The Biochemical Society's ECAP – An overview

A post on the aims, structure and activities of the Early Career Advisory Panel, the Panel representing young researchers and students at the UK-based Biochemical Society. The Biochemical Society's ECAP are part of the FEBS Junior Sections.

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When was the Early Career Advisory Panel established and how does it function within the Biochemical Society?

The Early Career Advisory Panel (ECAP) was established in 2018 and its inaugural meeting took place in November 2018. ECAP works to ensure that the views, needs and concerns of our early career members are recognized and mapped onto existing and future Society activities and initiatives. The Panel aims to shape the way the Society achieves its mission by engaging with young bioscientists in all areas of the Society’s mandate, including meetings, communication, policy, training and education. In addition to ECAP, most of the Biochemical Society Committees and Panels include an early career representative to facilitate maximum engagement of our junior biochemists in the Society functions.

In my opinion, what is unique about ECAP (comparing to other Junior Sections) is that we are fully integrated into the governance structure of the Biochemical Society, which allows us to truly shape the future of the Society and influence the way it achieves its mission.

How many early career members does ECAP represent?

The Biochemical Society has approximately 7000 members worldwide, of which early career bioscientists constitute about a third. ECAP represents all our early career members and is currently composed of 11 representatives from across the sector, including academia and industry.

How do you recruit new members and what structure does ECAP have?

All early career members of the Biochemical Society who feel passionate about the Society and the future of its junior members are welcome to apply to join ECAP at any time. In addition, appointed early career representatives on other Society Committees and Panels automatically become members of ECAP, in order to ensure efficient communication across the Society structures. The Chair of ECAP also serves as the Early Career Member Representative on the Council of Trustees.

What activities does ECAP do regularly and which ones would you like to do more of?

ECAP has driven a number of activities across the Biochemical Society and Portland Press, aimed at supporting our early career community; to find out more about them please see here. One of the most popular and successful ECAP initiatives is our series of webinars focused specifically on Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The series has two strands: (i) research-focused webinars, which cover a specific topic of interest and include presentations from our ECRs, and (ii) career-focused webinars offering comprehensive career support and guidance for ECRs, which goes beyond the academic research ecosystem. All our ECR webinars are available to view on the Biochemical Society YouTube channel and we have an exciting line-up of both research- and career-focused webinars over the course of 2021 and 2022.

Does ECAP have a budget?

ECAP does not have an allocated budget per se. Whenever funds are needed to support a new ECAP initiative or activity we liaise with a relevant committee or team within the Society. For example, in the case of ECR webinars, we worked together with the Conference Committee and Conference and Events team to organise the events.

What do you think motivates young researchers to join ECAP?

I think there are two main motivators. First, is the drive to influence how the Biochemical Society engages with its early career members. Second, is the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the committee work and governance processes.

What are the ECAP aims for the FEBS Junior Sections?

ECAP wishes to work together with the FEBS Junior Sections to support and connect early career bioscientists across Europe and the whole world.

On behalf of the Biochemical Society and ECAP, I would like to encourage other Societies to establish their respective junior sections. Junior sections provide fantastic means to directly engage with your early career members, to support them and to ensure that you remain constantly aware of their needs and concerns.

Creating a new Junior Section?

If you are interested in creating a new Junior Section in your Society, or consolidate an existing one, we encourage you to read the posts and watch the videos from the other Junior Sections (Junior-GBM, ÖGMBT’s Young Life Scientists Austria (YLSA), SIB Sezione Giovani, Young NVBMB, HDBMB Young Scientists’ Forum, and SEBBM Junior Consuls). And if your Society already has a Junior Section, please get in touch!

Help us spread the word about the FEBS Junior Section initiative by sharing our post on Junior Sections and overview video in your country and research community. Thank you!


Dominika Gruszka

Early Career Member Representative Trustee, Biochemical Society