an early-career researcher changes. ECAG members no longer satisfy eligibility criteria step-down at the end of the working year, or at the end of their term of service, whichever is earlier.


We welcome comments, questions and feedback. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

Interested in finding out more about opportunities, events and issues that are important for early-career researchers? Sign up to the eLife Early-Career Community newsletter or follow @eLifeCommunity on Twitter.