Early Career Award



In order to encourage new researchers in mathematics education, MERGA sponsors an award to an author in the early part of her/his career. The award, for excellence in writing up and presenting a piece of mathematics education research, consists of a plaque and a prize of $500 and is presented at the annual conference. As part of winning the award, it is expected that the winning recipient will write a brief (one or two paragraphs) report for an upcoming MERGA newsletter. 

Entry for the ECA is by submission of a written paper for presentation at the conference through the Early Bird process. Conditions of eligibility, information about the judging process, and the criteria judges will observe are indicated below. If you are applying for the ECA, please make sure that when you upload your paper on the conference website, send an email to the Conference Secretariat indicating that you are an entrant for the ECA.

. Note that at some MERGA conferences there is also a form to complete or a box to tick on the registration form, so check the conference website carefully.

Please note that co-authored papers papers ARE NOT eligible for entry into the ECA, nor are Round Table or Symposium papers.



MERGA's records are incomplete. Anyone knowing other winners, or people who note errors in the following list, should contact Judy Mousley. The links below are to the full text of each of the papers, and potential applicants are advised to examine some sample papers. (More links are under construction.)

1989 Lyn  English 1990 David Clarke
1991 Robyn Zevenbergen 1992 Janette Bobis
1993 Merrilyn Goos, Margaret Taplin 1994 Gloria Stillman
1995 Helen Forgasz 1996  
1997 Carmel Diezmann 1998 Tom Lowrie
1999 No award 2000 Tracey Smith, Gaye Williams
2001   2002 No award
2003 Shehenaz Adam, Esther Loong 2004 Jillian Fox  

Abigail SawyerNigel Calder

2006 Roberta Hunter
2007 Katie Makar, Chris Hurst 2008 Tracey Muir, Naomi Ingram
2009 Jodie Hunter 2010 Bruce Moody
2011 Amy MacDonald 2012 Annie Mitchell
2013 Ban Heng Choy 2014 Lisa Darragh
2015 Jodie Miller 2016 Lisa O'Keeffe



Please note that expressing a wish to be considered for the ECA will be taken as an acknowledgment that you satisfy the eligibility criteria below.

  • As the ECA is designed to encourage new entrants to mathematics education research, to be eligible, you must not have previously:
    • had 3 or more single-authored refereed papers published in the proceedings of high-level education research conferences (e.g., MERGA, PME, AARE etc.); nor 
    • won the ECA.
  • An entrant for the ECA MUST be registered for the MERGA conference.
  • Only single authored papers are eligible for entry into the ECA.


  • tick the relevant box on your registration form, which must be completed by the time you submit your paper
  • submit your paper by the Early Bird date
  • when you attach your paper, mention in the covering email that your paper is being submitted as an exntry for the ECA.

The decision of the VP (Research) concerning eligibility will be final.

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The VP (Research) is responsible for inviting members of the judging panel and for the process.

There are TWO stages to the judging of the ECA. These are consideration of:

  • the quality of the written paper, and
  • the quality of the presentation at the conference.

  1. The reviewing of ECA applicants’ papers commences with submission through the Early Bird process by the Early Bird due date. Only research papers that have been reviewed by the Early Bird reviewers and accepted for presentation at the conference and for publication in the Proceedings will be considered eligible for the second stage of the ECA judging. 
  2. The quality of the presentation at the conference will be judged by a panel of senior researchers in attendance at the conference. At least one member of the judging panel will be present and observe the paper presentation of each short-listed ECA applicant. The panel will, as far as is practical, reflect a range of mathematics education research interests, research methodologies and paradigms, theoretical frameworks and concerns with education practice.
  3. When coming to a final decision, the judges will take both the published paper and the presentation into account, but the published paper will normally carry more weight than the presentation.
  4. The criteria for the written papers and the conference presentation will be as follows.

Criteria for the written papers

  • Does the paper address a clearly articulated research question/issue?
  • Is this question/issue significant to mathematics education (teaching practice, policy, research, theory)?
  • Is there a potential for contribution to advancement of the field of mathematics education?
  • Are theories informing the work explicitly recognised and critically discussed?
  • Where the paper is based on empirical research, are the data collecting methodologies clear and appropriately chosen?
  • Where the paper is directly based on empirical research, is data proficiently analysed and discussed in relation to the relevant scholarly literature?
  • Where the paper engages a theoretical discussion or canvasses alternative perspectives relating to teaching practice, policy or theory, are concepts proficiently analysed and discussed in relation to the scholarly literature and does a distinctive, conceptually coherent view, emerge?
  • Does the paper have conclusions appropriate to its treatment of themes and/or research findings and discussion?
  • Does the paper exhibit: coherence, readability and clarity of expression, accuracy, well chosen grammar, standard spelling, an academic style of presentation?

Criteria for paper presentations

  • Does the presentation fit within the time available?
  • Does the presentation present a clear exposition of the written paper?
  • Does the presentation promote communication by using presentation technologies (e.g., overheads, videos, PowerPoint presentation, etc.) in a thoughtful and creative way?
  • Does the presentation provide good illustrations and respond helpfully to questions?
  • Does the presentation demonstrate a grasp of the topic?
  • Does the presentation encourage the interest and thoughtful engagement of delegates in the content and topic of the presentation?

NB. Depending on the number of entries, and in order to facilitate judging for the award, a shortlist may be prepared by the VP (Research) for the final stage of judgement at the conference. If a shortlist needs to be prepared, the criteria used for selection will be consistent with the criteria for the judging of the written paper as set out below. Every effort will be made to notify authors of the outcome of the shortlisting process before the conference. However, as timelines are very tight, this may not always prove feasible.

The judging panel notifies the VP (Research) of the winning entrant. Normally, the Early Career Award is presented at the AGM, so ECA applicants should attend the meeting. If a decision has not been made at that time, it will be presented during the last plenary session or the closing ceremony.

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All of the general requirements for regular research papers that have been set out by the editorial committee of the conference proceedings need to be observed. Early Career Award papers should be submitted by the Early Bird date. Check the conference website for instructions on how to submit for the ECA. 



Papers entered into the ECA proceed through the Early Bird review process. The due date is the same as for the Early Bird papers.

Please direct  inquires to the VP (Research).

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